English Language Learners (ELLs) are one of the fastest growing student populations throughout the country. With ELLs come unique challenges schools must navigate to best serve these students. One challenge is the identification of these students and proper placement and service within ELL programs offered by schools. Another challenge is determining if an ELL also has a disability, particularly a learning disability, since language proficiency problems can mimic learning disability symptoms. This study sought to discover how states identify ELLs, and especially ELLs with disabilities (ELLWDs). The researcher examined the policy documents of all 50 states, analyzing and coding those documents for key elements relating to ELLs and ELLWDs found within previous research. Additionally, to better triangulate data, the researcher examined student populations for a sample of 15 states through state reported USDOE sources and US Census sources to determine how well the subgroups of ELLs and ELLWDs might be identified based on population comparisons. The study found that states tend to use the federal definition of limited English proficient as a basis for their definition of ELLs and that a little more than half of the states addressed the issue of ELLWDs at all. They do not have a formal identifying definition for these students. While federal DOE and OCR oversights have increased awareness and service for ELLS, more work remains, in particular with creating a common identification matrix for ELLWDs and raising awareness of their presence in the student population.
|Commitee:||Breithaupt, Kathy, Crowder, William C.|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Georgia|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Multicultural Education, Education Policy, Special education|
|Keywords:||Assessment, Disabilities, Educational policy, English language learner, Identification, Instructional strategy|
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