This new project is patterned after the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center’s (GLCC’s) project supporting Michigan’s development of guidance for English learners (ELs) with suspected disabilities. GLCC will work with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and a writing team to develop Guidelines for the Identification of English Learners with Suspected Disabilities. It is anticipated that the document will evolve through two drafts with a final draft being reviewed with school personnel and other stakeholders from around the state. These guidelines will help build the knowledge of EL teachers, special education teachers, principals, school psychologists, the regional system of support, and higher education representatives. GLCC will support the design of several training modules for district and school staff and regional system of support staff to build capacity for implementing the guidance. The use of this guidelines document, coupled with training and support, will result in the following outcomes: increased knowledge and skills for educators to identify EL students with suspected disabilities; enhanced awareness and ability to identify normal EL language development versus a language or other disability for district, school, and regional system of support staff; and increased ability to appropriately identify and support students with disabilities in schools and districts.
Schools and districts in Ohio need guidance, training, knowledge, and skills for appropriate identification, assessment, and placement of ELs with suspected disabilities like schools and districts in Michigan received from GLCC’s support project. The ODE Lau Center staff, who are dedicated to improving EL outcomes, believe that EL students, particularly those at the elementary level, are more often “underidentified” than “overidentified” as having disabilities, and therefore some EL students with disabilities are not provided necessary special education services. In particular, research has shown that ELs have been overrepresented in special education at the secondary level (Artiles, Rueda, Salazar, & Higareda, 2005; Linn & Hemmer, 2011) but underrepresented at the elementary level (Samson & Lesaux, 2009).
Milestone 1. Processes for writing the guidance document, including but not limited to developing the content and outline, selecting writers, establishing timelines, and creating systems of review developed. (10/15/18)
Milestone 2. A statewide capacity-building plan for the EL guidance document and training modules, including the role of ODE, regional systems of support and institutions of higher education, professional organizations, and others developed. (03/15/19)
Milestone 3. Drafts of the guidance document for identifying ELs with suspected disabilities, and a final document that is reviewed by the EL state advisory council, various educators, and other stakeholders developed. (05/15/19)
Milestone 4. One to three training modules for school teams of special education staff, EL specialists, speech pathologists, classroom teachers, and principals of schools receiving special education literacy and English learners grants designed, implemented, and evaluated by ODE. (08/15/19)
Expected Capacity Building Outcomes
Primary: Improved knowledge and skills
Secondary: Improved materials and assets
- ODE has increased knowledge, skills, and resources to support pilot schools in using the guidelines document to identify EL students with suspected disabilities
- Districts, schools, and regional system of support staff have increased knowledge about language disability versus normal EL language development, required and appropriate testing, and the laws and language associated with EL students and special education students
- Guidelines for the Identification of English Learners with Suspected Disabilities document
- One to three training modules for school teams of special education staff, EL specialists, speech pathologists, classroom teachers, and principals
- A statewide capacity-building plan