Referrals of ELLs to Special Ed.

The Role of the Bilingual Teacher and Implications for RTI

Preventing Inappropriate Referrals of ELLs to Special Services

Data from three studies of ELLs who where identified as having reading-related learning disabilities implied that the majority of participants were misclassified.

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Important Statistics

  • In 2005- 2006 approximately 10% (5,000,000 students) of the public school, enrollment, were identified as English Language Learners (ELLs; National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs, 2011).
  • Data from a sample of more than 1,300 U.S. schools districts revealed that 76% of ELLs scored below level on grade level tests of English reading.
  • The majority of ELLs in special education have reading-related learning disabilities (LD) (McCardle at al., 2005; Zehler, Fleischman, Hopstock, Pendzick, & Stephenson, 2003)
What Are Learning Disabilities?

Identification Based on IQ-Achievement Discrepancy

Response to Intervention (RTI)

A Quick Look at the Three Interrelated Studies of ELLs Identified with Disabilities


  • Special Education Referrals
  • Language(s) of assessments
  • Congruence between referrals, assessments, and assessment results.
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Significant discrepancies between IQ and reading achievement scores.
  • Findings
  • Findings of the Clinical Judgmental Panel

RTI

Prevention and Early Intervention

Increasingly Intensive Interventions

Problem-Solving Teams

Critical Role of Bilingual Education Teachers

  • Screening, Assessment, and Progress Monitoring
  • Language Assessment
  • Literacy Assessment
  • Bilingual Language and Literacy Profiles

Profesional Development Implications

Bilingual Education Teachers:
  • Professional development to identify strengths and need of students.
  • Training focus on special education process.

Administrative Leadership


  • Ensure schools environments help ELLs to succeed.
  • Make sure effective instruction is being provided to ELLs.
  • Access to profesional development on cultual and linguistic differences.