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English Language Learners: Conducting Special Education Assessments Jane E. Minnema, Ph.D. University of Minnesota National Center on.

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Presentation on theme: "English Language Learners: Conducting Special Education Assessments Jane E. Minnema, Ph.D. University of Minnesota National Center on."— Presentation transcript:

1 English Language Learners: Conducting Special Education Assessments Jane E. Minnema, Ph.D. University of Minnesota National Center on Educational Outcomes

2 Plan for the Workshop  Getting Started! Early team work “Other” language considerations ELL & disability confusion ~ Q & A ~  Quick Break!  Doing the Assessment! 10 Principles for Assessment ELL considerations Disability vs. language delay ~ Q & A ~

3 First steps Work as a team Understand pertinent cultures Put Federal and State law in context Adapt special education process

4 Teamwork! List tasks  Create a plan Work independently to … Create materials and to … Share, share, share information!

5 Cultural Understandings Access printed information – Internet, libraries, community groups Cultural representatives – restaurants, festivals, presentations Create staff materials

6 Cheng (1991) cautions … “Not all people from the same culture have the same values and beliefs; there are tremendous individual differences. For this reason, it is necessary to be extremely careful when making cultural assumptions. Nevertheless, an awareness of the general cultural and linguistic values of … minority populations is an essential tool …”

7 Laws and Criteria Federal Rule: Observation (At least one team member … observe the child …classroom setting.) e.g., by second language expert MN Interpretation of Federal Rule (Assessment data …different settings.) e.g., second language classroom

8 Adapt Assessment Process – Before testing … Child’s Concerns Pre- referral Existing Data Cultural Info

9 Adapt Assessment Process – During and After Testing Child’s Needs Test Data Observa- tional Data Family Data

10 Diversity is … Race or ethnicity Culture (religion, family, beliefs, dress, food, communication, health care, education) Reasons for moving to U.S. (immigrant or refugee) Socioeconomic (before U.S., in U.S., unemployment, underemployment, over employment, family stress)

11 Culturally Relevant Terms Acculturation – assumes American cultural attributes (language, norms, behaviors, and values) Assimilation – incorporation into social and cultural networks of host society by giving up native culture

12 Related Issues Generational issues Broad continuum of development Uneven process Constantly changing

13 Terms for Students Limited English Proficient (LEP) English language learner (ELL) English as a second language (ESL) Culturally & linguistically diverse (CLD)

14 Issues Raised No common term used Terms lack specificity No “person first” language in ELL Confuse students and services

15 Terms for Services English as a second language Bilingual education Content-based instruction Common practice in LA?

16 Issues Raised Multiple models across states Service delivery varies within states Practice does not match research - Content-based instruction most effective

17 Language Terms L1 – native language L2 – can be English Mulitilingual, bilingual, monolingual Pidgins or creoles – fusion of two or more languages over time Code-switching – controlled blending of languages that is rule-bound and meaningful

18 Modes of Cross-Communication Interpretation – Oral presentation of non-native language Translation – Written presentation of non-native language

19 Language Influence L1 influences L2 - Stronger L1 is, the better L2 will be. - Vocabulary, syntax, semantics May formalize into pidgins, creoles, or social dialects Code-switching during L2 acquisition

20 Native Language Loss L1 regress or lost L1 speaking regresses more than L1 understanding Stopping L1 has negative cognitive effects on L2 Home language models may not be fluent in L1 or L2

21 English Language Learning L1 literacy level and education Time in U.S. Time in U.S. schools SES Family situation Language models at home Health factors Student motivation, time, and ability

22 English Language Learning Levels Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)

23 BICS … Social, concrete, here and now NOT used for academics Takes 2-4 years (easier for < 8 yr) Everyday pronunciation proficiency Grammar (simple declarative sentences, questions, colloquialisms) Vocabulary about 500 words

24 Examples of BICS Listening: Follows general classroom directions. Speaking: Converses with peers and teachers. May speak without accent. Reading: Decode easily. Writing: Completes school forms. Find and copy answers to textbook questions.

25 CALP … Proficient in decontextualized language and academic settings (inferences, predictions, abstractions) Manipulate language outside of immediate personal setting Has literacy Vocabulary words If literate in L1, 5-7 years. If not, 6-9 years. Some may never acquire.

26 Examples of CALP Listening: Follow directions for academic tasks. Understands discussion of academic material. Knows main idea from supporting. Speaking: Expresses reasons for opinions. Asks for clarification during academic tasks. Reading: Comprehension good. Writing: Can write essay supporting a point of view.

27 Language vs. Disability ?? Teachers expect more when BICS acquired. LD concern when academics not progressing BUT … CALP still developing!

28 Caution Teachers! Speaking English conversationally well, but not using well academically is NORMAL! NOT a reason to suspect disability. Student at BICS level without CALP should still receive ESL services.

29 Shared by Native Speakers with LD and English Learners Non-speaking Slow to respond Knew something yesterday but not today Low vocabulary Difficulty following directions Retains information poorly Below grade level spelling, math, reading Limited attention span Poor visual memory Low frustration tolerance

30 Shared by Native Speakers with BD and CLD Students Differences in: - personal space - eye gaze - response time - body language - vocal pitch and intensity - conversational rules

31 10 Principles for Assessing ELLs and Determining Eligibility for Special Education Services Elizabeth Watkins, MDOE, 2000 St. Paul Public Schools LEP Resource Team, 1998 Meredith Boo, Bloomington Schools, MN, 2001 Berry (1080); Collier & Collier (2003, 1985); Fradd & McGee (1994); Ortiz (2003; 1992); Wilkinson (2003)

32 #1 – Examine School Environment C & I meeting all students’ needs? Meeting all ELL needs? ELL disproportionate representation? - Over-representation? - Under-representation?

33 #2 – Resources for Assessment At district and building level Identify who and what Access training Include INTERPRETERS!

34 #3 – Involve Cultural Informants Language teachers (ESL or bilingual) Cultural representatives – FAMILY! Community outreach workers ALL stages of assessment - Pre-referral through IEP!

35 #4 – Prereferral Interventions & Background Information First, exclude English learning or instructional issue Involve English language teacher Student and environmental factors impacts on English learning

36 #4a – Excluding English Learning L1 and English language data: - ESL history - Language development - Home and native language(s) - Language status  L1 and L2 use and proficiency  ESL records  Direct and indirect assessments

37 L1 Language Assessment Do anytime! Direct: standardized language testing, conversational sample, story retelling task, dictation task, story telling task, home visit, observations Indirect: parent interview, parent report, home visit, observation

38 Types of Communicators L1 monolingual Partial bilingual Developing bilingual L1 receptive nonstandard English speaker English monolingual Bilingual with code switching Limited due to disabiity

39 #4b – Excluding Instructional Issues Best teaching approach thematic One stage above English proficiency level Looking for 2 year gap: - Compared to ELL peers - Disability in native language / native environment - Physical/health disability

40 Three Ways to Exclude Language and Instruction Know “general” expectations Know recommended ELL practices Pre-referral Interventions - Adapt mainstream instruction - Academic techniques

41 “General” Expectations 1 st or 2 nd grade academically with 2-3 years of English instruction Average ELL years to reach 50 th %ile on group achievement test Longer if no academics in L1

42 Research “Recommended” ELL Practices Learn English through content material Active in concrete activities related to content objective Acquire concepts when comprehend English (simplify or bilingual support) Retain when use in multiple authentic situations Supportive, stress free environment Link prior knowledge to new content

43 Research on Practice (cont.) Use collaborative meaning making process - Learn faster when interact with peers Comprehension dependent on background knowledge - Read and comprehend with experience Textbooks challenge ELLs - Multimodal support beyond level of language comprehension Culture important to affective and cognitive development - RESPECT native culture and language

44 Pre-referral Intervention – Adapting Mainstream Instruction Pair oral and written instructions Key points in writing Simplify English, NOT concepts Many visuals Modify teacher expectations: - Identify core material - Re-teach many times differently Teach both language and content: - Assignments in both - Grade progress in both

45 Pre-referral Interventions (cont.) Talk slower, NOT louder! Use body language Seek bilingual help cheerfully (another student, bilingual para, etc.) Use interpreter or translator (tape or video for future use) Student kept vocabulary booklet: - Writing assignments - For credit/grading

46 Pre-referral Interventions (cont.) Vary complexity of questions Encourage any effort! Extend, elaborate, and paraphrase without correcting Allow extra time Talk about what matters to ELL Create literate classroom environment (see and hear variety)

47 Pre-referral Interventions – Academic Techniques Reduce number of problems Highlight key information Remove pages from text or booklet Outline key ideas at academic level Tape record to read along Read aloud tests/quizzes Tape record tests/quizzes Construction paper “reading windows”

48 Pre-referral Interventions – Academic Techniques (cont.) Simplify written directions Tape record directions Cooperative learning/peer assistance More time tests/quizzes Use assignment calendar or notebook Use manipulatives Rearrange problems on page Use graph paper (math, handwriting)

49 #5 – Time to Learn English Typically 1-2 years for BICS and acculturation Only refer within 1 st year if: - Family very concerned - At-risk due to background - Language teacher reports significant difference from other ELLs

50 #6 – Plan and Complete Multiple Assessment Procedures Determine assessment domains Plan for language use: - Language dominance - L1 and L2 proficiency Arrange for interpreter Use stronger language generally Assess content in language of instruction

51 Assessment Procedures (cont.) Test procedures & directions in L1 Accept L1 and L2 responses Check test for bias (norms and items) Modify and adapt standardized instruments Supplement with criterion-referenced, curriculum-based, or other informal measures

52 Assessment Procedures (cont.) Supplemental assessments: -Teacher ratings/checklists -Student self-ratings -Work progress records -Portfolio work samples -Dialogue journals -Naturalistic or planned observations -Oral interviews and role plays -Story retelling -Semantic maps -Dictations -Writing samples

53 Modifying Norm-Referenced Tests Administer some subtests Eliminate, modify, or mark biased items Allow extra time Give additional demonstrations, attempts for ability to master Test/retest for growth Test/retest in L1 and L2

54 Modify Scoring and Interpretation Allow variations in responding - Verbal or nonverbal - Label function rather than object Allow for language, dialect, or experience differences Score “by the book” and again with modifications Report scores as range or estimate Compare to ELL peers instead of norms Analyze data for patterns related to culture or background experiences

55 Use DISCLAIMER! “This test has not been normed on members of this student’s ethnic group. Therefore, it is inappropriate to compute or report derived scores. However, the results of this test provide information useful for intervention planning.” Name of Interpreter used: _________ Date:

56 LD Assessment Procedures - IQ Use two IQ instruments UNIT recommended; CTONI 2 nd choice Can use WISC performance, but not verbal score - NOT for discrepancy Woodcock Johnson with adaptations for academic assessment - Do NOT use regression chart. Use non-verbal IQ for criterion score.

57 LD Assessment Procedures - Processing To document information processing difficulties: - Only if occur in home and school environments -Not those characteristics shared by ELLs and students with LD

58 LD Assessment Procedures – Culturally-based Reading Behaviors Basic reading skills that are difficult: -Reading out loud -Mispronunciations -Moving from visual to auditory cues (& vice versa) -Better in group or with family member -Slow reading rate -Learning better within game -Poor word attack

59 LD Assessment Procedures – Culturally-based Reading Behaviors Comprehension skills that are difficult: -Interpretive questions -Sequencing -Facts from inferences -If … then conclusions -Some concepts (time in particular) -Written formal language -Consequences

60 #7 – Determine Eligibility Review data beginning with native language, family background, school history Describe all adaptations Include cautionary language (norms, test validity) Include descriptive data, family data, supplemental testing, other sources Professional judgment in reporting scores Rule out English language as PRIMARY cause Rule out instruction as PRIMARY cause

61 #8 – Due Process Informed consent in parents’ native language if needed Use trained interpreter Research shows parents not understanding due process even when presented in native language

62 #9 – Develop IEP Use direct and indirect assessment data to develop goals and objectives Also use all data on language and culture English language teacher as team member

63 #10 – Review Student Progress Repeat Principles 1 through 9 as needed Need not be formal assessment or annual review Make adjustments as needed

64 Tips for Using Interpreters Meet before assessment Explain assessment process Demonstrate any tasks Make purpose and information needed very clear Obtain exact interpretation Opinions and impressions afterwards Interpreter rapport with student before


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