Presentation on theme: "When Is It Appropriate to Refer an ELL for Special Education?"— Presentation transcript:
1 When Is It Appropriate to Refer an ELL for Special Education? OSPI StaffMigrant and Bilingual EducationJanuary 23, 2009K20
2 10 Questions to ConsiderHow have I honored the referring teacher’s concern?Do we have a clear pre-referral process in place?Who is the gatekeeper within the ELL program who is contacted for every pre-referral?To what extent does everyone understand language development?Is the ELL exhibiting atypical performance?To whom is the ELL being compared?What data should I look at for the peer comparison?What role does Response-To-Intervention (RTI) play in the pre-referral process?To what extent are parents involved?To what extent are district ELL/Special Ed trends being scrutinized?
3 1. How have I honored the referring teacher’s concern? Do’sRespect that the teacher wants the child to succeed.Respect that the teacher is probably doing the best she can with what she knows.Respect the teacher’s understanding of pedagogy.Offer immediate assistance – observations, co-planning, modifications.Don’tDismiss the teacher’s concerns as unimportant or foolish (this leads to stealth referrals and a competition to qualify an ELL just out of spite).Make the teacher feel ignorant because she doesn’t have a background in ELL issues.Promise something that you can’t/won’t deliver on.
4 A Quote from ResearchOne of the most common reasons for referrals to special education has been limited English proficiency (Maldonado-Colón, 1986). This is the case despite the fact that limited English proficiency, when it stems from the presence of a non-English language in the child's home, has, in and of itself, no negative effects on learning. […]When, however, no accommodations are made to a child's lack of proficiency in the language of the EC [early childhood] setting, children are left without means of understanding what is being said or expressing what they need to say. Their performance then becomes similar to that of children with disabilities.SOURCE: Barrera, Isaura (1995). To Refer Or Not to Refer: Untangling the Web of Diversity,"Deficit," and Disability. In: New York State Association for Bilingual Education Journal v10 p54-66, Summer 1995
5 2. Do we have a clear pre-referral process in place? Create a process with a multi-disciplinary team: Special Ed “best friend”, content and/or grade-level teacher, administrator, ELL staff.Get approval for the process and communicate it often to all staff.Avoid an overwhelmingly complex process if the majority of referrals are based on simple misinformation.
6 Another Quote from Research If […] the child has intact learning abilities and an age appropriate repertoire of skills, but can not understand the language of instruction, it is equally inappropriate and wasteful of both financial and human resources to generate a complete interdisciplinary assessment and special education program instead of simply providing needed linguistic support.SOURCE: Barrera, Isaura (1995). To Refer Or Not to Refer: Untangling the Web of Diversity,"Deficit," and Disability. In: New York State Association for Bilingual Education Journal v10 p54-66, Summer 1995
7 Sample Process Overview Process for Addressing ConcernsIdentify ConcernModifications, Interventions, Consult with ESL StaffContact parents regarding concernComplete Checklist and meet with Child Study TeamIf no progress is made, return to Child Study TeamOther interventions, such as homework center, tutors, etc.
8 Vancouver’s Checklist Genesis of the pre-referral formIterations over timeWhy the format of the formAdditional support and resourcesLynne Gadbury, ELL/Bilingual Ed Specialist
9 3. Who is the gatekeeper within ELL who is contacted for every pre-referral? No one has all the knowledge aboutELL/Special Ed referrals, but …When a Special Ed or ELL staff person suggests that “Yes, this kid probably is Special Ed” before knowing all the facts, it is difficult to bring any contradictory information to the table.Many ELLs are referred because they were referred at an earlier grade.
10 4. To what extent does everyone understand language development? Avoid these common fallacies:No English = No intelligence/learningSocial, oral language (BICS) = academic language (CALPs)Judging GLEs without ELD standardsIgnoring time as a crucial factor in language developmentIgnoring the role of dominant language
11 Dominant Language An English language learner has: a dominant language for home, family, church, shopping (usually the first language, remains at a simple level unless child receives direct instruction in this language).another dominant language for school and academic situations (usually the language of instruction, proficiency will continue to increase).
12 5. Is the ELL exhibiting atypical performance? Franklin Bender “Difference vs. Disability: The Continuum of Working with English Language Learners” from National CEU.Catherine Collier “Separating Difference from Disability”Evaluation and Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education: Children Who Are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
13 Quote from SpEd OSPI document A formal referral to special services is only justified after it has been determined that a child’s behavior and performance cannot be explained solely by language or cultural differences, the acculturation process, or the learning environment. - pg. 22, OSPI pamphlet
14 6. To whom is the ELL student being compared? A peer analysis is critical in determining if the student’s performance is atypical.The ideal peer group are ELLs, same language background, same time in program, same grade of entry in school.Scour district longitudinal data and find as large a peer group as possible
15 When children are learning English as a second language: When children have a language impairment or disorder:it is typical for their skills in English vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and comprehension to be less well- developed than their peers who only speak English.errors or limited skills in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and comprehension interfere with communication in their first language (L1), compared to peers from the same language group.they will acquire English in a predictable developmental sequence, similar to younger children who are beginning to learn English.their English skills are delayed in comparison to peers from the same language group who have been learning English for the same length of time.reduced opportunities to use their first language may result in loss of competence in L1 before becoming proficient in English.their communication is impaired in interactions with family members and others who speak the same language.they may switch back and forth between L1 and English, using their most sophisticated skills in both languages within single utterances.skills in their first language will be limited, inappropriate, or confused in content, form, or use.results from assessments conducted in English are unlikely to reflect the child’s true skills and abilities in most domains.assessments conducted in English will be unable to discriminate between language acquisition and language disorder.(Source: OSPI Pamphlet, p. 12)
16 Appropriate Comparison or Not? ELL 3rd grader to all 3rd graders?ELL to all ELLs in the district?ELL Spanish speaker to all ELL Spanish speakers?ELL to older or younger sibling?
17 7. What data should I look at for the peer comparison? Years in programEntry gradeWLPT-II levelsWASL scoresMobilityParent inputThere is always more to find out…
18 District Data ExampleComparison of Test History to Peers (same language group, same entry grade, same time in US)WLPTII Spring 200655 ELL 7th graders completed the test1 Level 1, avg. years in program – 1 / 12 Level 2s, avg. years in program – 2.431 Level 3s, avg. years in program – 4.9 (Student X is in this group)11 Level 4s, avg. years in program – 5.6Currently have 25 Russian ELLs in 8th grade.Average length of time in program has been just over 4.1 years.Of the 57 8th graders in the district who used to be in ELD, the average length of time in program prior to exit was 4.3 years. Of these, 29 are Russian speakers, who were in the program an average of 4 years.Of the 33 ELLs who have exited the program, and who started in 2nd grade, the average years in program prior to exit was 4.1 years.Of the 17 Russian ELLs who took the 7th grade WASL last year, the reading scores were: 8 Level 1s (Student X is in this group), and 9 Level 2s.The math scores were: 10 Level 1s (Student X was in this group), 6 Level 2s, and 1 Level 3.
19 WLPT-II for Kindergarten Spring 2008 COMPOSITE LEVELTotalSPAL11141LevelLangL27531Spanish862L335145104L46312030(blank)195Grand Total128178191COMPOSITE LEVELENTRY DATEDistrict9/5/2007118NK11227146487125222118Entry DateLevel 288Scale Score647509 to 534224525853625724538 to 56550291017
20 8. What role does Response-To-Intervention (RTI) play in the pre-referral process? There is great promise […] in using an RTI approach for many reasons. First, the universal screening and progress monitoring called for in the RTI process allow for comparison of students to other similar or “true” peers in their local cohort rather than to national norms. Second, an effective RTI model requires collaboration among all educators (e.g. speech and language therapists, school psychologists, counselors, English as a second language/Bilingual specialist) thereby providing increased opportunities for professional dialogue, peer coaching, and the creation of instructional models integrating best practices of the various fields of education and related services.Source: “A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners” Julie Esparza Brown, Portland State University, 2008.
21 Culturally Responsive RTI with Students Learning English Considerable research demonstrates that bilingualism may facilitate the development of reading skills in a second language & that bilingual learners benefit from heightened metalinguistic awareness (August & Shanahan, 2006; Lesaux, 2006, e.g., Bialystok, 1997; Cummins, 1991).The effectiveness of RTI frameworks for students who are learning English, while there is great variability across these students as a group, has been questioned by multiple researchers and practitioners. The importance of students’ language practices and backgrounds is central in designing and implementing interventions across all RTI tiers. A systematic consideration is how or even whether students’ primary language development is addressed within RTI interventions. Research demonstrates that the importance of bilingualism in literacy skill development in a second language.As we’ve talked about, individuals’ personal and group histories are part of relevant context for designing and implementing student-specific interventions in RTI. Context relevant to interventions for includes individuals’ history of schooling and exposure to English in home, community, and academic settings. The next three slides provide some examples of research that demonstrates how certain literacy interventions have been implemented and had some success with students who are learning English. Remember that in order for interventions to be research based, they must be grounded in research that includes as participants student populations similar to those with which the interventions will be applied.
22 Culturally Responsive Secondary & Tertiary Interventions What?Ongoing professionallearning for teachersaround types of supportsstudents requireCurricular & instructional resources to utilize with diverse learnersResearch-based interventions are grounded in culture’s essential role in teaching & learning.Time and space for educators to examine & reflect on practices.Who?Collaborative teams of educators with expertise in subject matter and types of support determined appropriate for students who require it.Where?In general education classrooms through collaborative methods of instruction.While the previous interventions provided specific-examples of research that supports their use with students who are learning English, it is more challenging to provide specific interventions that are culturally responsive because of the differences in learners backgrounds and educational histories. Therefore, when considering interventions within culturally responsive RTI frameworks, problem-solving teams think about many factors related to the appropriateness of interventions. They consider students’ language, background experiences, preferred ways of interacting, and home literacy practices and integrate these factors in curricular materials, instructional methods, educational environment, involvement of families, quality of teaching, and results from both formative and summative progress monitoring.Once students’ needs for support indicate that they would benefit from Secondary and/or Tertiary Level Interventions, supports are provided through the use of collaborative methods of instruction, by teams of educators with expertise in culturally responsive pedagogy, and in areas in which students may require supports (e.g. Special Education, Counseling, Speech and Language, English Language Acquisition). Professional learning and collaboration, including the time and space for educators to examine and reflect upon their practices, are part of the infrastructure of the school building led by the school principal. All interventions and supports are integrated within the context of the general education curriculum.
23 Interventions that are Culturally Responsive… …are constructed by intervention design teams…consider students’ language, background experiences, preferred ways of interacting, and home literacy practices and integrate all of these factors in curricular materials, instructional methods, educational environment, involvement of families, and both formative and summative progress monitoring.…are based on a theory of culture in learning…are informed by cultural brokers (Gay, 1993).While the previous interventions provided specific-examples of research that supports their use with students who are learning English, it is more challenging to provide specific interventions that are culturally responsive because of the differences in learners backgrounds and educational histories. Therefore, when considering interventions within culturally responsive RTI frameworks, intervention design teams think about many factors related to the appropriateness of interventions. They consider students’ language, background experiences, preferred ways of interacting, and home literacy practices and integrate these factors in curricular materials, instructional methods, educational environment, involvement of families, quality of teaching, and results from both formative and summative progress monitoring.Interventions for students who are culturally and linguistically diverse, should be informed by cultural brokers who are part of collaborative teams of educators who design interventions for struggling students, and examine their own practice for cultural responsiveness. Gay (1993) defines a cultural broker as:... one who thoroughly understands different cultural systems, is able to interpret cultural symbols from one frame of reference to another, can mediate cultural incompatibilities, and knows how to build bridges or establish linkages across cultures that facilitate the instructional process. (p. 48). Cultural brokers are often a member of the specific cultural group of the students who are struggling, or have close bonds with the cultural group because of their own involvement in the cultural community.
24 Progress Monitoring In Culturally Responsive RTI Frameworks Helps Educators… Determine whether students are benefitting from an instructional programIdentify students not demonstrating adequate progress, and consider student data disaggregated by language, gender, race, & ethnicityBuild culturally responsive instruction/ interventions for students not benefitting from current practicesCompareefficacy of different forms of instruction & design more effective, individualized instructional programsDetermine expectations (outcomes) for the quality & rate of student progress that consider language and other relevant student factorsThere are many benefits to the use of systematic progress monitoring in the classroom. Progress monitoring assists educators in determining expected outcomes for the quality and rate of student progress that are informed by students’ language, proficiency, and other relevant student factors, such as time as a student in that particular school. Progress monitoring also helps teachers determined whether and which students are benefitting from curriculum and instruction provided, and to consider patterns of different performance or progress across gender, race, ethnicity, or language. This information assists teachers in determining the need for building culturally responsive instruction and interventions for students not benefitting from current practices, while making increasingly more individualized plans for instruction and intervention for certain students who demonstrate the need for more intensive supports.
25 Desired outcomes for students come first! Progress Monitoring in the Classroom: Designing & Selecting Appropriate Progress Monitoring ToolsDesired outcomes for students come first!Multiple pathways for producing thedesired product or performanceStudents’ diverse backgrounds,experiences, skills and abilitiesIn order to create or select appropriate progress monitoring tools, we must know where to start. We begin with what we want students to know and be able to do—or, in other words, we begin with learning outcomes—because we can’t effectively assess student learning unless we ourselves are clear about what we want students to know and be able to do. Moreover, students themselves won’t know what we expect them to learn unless we make those learning outcomes clear and explicit to the students themselves.An exemplar of an outcome that meets the criteria outlined on this slide is Every student willcreate an essay. A non-exemplar is Every student will be able to write in cursive.Before this lecturette, you thought about the ways that educators already assess student learning in classrooms. Many forms of assessments are designed, chosen, and implemented everyday- questioning students, conferencing with students, and administering written tests, among others.A note of caution: If the student's cultural and linguistic experiences are not taken into account when progress monitoring tools are developed and interpreted, the evaluation process of how well a student has learned within the school's culture will be flawed. Struggling performance may indicate the degree of disconnection between the tool itself and the student‘s cultural and linguistic frames of reference, rather than the degree of mastery of the knowledge and skills being monitored (Koelsch, Estrin, and Farr, 1995).
26 Ensuring Progress Monitoring is Culturally Responsive Incorporate performance assessmentsDeveloping items/performance tasksRating performancePiloting the AssessmentsDevelop, select, and interpret tools and performance both quantitatively and qualitatively;Ensure measures are truly aligned with what student have actually been taught, not just what curriculum is being utilized, or what the grade level standards are;Link instructional decisions and changes to performance patterns across student factors (e.g., primary language proficiency, English proficiency) that may be linked to struggling performance, ensuring that students’ opportunities to learn are being met, and that curriculum and instruction is culturally responsive.Utilize tools that assess skills in the language in which they have been taught- (e.g., it is not enough to assess phonemic awareness in Spanish if a student’s primary language in Spanish, but she has never been taught Spanish phonemes).So, how do we make sure that our approach to Progress Monitoring within Culturally Responsive RTI frameworks, are also culturally responsive?There are challenges to making sure that performance assessments are culturally responsive (adapted from Hood, 1998):First, develop performance tasks and scoring criteria that (a) are responsive to cultural differences and (b) adequately assess the content related skills that are the focus of the assessment. So, the teachers defining the performance criteria must have understanding of the kinds of tasks that are culturally responsive for different or multiple groups, as well as the specific content area being assessed.Even if test developers recognize the importance of utilizing raters who are representative of targeted examinees' cultural group and of making representativeness a priority for selection as a performance rater, the potential influences of prejudicial beliefs on ratings of student performance cannot be eliminated. Appropriate steps must therefore be taken to minimize these effects, but once again, what if those who rate examinees' performances on specific tasks both reflected the cultural diversity of the examinees and possessed content expertise in the domain under study? One would expect these raters to have more insight in observing and rating examinees from their particular cultural group. It is also possible that they might have more favorable views of the performance of students from their own cultural group that cannot be attributed to "insider" sensitivity and insight. Such issues can and must be addressed during the training sessions for these observers. (Hood, 1998)Next, pilot the tasks to make sure they truly are culturally responsive, conduct analyses to determine the degree of congruence of the assessment tasks with the targeted learning outcomes as well as the identification of patterns of performance that may emerge within groups. During this carefully considered process, the final selection of the performance tasks, criteria, and procedures, along with the protocols for observing and rating performance, are determined.
27 QuoteStudents who have disorders that interfere with the teaching and learning process should be referred to special education programs that will allow them to develop the skills necessary for full participation in society. However, it is vital to distinguish students who are experiencing difficulties in school because of limited English skills from students who are handicapped. Inappropriate referral to special education can be stigmatizing and costly, and can inhibit limited-English-proficient students from achieving their full academic potential.SOURCE: Olson, Paula. (1991) Referring Language Minority Students to Special Education. ERIC Digest. ED Mar 91
28 9. To what extent are parents involved? Parents need to be contacted early in a language they understand regarding the teacher’s concerns.Parents need to be educated about language development and differences between siblings, the role of 1st language literacy, etc.
29 10. To what extent are district ELL/Special Ed trends being scrutinized? Sometimes individual schools and staff are unable to notice trends in referrals across the district. Here are some Spokane examples.
30 Spokane Public Schools SpEd Statistics GroupTotalSpEd %English or no other language2858015.3%Language other than English16705.1%Eligible ELLs9866%
31 Spokane Public Schools SpEd/ELL Statistics Language (50 or more)TotalSpEd %Eligible ELLsBosnian5714%3023%Hmong783.8%375.4%Marshallese1401.4%1261.6%Russian6364.1%3314.8%Spanish24412.3%162Ukrainian522%293.5%Vietnamese1315%679%