Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland
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  Referrals: Kindergarten — 12th Grade

Which school-aged students can be referred to the Bilingual Assessment Team (BAT)?

1. Students who are currently enrolled in ESOL services must be referred to the BAT office before the student is referred to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

2. Students who have been exited from ESOL within one calendar year of subsequent referral to the school IEP team should be referred to the BAT before they are referred to the IEP team.

3. Private school students in Montgomery County who meet one of the criteria listed above or who received all of their schooling in a language other than English may be referred to the BAT through the Division of Placement and Assessment Services Unit as private school referrals.

When is a student referred to the BAT?

The Educational Management Team (EMT), including the ESOL teacher, should have implemented systematic interventions and documented their effectiveness before referring an English Language Learner (ELL) to the BAT office. The appropriate ESOL instructional specialist can provide advice and suggestions during this process. Following implementation of interventions and referral for language dominance determination, students who do not show appropriate progress and students who show evidence of a disability should be referred to the IEP Team. The EMT should request completion of a language dominance assessment before the screening IEP team meeting is held.

Action Steps for ELL students prior to referral for IEP screening:

  • Initiate Collaborative Problem Solving
  • Implement interventions/accommodations with integrity
  • Use data-based decision making to determine if the intervention is successful
  • Return to Collaborative Problem Solving/EMT when interventions are not successful to determine next steps
  • When EMT team data supports the suspicion of an educational disability and the student is a student identified in #2 above, then the EMT refers to BAT for language dominance determination before the IEP screening so that the results of the language dominance determination will be available during the screening IEP meeting.

What happens next?

  • Refer to IEP Team and BAT (Use MCPS Form 336-26.)
  • BAT will assign an instructional assessment specialist to determine student's dominant language
  • The instructional assessment specialist may attend screening IEP meeting, report on language dominance, participate in discussions, and help with testing decisions.

What is a language dominance determination?

Federal and state laws require that special education eligibility testing be conducted in a student's primary language when feasible. The main purpose of a language dominance determination is to determine the appropriate language(s) for testing if evaluation is recommended by the IEP team. There are essentially three possible outcomes from language dominance assessment:

1. First Language Dominant: All testing should be done bilingually. Educational and psychological assessments will be done by the BAT. Speech-language assessments in Spanish or French will be done by the BAT except in special circumstances dictated by the Speech and Language Programs office. Speech-language assessments in languages other than Spanish or French will be done by school-based personnel with an interpreter.

2. English Dominant: All testing will be conducted in English by school-based personnel.

3. Mixed Dominant: Typically, a student who demonstrates mixed language dominance is more competent academically in English than in his or her first language but the student may understand and communicate better in his or her first language. For this reason, the educational assessment is done by local school personnel in English, but the psychological and speech-language assessments are completed bilingually.

What happens after the screening IEP meeting?

1. If an assessment plan has been developed, testing is assigned based on the findings from the language dominance determination.

2. If the school is requesting BAT to complete assessments(s) the school personnel must send a complete BAT referral (MCPS form 336-26) and packet with all necessary documents to the BAT office. Referrals should be sent to the BAT office as soon as possible after the IEP meeting.

3. A school representative should contact the BAT office 3 work days after the referral has been mailed to the BAT office to confirm its receipt.

4. When the BAT office receives the referral, the appropriate personnel will be assigned to conduct the requested assessments.

5. School personnel need to obtain an interpreter for the Evaluation IEP meeting.

6. BAT assessments will be reviewed at the Evaluation IEP meeting. As timelines and scheduling permit, the BAT psychologist assigned to a case may attend the Evaluation IEP meeting; otherwise assessments should be reviewed by members of the school IEP team.


Phone the BAT office at 301-230-0656.

Other questions can be directed to the BAT instructional assessment specialist assigned to the school.


Updated April 28, 2010 | Maintained by Linda Bart

Montgomery County Public Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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