A comparative study of fifteen elementary students from monolingual Spanish-speaking homes : grade level achievers and low achievers



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The Hispanic population in the Southwest is increasing very rapidly. The school districts must determine how best to meet the educational needs of low achieving limited English proficient (LEP) students. Educators are attempting to find ways to identify LEP minority children who belong in classes for the learning disabled. Although Public Law 94- 142 defined broad guidelines for identifying LD students in an average English-speaking population (they must have a significant intelligence-achievement discrepancy), differentiating LD students in a LEP population presents a different problem. Although they may be of normal intelligence, Hispanic bilingual children’s lack of English proficiency may retard their achievement in English academic subjects, making them seem like LD children. The use of a Performance (nonverbal) score as a measure of their intelligence, as is frequent practise, increases their chances of being labeled LD, because it is often much higher than their achievement scores. This case study of 15 children took a holistic approach to the identification of LD Hispanic children. By comparing in many areas low achieving children referred and placed in special education with similar children achieving on grade level, the researcher hoped to isolate characteristics which set the low achievers apart. She questioned parents and teachers, collected data from cumulative record and special education folders, and observed and tested children with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) and the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery of achievement tests. [...]



Hispanic American children--Education, Academic achievement, Education, Bilingual, Learning disabilities