Keywords

English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Learning disabilities -- Florida, Middle schools -- Florida, Special education -- Florida, Urban schools -- Florida

Abstract

The disproportionate representation of ethnically and racially diverse students in special education has been an enduring problem in education for the past four decades. However, most of the research on disproportionality has focused on the ethnic/racial variable; the body of research focusing on the linguistic variable is still slim in comparison. As linguistic diversity in the United States continues to rise, teachers will continue to be challenged to meet the needs of the English Language Learners in their classrooms. However, many teachers feel unprepared to deal with this diversity and have difficulty discriminating whether a student’s poor performance is due to linguistic or cognitive factors. Consequently, many English Language Learners are misidentified and misplaced in special education programs. The purpose of this study was to analyze the representation of English Language Learners in special education high incidence disability categories in a large, urban school district in Florida. Cross-tabulations and chi-square statistics were used to analyze the distribution of special education students by ethnicity/race, home language, ESOL status, and English proficiency level; risk ratio and relative risk ratio statistics were used to determine whether the district’s English Language Learners showed under, equal, or over-representation in special education high incidence disability categories. The results indicated that English Language Learners were at the greatest risk for being identified as Specific Learning Disabled when compared to the other learning disability categories, and English Language Learners with intermediate English proficiency levels were at a higher risk for being identified and placed in special education high incidence disability categories when compared to beginning and advanced level English Language Learners.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2011

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Stewart, Martha

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College

College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004127

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004127

Language

English

Release Date

December 2012

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Education Commons

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