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ELLs with Disabilities

ELs may be eligible for Special Education services. The IEP team considers both special education services and ELD instruction simultaneously, as appropriate. The ELD facilitator provides input to the team since he/she is familiar with the student’s language needs. If an EL is identified as having special needs, the IEP team checks Limited English proficiency under special considerations on Part 1 of the IEP. In any special education proceeding, every effort is made to ensure that EL parents understand the procedures, which may include providing an interpreter for the parents if necessary. Since ESL /Bilingual programs are identified in The Pennsylvania School Code, Chapter 4, Section 4.26, as general curriculum, the academic program for an EL with a disability considers ELD just as it must consider any other general curriculum services available to non-disabled students. Programmatic decisions regarding ELs with disabilities are made by the IEP team with appropriate representation. It is not appropriate for an EL with a disability to be denied access to general curriculum including an English language instructional program as defined above. Special education services do not replace an English language instructional program.

ELs with disabilities participate in all assessments, including the annual state English Language Proficiency assessment, PSSA (or PASA, if appropriate) and Keystones in accordance with 34 CFR 300.160. Participation is documented in Part III of the IEP. An EL student with a disability may be provided one or more state-approved accommodations appropriate for his/her disability. The IEP team, with participation from the ELD department, may make decisions regarding assessment accommodations for ELs with disabilities as they would for any student with a disability. The following rules govern assessment accommodations for ELs:

  • Accommodations must not invalidate the results of the assessment.

  • Accommodations may be used for the entire assessment or only for part/parts of the assessment.

  • Determinations of any accommodations used must be:

    • Based on a student’s disability.

    • Made by the student’s IEP team.

    • Properly documented in the student’s IEP.

    • Properly coded on the assessment.

For PSSA and Keystone accommodations guidelines, reference the Pennsylvania Department of Education Guidelines.

For WIDA ACCESS for ELs® accommodations guidelines, refer to the WIDA Website.