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Presentation on theme: "SPECIAL EDUCATION OR LANGUAGE EVALUATING THE ELL STUDENT."— Presentation transcript:


2 Did You Know??? ELL students are often either over or under represented in special education programs WHY?????

3 The Problem with LD an ELL May make inappropriate referrals because of variations in the language proficiency Learning problems may go unnoticed because struggles are attributed to language acquisition challenges.

4 Someone has Concerns Can’t I just do a referral? How about I just ignore it, maybe it will go away? “Ok, I give up what should I do?”

5 First: Define Specific Concerns Why this student? Who has noticed the problem ? What do others see? Define it in skill based terms?

6 WAIT No referral without first trying interventions that target the issue.


8 Understand the Levels of Language Be aware of variations in language proficiency Is this a learning problem or a language issue? If he can carry on a conversation with you, does that mean he is proficient in English?

9 Conversational / Social Language Surface fluency  Topic specific  Familiar  Simple  Vocabulary related to specific setting or people

10 Conceptual or Complex Language Cognitive Academic Language  Expanded Vocabulary  Longer sentences  Comprehensible and fluent  Variety of complex topics

11 JIM CUMMINS’ ICEBERG METAPHOR Conversational Language (1 to 3 years to acquire) Academic Language (5 to 7, even up to 10 years to acquire) Common Underlying Proficiency L1 L2

12 How does it Happen? CONVERSATIONAL LANGUAGE language proficiency in everyday communication, acquired naturally without formal schooling; peer-appropriate conversation. ACADEMIC LANGUAGE language proficiency in academic situation, emerges & becomes distinctive with formal schooling; classroom-appropriate language.


14 What about the Student

15 Knowledge of the Student School records (the easy part)  Language programs  Prior schooling  Attendance  Behaviors  Interventions  Home language  Comparison to other students or siblings  Work samples  Is this only an issue in language based subjects

16 Knowledge of the Student Meet with Parents (a little harder)  Language parents speak at home  Language student uses at home  Do they listen to radio/TV in native language  Can he read in native language  Do they have concerns  Developmental history  Milestones  Following directions  Social interactions  Learning colors & numbers in native language

17 Caution You may need an interpreter  If Possible:  Professional  Has an educational vocabulary  Does not know the family Parents may say what they think you want to here. Be careful how you ask questions.

18 OBSERVE What language does he use with his teachers and other adults? What language does the student use during lunch and recess with peers. Does he understand classroom routines and lessons? Keep in mind that a student can figure out some routines, such as lining up for lunch, just by watching others.

19 Keep Observing How does he perform in the regular classroom? In the ELL setting? In the community or at home? Listen to his language, what kind of errors does he make?

20 Talk to the Student REMEMBER TO DO THIS ONE! School – how does he feel about it? Are some teachers hard to understand? How is this school different than others he attended? What language does she dream in? Contact information:


22 Decision Time: Do You Evaluate? Is the learning/behavior problem because of : Socio-cultural differences (level of acculturation) Economic disadvantage Lack of instruction/inconsistent schooling Inappropriate instruction Ecological/environmental issues in the classroom then the student should not be considered for special education.

23 Signed Consent Consent means the parent has been fully informed in the parent’s native language of all information related to what the district is seeking consent. How are you going to do this?????



26 First: Something to think about What has happened in other schools??????

27 OCR v. Denver Public Schools Sometimes LEP students were evaluated in English only because school staff persons decided that the student was “fluent enough in English”.

28 OCR v. Denver Public Schools Diagnostic testing instruments that are published in English were often translated into other languages for students who speak another language

29 OCR v. Denver Public Schools Staff persons disregarded advice of evaluators that unknown effects of linguistic differences affect the reliability and validity of the results and should be considered when interpreting test scores.

30 Testing Watch for test questions that are "culturally loaded” Make sure the student understands the tests' directions, don’t make assumptions Analyze the data from multiple standardized tests that examine various skills

31 Types of Tests School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, and Academic Evaluators Make use of your professional resources NASP ASHA Test Manuals DOE LRP


33 The Role of an Interpreter Take into account how an interpreter may affect the evaluation process May inadvertently cue the student or give clues to answers. Meet with the interpreter before you start any assessments to clarify procedures Remember, not everything can be interpreted with the same meaning

34 Confidentiality and the Law The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Any school that receives federal or state education funds must comply with all privacy acts.

35 Confidentiality and the Law It is the obligation of all school staff, volunteers, and substitute teachers to maintain confidentiality requirements of FERPA, IDEA, HIPAA, Section 504, and other laws. John Copenhaver, Director Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education

36 Maintaining Confidentially It is best practice that each person signs a statement verifying they have received and understand information regarding FERPA requirements. Sharing information about the student outside the professional education environment could violate the student’s civil rights and is against the law. John Copenhaver, Director Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education


38 The Meeting Who will explain to the parent? Go over the parent rights Did they have access to the report ahead of time? Again: Consent means the parent has been fully informed in the parent’s native language of all information related to what the district is seeking consent.

39 Eligibility Use the state guidelines Do you have good skill based information Is the observation in the area of concern Was the evaluation valid? Does it match all other information known about the child?

40 Questions

41 Contact information: Penny McCormick, NCSP Special Education Director Mid-Central Educational Cooperative Box 228 Platte SD 56369 Penny McCormick-Gilles


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