Overrepresentation of English language learners (ELLs) in special education is a current problem. Urban school professionals indicated that inappropriate placement is linked to a multiplicity of factors. Scarce data exist regarding the relationship between school professional efficacy beliefs, the availability of bilingual programs and personnel for ELLs, and successful academic outcomes. School employees are still confused about the proper placement of English language learners (ELLs). What is enough time to acquire a second language and learn with success? Without other substantial program choices, children are referred to special education. Furthermore, many students in need of special education may be overlooked and remain in ESL programs for their entire school career. The aim of this study was to identify the role staff member’s efficacy plays in the proper determination of an ELL with a language difference or disability. Child study team (CST) members (n=14) working with a large Hispanic ELL population participated in semistructured interviews to determine the role their efficacy beliefs exert during assessment of linguistically diverse students. Overwhelmingly, staff members noted that they did not feel competent when making decisions regarding ELLs. Therefore, staff members placed the children into special education each time. The practice implications come from the prominent themes that include significant in-district professional development on second language acquisition, facilitation of second language through use of first language through bilingual staff, and committed bilingual programs to meet ELL needs. Additionally, universities must provide coursework that furthers second language acquisition theories and strategies for all teacher candidate programs.
Education Research International
Becker, G., & Deris, A. R. (2019). The identification of Hispanic English language learners in special education. Education Research International, 2019 (2967943). https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2967943
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Copyright © 2019 Gail I. Becker and Aaron R. Deris. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.