This study examined the accuracy of teacher assessments in screening for reading disabilities among students of English as a second language (ESL) and as a first language (L1). Academic and oral language tests were administered to 369 children (249 ESL, 120 L1) at the beginning of Grade 1 and at the end of Grade 2. Concurrently, 51 teachers nominated children at risk for reading failure and completed rating scales assessing academic and oral language skills. Scholastic records were reviewed for notation of concern or referral. The criterion measure was a standardized reading score based on phonological awareness, rapid naming, and word recognition. Results indicated that teacher rating scales and nominations had low sensitivity in identifying ESL and L1 students at risk for reading disability at the 1-year mark. Relative to other forms of screening, teacher-expressed concern had lower sensitivity. Finally, oral language proficiency contributed to misclassifications in the ESL group.
English Learners with Special Needs