Language or disability? : representation, identification, and assessment of ELLS for special education in Western New York.
Dusett, Holly A.
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SubjectLearning disabled children -- Identification.; Special education -- United States -- New York (State).; English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers.
There exists a lack of research regarding the representation of English language learners (ELLs) in special education in Western New York schools. This study contributes to the literature concerning the representation, assessment, and referral process of ELLs for special education services. Teachers from Western New York were surveyed using an on line twenty-seven question instrument, including a five-point Likert scale. Seventeen respondents participated in the survey from three different Western New York State school districts. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results. The hypothesis was that ESL teachers and special education teachers often refer ELLs for special education services due to invalid assessments, and a misunderstanding of student performance due to differences between second language acquisition and special education needs. The results indicate that there is an over representation of ELLs in some Western New York State schools. The results are indicated that teachers most often refer ELLs to special education due to issues related to poor or low academic achievement and written language issues. The teachers surveyed responded that they do not often refer ELLs for special education services due to motivational issues. The respondents also felt that standardized tests impacted the referral of ELLs to special education. There is a need for further research in this area in the United States as a whole, but in Western New York specifically as well in order to provide additional information to assist in the appropriate referral of ELLs.