Fall 12-17-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Pam Telleen

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Amy Hewett-Olatunde

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sarah Thuente


The research question addressed in this project is: How do teachers refer EL students for special education services and how can the process be more equitable for students? The motivating factor for this research was one teacher’s frustration in referring EL students for special education services at a large urban school. The teacher felt as though the process was disorganized, inequitable and did not support EL students with the highest needs. The author interviews ESL, special education teachers and a bilingual educational assistant at one urban school to identify their perspective of the process and frustrations that arise from it. The results of the research can be used by teachers, school administrators and district policy makers to strengthen areas of weakness in the special education referral process in order to more equitably identify EL students.

Research Methodology

Interview, Observation


ESL/ ELLs, Special Education, SLIFE, Equity

Included in

Education Commons