Preventing Inappropriate Referrals of Language Minority Students to Special Education.
Garcia, Shernaz B. Ortiz, Alba A.
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Wheaton, MD. (BBB21974)
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Students who experience academic failure may be classified as follows: Type I, students whose classroom environment does not accommodate their individual differences and learning styles (e.g., language minority students); Type II, students whose achievement difficulties are not due to handicapping conditions (e.g., from frequent absenteeism); and Type III, students with genuine disorders. To distinguish Types I and II from Type III and thus prevent inappropriate referrals of language minority students to special education, a formal, eight-step prereferral intervention model is proposed. Under this model, a Teacher Assistance Team meets with the referring teacher, and the following questions are considered: (1) Is the student experiencing academic difficulty? (2) Are the curricula and instructional materials known to be effective for language minority students? (3) Has the problem been validated? (4) Is there evidence of systematic efforts to identify the source of difficulty and to take corrective action? (5) Do student difficulties persist? (6) Have other programming alternatives been tried? and (7) Do difficulties continue in spite of alternatives? If mainstream alternatives prove to be of no avail, then referral to special education is appropriate. Five figures outlining the concepts discussed are included, and 40 references are cited. (JWK)