Strand of Culturally Responsive Assessment for Bilingual English Learners
Last week esteemed colleague leaders in this field collaborated to run the 3.5-hour strand on the topic. The strand started with m presentation on the current state and practices on teachers working with bilingual English learners and why every educator needs to learn more. For example, did you know that bilingual English learners are 3.5 times more likely to be referred to special education? Did you also know that some districts establish a “wait to refer” rule which violates current education law while other districts encourage referral to special education in order to increase services (also a poor practice that can increase the percentage of English learners in special education. We had five leaders presenting and here are there summaries:
Dr. Julie Esparza Brown highlighted the need to compare the progress in English and academics with that of a “true peer” rather than comparing bilingual English Learners to average English only students. Her presentation showcase two case studies to show which one would be the one to correctly refer for special education and which one tells us whether core /general instruction is actually providing access to all students, including bilingual English learners.
I also presented my Special Education Referral Evaluation Checklist for English Learners to help educators ensure that educators and SEAs check key aspects of the pre-referral and referral process to make sure the right bilingual students are referred to special education.
Please visit the PADLET to see everyone’s presentations and resources.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for Understood.org and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.