The Special Education Referral and Decision-Making Process for English Language Learners: Child Study Team Meetings and Staffing

Klingner, J. K., & Harry, B. (2006).

The special education referral and decision-making process for English Language Learners: Child study team meetings and staffings.

Teachers College Record 108, 2247-2281.

This study examined the special education referral and decision-making process for English language learners, with a focus on Child Study Team (CST) meetings and placement conferences/multidisciplinary team meetings. Findings revealed that in practice, only cursory attention was given to prereferral strategies. Most students were pushed toward testing, based on an assumption that poor academic performance or behavioral difficulties had their origin within the child and indicated a need for special education. Although some school personnel were quite knowledgeable about language issues, many were not. There was tremendous variation in the quality of what transpired during meetings. These differences were influenced by the intentions, knowledge, skills, and commitment of CST or multidisciplinary team members.