Referral and Evaluation of ELL Students

What's Required

Each public agency must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation before the initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability 34 CFR 300.301(a). The initial evaluation must be conducted within 45 school days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation.  The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if the child is a child with a disability recognized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and to determine the educational needs of the child 43 CFR 300.301(c)(2).

Districts shall implement assessment procedures which differentiate between language proficiency and handicapping conditions and shall establish placement procedures which ensure that placement in a bilingual education or English as a second language program is not refused solely because the student has a disability 19 TAC 89.1230. A professional member of the language proficiency assessment committee shall serve on the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee of each limited English proficient student who qualifies for services in the special education program.

What We Do

The regular referral process applies to all students who are experiencing difficulty in the regular classroom with additional information being necessary for English Language Learners (ELL) students.  The additional referral information gathered should include:

  • Current Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) reports (within one year). 
  • A copy of the Home Language Survey and current information about language used in the home. 
  • History of language exposure and use, language proficiency testing (i.e., Individual Proficiency Test (IPT), etc.) 
  • Information about culture and home life. 
  • Information about educational history, attendance records, placement, both foreign and local (i.e. special education, bilingual education, English as a Second Language (ESL), etc.), current and previous educational interventions including RtI interventions and recommendations (i.e. peer tutoring, modifications, therapy, scientific research based instruction, etc.), and current and previous language of instruction. 
  • Standardized test results including but not limited to: Stanford/Aprenda, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), Texas Oral Proficiency (TOP), Tejas Lee, etc.).

When considering the data gathered, the Response to Intervention (RtI) team should discuss alternatives and not limit itself to the referral for a special education evaluation and/or instruction modifications.  The RtI committee must assure that the basis of the referral is not due to environmental, cultural, or economic factors, nor the result of lack of educational opportunity or language differences.


Relation of LPAC to the ARD/IEP Committee

The referral process as outlined in the Response to Intervention guidelines must be followed when any ELL student is referred for special education.  The time between the initial referral and possible testing for subsequent eligibility for special education services will vary from student to student depending on the decision of the Referral committee.  For those ELL students being considered for placement in special education, Section 77.357 of the Texas Education code requires schools to ensure that each campus LPAC Committee coordinates with the campus ARD/IEP Committee in determining an appropriate placement of ELL students with disabilities. It should be noted that the educational needs of a student may fall under the jurisdiction of both committees.  In this situation, a professional member of the LPAC Committee must participate in All ARD/IEP Committee meetings.  The LPAC representative must be familiar with the student’s instructional needs.  A staffing prior to the ARD/IEP Committee meeting is encouraged.  The signature page of the ARD/IEP forms must clearly indicate (with signature and title) the participation of the LPAC member.  

  • Home Language Survey