Fiscal Year 2019 → Question 1
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not distinguish between ELLs and native English speakers. When an educational disability is suspected, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team recommends assessments in all areas of concern, which may include educational, speech/language, cognitive, or social-emotional functioning.
In MCPS, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Level 1 and 2 students are referred for bilingual educational, psychological, and/or speech and language assessment during the IEP screening process. Bilingual assessments are conducted by the Bilingual Assessment Team (BAT). BAT is a multilingual unit designed to collaborate with each school’s IEP team by conducting language dominance, psychological, educational, and/or speech and language assessments for ELLs who have, or are suspected of having, an educational disability. BAT works with the following students:
ESOL Level 1 and 2
Referred for bilingual educational, psychological, and/or speech and language assessment during the IEP screening process.
ESOL Level 3 or 4
Referred for bilingual educational, psychological, and/or speech and language assessment during the IEP screening process, depending on results of a language dominance assessment.
ESOL Level 5
Assessed by the school team with an interpreter.
It was determined that interpreters assisting the school team with an assessment for ESOL Level 5 students required professional learning to gain the skills and expertise needed in this role. As a result, in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, a full-day professional learning session was provided to a cadre of 23 interpreters who then became designated as highly skilled in supporting school teams in this function.
To assist teachers at the school level in the assessment of ESOL Level 5 students, professional learning is being developed during the 2018–2019 school year via online modules on assessment, data analysis, and report writing.
The Speech and Language Services Unit and the Division of Psychological Services provide ongoing professional learning to speech/language pathologists and school psychologists assessing ELL students. Job-embedded coaching is available to staff members as needed.