Special Education Referral Processes for Haitian Students Literature Review Chapter

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¶ … R-Questions to build the literature review.

What were the perceptions of teachers regarding the existing identification and referral process for ELLs and learning-disabled students?

What were the perceptions of the existing identification and referral process for ELLs as reported by parents of these students?

What gaps existed between the existing identification and referral process for ELLs and the ideal process?

What were the best practices of ELL identification and referral that prevent misidentification of ELLs as learning-disabled?

What recommendations can be offered to the school to improve assessment and referral processes for the evaluation of language-instruction needs among Haitian students at the schools?

Nadia's current chapter outline:

Review of the Literature

ELLs: Demographic and Academic Trends

Assessment Concerns

Implications

The Prevention of Misidentification of ELLs

Quantitative and Qualitative Methodologies

Research Questions

Summary

For Nadia:

Nadia, I have not tried to include this new work within your existing chapter, as I felt you would likely wish to move the topics where they fit best within your work. I am sending you this file as a word document (.doc) which means that the bibliography at the end will be a static text and not update automatically like it does in the newer word format (.docx). If you would also like the newer version, please contact me and let me know. I have also kept the formatting of this new work the same as your existing work (margins, etc.). I did not number the sections but did indent where I felt they were headings and subheadings (you can change these of course).

Good luck!

Elke (writer name: Teatime101)

Problems with ELL and LD Referral and Intervention Implementation Processes

Teacher Understandings of Referral Processes for ELL and LD Students

There is a clear need to objectively distinguish the needs of students who may be indicated for special services intervention. Garcia and Ortiz (2004) state there an academic failure distinctions can be generalized into three categories: Type I, where students are in inappropriate classrooms for their particular learning needs (such as ELL's); Type II, where students have learning and achievement issues that do not fall into the special education/learning disabled category and therefore must be served in the general education classroom; and Type III, where students clearly have a functionally severe limitation such as a major disorder which limits the learning process (Garcia & Ortiz, 2004). Failure to distinguish between the three types may result in student being inappropriately referred for special education, when in fact they should not be. The question arises as to why the referral process may be dysfunctional to allow for this type of failure to occur in needs-assessments of students.

Various issues in the assessment process have been identified in the research literature and are presented here. There are issues related to professional practices, with the spectrum ranging from one end where teacher perceptions and attitudes influence the assessment process, including their prejudices as well as their lack of awareness and training in properly assessing ELL students, to the other end which represents inappropriate and inefficient professional methods of assessment, implementation, and follow-through. Additional barriers relate to the structure of assessment testing, with much criticism leveled at the use of IQ and achievement testing in assessing students for learning disabilities; this methodology does not adequately reflect the individual learning styles of the students, and so may inappropriately identify students as learning disabled when in fact their issues are not due to learning disabilities.

Teachers may fail to understand the referral process. Ortiz et al. (1985) found that in assessing data that was gathered as part of referral and pre-referral processes on English language deficient learners in LD classrooms revealed that education professionals involved in the data gathering phase of the referral process may not understand the learning issues underlying students with limited English language proficiency (Ortiz, et al., 1985).

Misidentification of ELL students as Learning Disabled

Wagner et al. (2005) report that the need for different approaches to identifiying ELL students that have learning disabilities is paramount and progressive in the field of education. They state that the existing models of assessment and intervention do not effectively address the need for proper identification of students at risk. The needs of ELL students within the education system points to need for a larger conceptualization of what constitutes learning disability, including the proper distinction between learning disabled and language proficiency issues (Wagner, Francis, & Morris, 2005).

The following table illustrates the number of students in public schools for year 2001-2002, who are receiving IEP services (individualized education plans) and ELL services:

Table 10. Number and percentage of public school students participating in selected programs, by state: School year 2001 -- 02

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

of students of students of students receiving

State

with IEPs

with IEPs

ELL services

ELL services

Reporting states1

6,313,342

13.3

3,768,653

7.9

Alabama

95,708

13.2

7,159

1.0

Alaska

17,814

13.3

20,401

15.2

Arizona

97,654

10.6

148,861

16.1

Arkansas

56,165

12.5

13,187

2.9

California

661,575

10.8

1,510,859

24.6

Colorado

73,887

10.0

71,011

9.6

Connecticut

74,016

13.0

21,540

3.8

Delaware

16,068

13.9

3,004

2.6

District of Columbia

New Hampshire

28,675

13.9

3,268

1.6

New Jersey

218,364

16.3

56,712

4.2

New Mexico

62,738

19.6

66,035

20.6

New York

424,722

14.8

193,711

6.7

North Carolina

186,255

14.2

52,644

4.0

North Dakota

13,401

12.6

See footnotes at end of table.

Table 10. Number and percentage of public school students participating in selected programs, by state: School year 2001 -- 02 -- Continued

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

of students of students of students receiving

State

with IEPs

with IEPs

ELL services

ELL services

Ohio

224,986

12.4

Oklahoma

87,672

14.1

37,618

6.0

Oregon

70,309

12.7

44,162

8.0

Pennsylvania

232,056

12.7

Rhode Island

31,616

20.0

10,156

6.4

South Carolina

98,423

14.6

6,409

1.0

South Dakota

16,764

13.1

4,246

3.3

Tennessee

143,116

15.9

Texas

495,493

11.9

601,791

14.5

Utah

54,571

11.3

41,306

8.6

Vermont

13,430

13.3

1,009

1.0

Virginia

164,523

14.1

43,535

3.7

Washington

120,775

12.0

(4)

(4)

West Virginia

50,080

17.7

0.3

Wisconsin

126,152

14.3

23,454

2.7

Wyoming

11,716

13.3

2,830

3.2

Outlying areas, DoD Dependents Schools, and Bureau of Indian Affairs

DoDDS: DoDs Overseas

6,718

9.2

6,085

8.3

DDESS: DoDs Domestic

3,340

10.2

2,031

6.2

Bureau of Indian Affairs

American Samoa

5.1

15,342

96.5

Guam

2,543

7.9

14,336

44.8

Northern Marianas

5.3

Puerto Rico

65,874

10.9

Virgin Islands

1,504

8.0

-- Not available.

# Rounds to zero.

Reporting states totals exclude states for which data were missing for 20% or more of the schools or districts.

Migrant students include those who were enrolled at any time during the previous (2000 -- 01) regular school year. They are reported for each school in which they enrolled; because this is a duplicated count, the table does not show migrants as a percentage of all students.

American Samoa did not report students eligible for reduced-price meals. See technical notes.

Data were missing for more than 20% of schools or districts.

NOTE: IEP is the acronym for individualized education program. ELL is the acronym for English language learner. Some data items were more likely to be missing from charter schools than from other schools. Free lunch data were missing for 625 of 2,348 charter schools, and migrant student data were missing for 682. Data on ELL students were missing for 110 of the total 989 charter school districts. Percentages are based on schools and agencies reporting. Detail may not sum to total because of rounding. U.S. totals include the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey," 2001 -- 02 and "Local Education Agency Universe Survey," 2001 -- 02.

(National Center for Education Statistics, 2010).

Spinelli (2008) points to the fact that misidentification of ELL students as learning disabled leads to those students not being able to receive appropriate services and hence those students face greater emotional, social, behavioral, and educational challenges as time progresses and their needs continue to go unmet. Spinelli holds that an informal assessment measure is a viable option in the evaluation process that can be adapted to culturally and linguistically diverse students, their learning styles, and their unique characteristics which underlie their challenges (Spinelli, 2008).

Guiberson (2009) finds that not only are ELL students misidentified as learning disabled, but also the forms in which the misidentification manifests are varied. These forms include overrepresentation of the minority students in special education compared to the whole school population, underepresentation when those ELL students with disabilities do not get correctly identified for intervention services, and misidentification when the ELL student is categorized as having a disability different from the one that they really possess (Guiberson, 2009).

Sandberg and Reschly (2010) state that the growing gap in achievement between ELL students and language majority is increasing and that traditional standardized testing fails to bridge the gap. The use of curriculum-based measurement may be a better standard to use for assessing academic needs of ELL students and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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