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ERIC Number: EJ1179102
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jun
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1096-2506
Differentiating Second Language Acquisition from Specific Learning Disability: An Observational Tool Assessing Dual Language Learners' Pragmatic Competence
Farnsworth, Megan
Young Exceptional Children, v21 n2 p92-110 Jun 2018
Overrepresentation of Dual Language Learners (DLLs) in special education remains a problem even after 40 years of inquiry. One factor is that the U.S. federal government has neither clearly explained the definition of Specific Learning Disability (SLD) nor operationally defined it to identify children for special education services. This lack of clarification continues to pose challenges in developing SLD identification criteria, and has not taken into account DLLs' linguistic and sociocultural differences. The purpose of this article is to emphasize the need for educators to become familiar with social aspects of language (e.g., pragmatics) as crucial indicators of typical language development. To support educators' knowledge of pragmatic language use, an observation tool is introduced that allows educators to view the wide range of DLLs' linguistic abilities and an imperative piece in the larger evaluation puzzle for SLD eligibility. The article begins with an overview of second language acquisition stages and assessments, definition of SLD in IDEA (2004), and reasons why SLD is even more difficult to accurately assess in DLLs. Second, the need for authentic assessments including observation of DLLs in peer groups will be discussed, and how pragmatics gives clues on language competence. Then, a case study student is introduced to demonstrate how the benefits of language observation and transcription help determine typical language acquisition. Finally, suggestions are made for best practices in language assessment, which includes a pragmatic observation tool that helps educators draw a more accurate picture of DLLs' language abilities, which may help to reduce misidentification for SLD.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A