This study, which focuses on three districts in New York State, uses interviews with the districts’ and schools’ personnel and documents from the state’s and districts’ websites to examine practices for identifying learning disabilities among students who are English language learners and the challenges that arise. The study finds similarities and differences in practices, with more differences in practices and with more differences in pre-referral than in referral practices. The study identifies eight challenges in identifying and five interrelated, important factors in misidentifying learning disabilities in students who are English language learners.
This substantive study examines and describes eight challenges in identifying learning disabilities in students who are English language learners. This study is one of the few resources on this topic and may be useful for educators and other stakeholders in this field.