There is a paucity of research investigating the relationship between teacher characteristics and the referral of English language learners (ELLs) to intervention teams (IT). This study investigated the relationships linking referrals of preschool ELLs with the teacher's perception of self-efficacy (SE), years of teaching experience, knowledge about second language acquisition, and beliefs as well as attitudes regarding ELLs. The number of ELL referrals to IT that do not qualify for special services underscores the need for increased research on the effect teachers have on the referral process. This cross-sectional study included a three-part survey sent to teachers in public schools, childcare private providers, or Head Start in one school district. The survey was returned by 97 of the 121 teachers and included the Exceptional Children who are English Learners (EXCEL) Inventory and the Content Area Teachers Survey (CATS). The survey, based on Bandura's self-efficacy theory, documented self-reported perceptions of characteristics related to teaching ELLs. A stepwise multiple regression identified a combination of knowledge, teaching experience, and attitudes regarding ELLs as the best combination of variables to predict ELL referrals. As noted by these results, a teacher's characteristics play an important role in the interpretation of screening results and subsequent referrals of ELLs. These findings can be used to inform professional development opportunities for teachers of ELLs. Social change will be facilitated through a better understanding of the effect teachers have on the referral process, thereby increasing meaningful screening of the abilities and disabilities of young ELLs.
|Advisers||James Miller; Mario Castro|
|Subjects||English as a second language; Early childhood education; Special education|
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