How does a school determine if a student has a learning disability when English is his second language or he has limited English proficiency?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act explicitly prescribes evaluation procedures for students who have English as a second or other language.
In describing evaluation procedures, IDEA requires that
(a)(1) Tests and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under Part B of the Act
(i) Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis; and
(ii) Are provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
(2) Materials and procedures used to assess a child with limited English proficiency are selected and administered to ensure that they measure the extent to which the child has a disability and needs special education, rather than measuring the child’s English language skills. (Section 300.532 of 34 CFR Parts 300 and 303)
Please also see the position paper authorized by DLD’s board entitled “Essential Components of Special Education for English Language Learners With Learning Disabilities” and written by Janette Klingner and colleagues.