Action Plan for ELLs

To ensure ELLs are assessed and represented fairly

Representation of ELLs

ELLs are very diverse in their language proficiency. With a language barrier present, it

becomes very difficult for teachers to determine if ELLs are struggling due to the barrier or if a

learning disability is present. This language barrier also makes it difficult to detect if the student is truly gifted. All diverse students with the exception of Asian-American students are represented in disproportionately small numbers in gifted and talented programs (Marshall, 2007).

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Assessment of ELLs

Under-representation of diverse students in programs for the gifted is most frequently

attributed to biases in traditional and standardized intelligence testing (Marshall, 2007). Most standardized tests used to detect giftedness rely on either oral or written language skills (Marshall, 2007). These students that are ELLs do not know the language and are therefor at a disadvantage. As well as, there seems to be a problem in the area of testing and qualifying for special education because of a possible language bias in the testing (Fast, 2005).

Action Plan

The main goal is to provide ELLs with the English skills that they need to function in a classroom setting and throughout their academic experiences. This plan will aim to meet the particular needs of each individual student.

Steps to ensure fairness:

  1. Avoid stereotypes or negative attitudes toward any minority. Keep an open mind!!!
  2. Choose appropriate assessments.
  3. Use a variety of assessments to determine placements.
  4. ELL teachers and special education teachers need to work side by side.
  5. Keep in mind that each culture varies in how they display giftedness or learning disabilities.
  6. Include parent's opinion in your assessments and discussions on placement of the student.
  7. Use a translator if possible.
  8. Implement ELL programs before placing in special education.
  9. Do not exit ELLs from an ELL program too early. Use multiple assessments to determine if they are truly ready to be mainstreamed.
  10. Record and analyze all data taken and present to board members to ensure that certain changes can be made when needed in school policies regarding ELLs.


To provide the most efficient education to ELLs, everyone need to participate in the process of referring, assessing, and placing the student in the appropriate program. Parents can provide a different point of view that the educators do not see. ELL teachers, special education teachers, and general education teachers need to work together to provide the least restrictive environment for each ELL. Board members and all other staff need to be aware of the process of assessing and placing ELLs in the best program to assist or provide additional information about that student's needs.
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