01 02 03 Institute for Effective Education, University of York: Identifying and supporting EAL pupils with special educational needs 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Identifying and supporting EAL pupils with special educational needs

There are many studies on English language acquisition, and also on special educational needs (SEN), but less is known about how to help SEN pupils who speak English as a second language. It can be hard to identify these pupils and provide them with appropriate support, and sometimes SEN is mistaken for a lack of English knowledge, and vice versa.
To address these challenges in the US, a new review from the Institute of Education Sciences and REL West synthesises findings of current policy practices and research on identifying and helping pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) who also have special educational needs.
As part of the review, the authors examined 52 articles and reports published between 2000-2015 that met criteria for topic and study design (experimental or quasi-experimental), looking for patterns that occurred two or more times in the literature. They also looked for patterns in policy in the 20 US states with the largest EAL pupil populations. Their review uncovered the following information:
To determine if an EAL pupil has a special educational need, the authors suggest considering the following:
Authors found that teachers do not always know why EAL pupils are not progressing, and that their referral processes are poorly designed. To address this they suggest:
Source: Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice (2015), Institute of Education Sciences/REL West.

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