English Language Learners with Disabilities in Massachusetts:
Current Status and Next Steps for Identification and Instruction
In April 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) contracted with researchers at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), to study current practices in identifying disabilities among English Language Learners (ELLs) and in meeting their the students' instructional needs in schools and districts across the state. Directors of special education, and directors and coordinators of school districts' English learner education programs, principals, and teachers participated in different aspects of the research, including surveys and qualitative interviews with the EDC researchers. The overall findings suggest that, although Massachusetts schools and districts face challenges in meeting the instructional needs of ELLs with disabilities, there are also many practices and processes led by highly committed individuals with extensive expertise that are being implemented to meet the needs of these students.