Disability or Language? Use of RTI to Identify and Support English Learners’ Academic Achievement

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Presented at: NABE 2017

A growing number of students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds demonstrate unique learning needs as they work to acquire a new language, and meet national/state standards. The question is whether the needs of these diverse learners are being appropriately addressed by schools/districts, or are English learners being disproportionately identified for special education?

When linguistically diverse students struggle in school, it is the responsibility of teachers/schools to assess whether the cause is due to language or that of a disability. Successful implementation of the RTI process is key to ensuring that ELs receive appropriate intervention to maximize their academic achievement and language acquisition.