Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


School of Teacher Education

Document Type



This paper explores solutions to the issue of overrepresentation in special education among the English Language Learner (ELL) population. Reasons for overrepresentation of this population can be summarized into three main categories: diagnostic problems, TESOL shortages, and improper assessment tools. By educating future and current teachers on proper ways and techniques to teach, academic failure among ELL students is prevented. Assessment forms need to be revised and accountability needs to exist to ensure that poor teaching and learning environments are not being diagnosed as a disability. An attempt to find how effectively these solutions have been implemented into schools, overrepresentation rates of ELLs, and what other practices are currently being implemented was made through the use of a study distributed to teachers in the South-Central United States. Research found that teaching strategies were poorly enforced in some schools due to lack of instruction in college coursework and professional development and provision of resources for English Language Learners between urban and rural schools had a stark contrast. No school within the survey displayed overrepresentation. However, all schools seemed to lack accountability for assessing an ELL with a possible disability.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Trini Stickle, Ph.D.


Education | First and Second Language Acquisition | Linguistics | Special Education and Teaching