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SPED 3100

Article Review

Ashley Kania

Article Review
Liu, Y.-J., Ortiz, A., Wilkinson, C., Robertson, P., & Kushner, M. (January 01, 2008). From Early
Childhood Special Education to Special Education Resource Rooms. Assessment for
Effective Intervention, 33, 3, 177-187.
Purpose of this research
The purpose of this study was to describe characteristics of ELL students with reading
related learning disabilities and discriminate whether these students are currently being served
under IDEA actually qualify as having a reading related learning disability (LD) or just need an
accommodation to the learning materials. The goal of this research was to improve the
identification and assessment processes and eligibility determinations for ELL students.
Description of subjects
19 students who were classified as being limited English proficient; were initially
identified as eligible for special education at 3, 4, or 5 years old; and receiving reading
instruction in a bilingual special education resource classrooms. Of these, only 9 students (6
males, 3 females) were found to have severe discrepancies in reading.
Students records including student background characteristics, language assessments,
results, and language dominance over time; data that includes reasons for early referral, lists
early interventions provided, and assessment data; and the students disability classifications, and
or related services that may have been recommended. A panel of experts reviewed each students
records independently and assessed reasons for the students eligibility decision. The panel
assessed the students records based on 4 questions that guided the panels review. The panel was
seen to be in agreement if all three members reached the same decision. Eligibility
determinations by the panel were compared to district MDT decisions.
Panelists wrote individual comments reporting reasons for each students eligibility
decision and were considered to be in agreement if all 3 members reached the same conclusion.
Six students (67%) were able to reach an agreement, and for the remaining 3 students the
panelist got together to make a consensus decision. Based on the results, students were classified
into two groups. Group 1 (n = 4; 44%), which the panel believed there was enough evidence to
classify and support the student with special education services. This group was broken down
into two subgroups: (1A) consisted of one student, classified as having a reading related LD and
(1B) consisted of 3 students, believed to have disabilities but perhaps not reading related LD.
Group 2 (n = 5; 56%) students displayed learning difficulties, however these could be explained
by reasons other than a classification of LD and need more data to determine if eligible for
special education services.
Discussion and Personal Opinion
Issues with this study include the small sample in one school district does not represent
the population very well; results are based entirely on a secondary analysis of school records
obtained that were not maintained for research purposes. The bilingual education classroom is a

SPED 3100
Article Review

Ashley Kania

key component to assessing ELL students current performance levels, the bilingual aspect to this
classroom should include that students be assessed in both languages. The bilingual performance
profile is based on the students knowledge across languages.
This study helped me understand some of the characteristics of a student with a LD and
how ELL students have been disproportionately represented in special education. Although I
believe there are flaws in the sample size and the way the records were obtained, I believe that
the intent to assess the policy, procedures, and practices at school district levels involving ELL
students should be studied into further. Possible suggestions would be to compare different
school districts policy, procedures, and practices for early intervention, referral, assessment, and
eligibility determination involving ELL students.