District Survey: Evaluation of ELLs Referred for Special Education Evaluation and Diagnosed With a Disability

Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School LeadersAdministrators play an important role in shaping the policies and procedures for identifying the language and academic needs of English language learners (ELLs), particularly those that might have disabilities.

In this excerpt from Chapter 7 of Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Comprehensive Framework for School Leaders, Debbie Zacarian presents a survey that will allow district teams and leaders to recognize trends around the identification of ELLs with disabilities.

Note: This survey is also available as a PDF.

 

Survey Questions

A team of English language and special education teachers and specialists should convene periodically to review and analyze data about the students who have been referred and evaluated for special education services.

Analysis of the EL Population

Download this survey

This survey is also available as a PDF.

1. The total number of identified ELs in the school is __________________________.

The total number of ELs who were referred during this school year for a special education evaluation in the school is __________________________.

The total percentage of ELs referred for a special education evaluation during this school year is __________________________.

2. Is the proportion of ELs who have been referred the same as the proportion of the general population of students who have been referred? Yes No

If no, what is the difference noted?

 

 

3. Is the proportion of ELs who have been identified as having disabilities the same as the proportion of the general population of students who have been identified? Yes No

If no, describe the differences.

 

 

4. The languages spoken by the ELs in the school are:

 

5. The languages spoken by the ELs who were referred for a special education evaluation are:

 

6. Are there commonalities among the languages spoken by ELs and the reasons for referral or diagnosis of disability? Yes No

If yes, what is the commonality?

 

Reasons That ELs Have Been Referred

7. The reasons, by total number of occurrence, that ELs were referred for a special education evaluation this year are:

____ autism

____deaf-blindness

____deafness

____emotional disturbance

____hearing impairment

____mental retardation

____multiple disabilities

____ orthopedic impairment

____other health impairment

____specific learning disability

____speech/ language impairment

____traumatic brain injury

____ visual impairment, including blindness

 

8. The most common reason that ELs were referred for a special education evaluation this year is:

 

 

 

9. Anecdotally, describe any additional commonalities among the ELs who were referred (e.g., interrupted formal education).

 

 

 

Teachers and Specialists

10. Have the assessors been trained in second language acquisition and linguistic and cultural diversity? Yes No

If no, what steps is the school taking to ensure that its evaluators, including school psychologists, speech and language therapists, and special education staff, are being trained?

 

 

Assessments

11. Do the assessments used to identify ELs with disabilities make use of relevant and actual behaviors in classroom contexts? Yes No

 

 

12. Are assessments being provided in the students’ home language by staff who have trained in second language acquisition and practices for teaching ELs? Yes No

If no, what steps has the school taken to ensure that actual data are used?

 

ELE Programming Services

13. Do the ELs who have been referred receive effective programming for learning English, including:

a. An English language development program from a licensed ESL teacher? Yes No

b. An appropriate amount of daily instruction of English language development for ELs? Yes No

c. Content instruction from a teacher who is trained to teach ELs? Yes No

d. Curriculum that is specifically connected to ELs’ personal, cultural, linguistic, and world experiences and knowledge so that it is meaningful, relevant, and comprehensible? Yes No

e. An education program for students with interrupted formal education? Yes No

14. If any of the responses to Question 13 are “no,” what steps is the school taking to ensure that its programming for ELs is properly resourced?

Citations

Transforming Schools for English Learners: A Framework for School Leaders. (2011). Zacarian, Debbie. Chapter 7: Identifying and Working With English Learners With Learning Differences and Learning Disabilities. Corwin: Thousand Oaks, CA.  pp. 129-146.

References

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1985). Clinical management of communicatively handicapped minority language populations [Position Statement]. Retrieved December 23, 2010, from http://www.asha.org/docs/html/PS1985-00219.html

Artiles, A., & Ortiz. A. (Eds.). (2002). English language learners with special education needs: Assessment, identification, and instruction. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Artiles, A. J., Trent, S. C., & Palmer, J. (2004). Culturally diverse students in special education: Legacies and prospects. In J. A. Banks & C. M. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (2nd ed., pp. 716–735). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Baca, L. (1990) Theory and practice in bilingual/cross cultural special education: Major issues and implications for research, practice, and policy. In Proceedings of the First Research Symposium on Limited English Proficient Student Issues (pp. 247–280). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs. Retrieved May 17, 2010: http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/files/rcd/BE018297/1st_Symposium_Theory.pdf

Donovan, S., & Cross, C. (2002). Minority students in special and gifted education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Esparza Brown, J., & Doolittle, J. (2008). A cultural, linguistic, and ecological framework for response to intervention with English language learners. Tempe, AZ: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

Fuchs, D., Mock, D., Morgan, P. L., & Young, C. L. (2003). Responsiveness-to-intervention: Definitions, evidence, and implications for the learning disabilities construct. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 18(3), 157–171.

Haager, D., Klingner, J. K., & Vaughn, S. (Eds.). (2007). Validated reading practices for three tiers of intervention. Baltimore: Brookes.

Hamayan, E., Marler, B., Sanchez Lopez, C., & Damico, J. (2007). Special education considerations for English language learners: Delivering a continuum of services. Philadelphia: Caslon.

Haynes, J., & Zacarian, D. (2010). Teaching English language learners across the content areas. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Hoover, J., Klingner, J., Baca, L., & Patton, J. (2007). Methods for teaching culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners. New York: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Klingner, J. K., & Edwards, P. A. (2006). Cultural considerations with response to intervention models. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 108–117.

National Center on Response to Intervention. (2010). Essential components of RTI: A closer look at response to intervention. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention. Retrieved December 23, 2010, from http://www.rti4success.org/images/stories/pdfs/rtiessentialcomponents_042710.pdf

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2009). Categories of disabilities under IDEA. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved December 23, 2010, from http://www.nichcy.org/disabilities/categories/pages

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