Exiting ELL/Special Ed. Students

We recently had a question posted on the LPAC forum asking how to go about exiting an ELL student who is also served through special education and who, because of his/her disabilities, will probably not meet the standard exit criteria.

This question comes up a lot because exiting procedures involving special ed students have become more stringent over the last couple of years.  I’m giving a quickie response here just to outline the process.  TEA has produced some surprisingly clear instruction on the matter, should you want more details.  You can also use the Special Exit Criteria Checklist, which is an eform developed by All Things LPAC based on TEA’s guidelines.  These guidelines are based on 19 TAC 89.1225 (k).

First: The process of exiting a student dually served by special education and BE/ESL begins at the BEGINNING of the year, or near the beginning of the year. That’s TEA language. The ESC contacts I consulted told me that meeting prior to administering state assessments (TAKS, STAAR, TELPAS) would be sufficient.  During this meeting key members of the student’s ARD committee and LPAC discuss whether the student will qualify for exit using special criteria.

Qualifying students are those that:

  • Take TAKS/STAAR modified or alternate in reading, ELA, or writing
  • Due to the nature of their disability, require modified language proficiency standards as measured by TELPAS or another approved OLPT, writing proficiency test, or reading proficiency test
  • Do not appear to benefit from continued language development support

If the student meets the criteria above, or is expected to meet it by the end of the year, he/she is eligible to be exited using special criteria.

Now the LPAC and ARD Committee members need to determine the student’s individualized special exit criteria:

  • How will the oral language proficiency standard be met? Through TELPAS or another OLPT? What will be the standard?
  • How will the English reading proficiency standard be met? Through TAKS/STAAR modified or alternate? Through TELPAS or another approved reading proficiency assessment? Note: Proficiency standards for TAKS/STAAR modified and alternate are set by the state, not the LPAC/ARD Committee. If using TELPAS or another approved reading proficiency assessment for the reading requirement, what will be the proficiency standard? Usually only students in grades 1 or 2 fall into the non-TAKS/STAAR category.*
  • How will the English writing proficiency standard be met? Through TAKS/STAAR modified or alternate? Through TELPAS or another approved writing proficiency assessment? Note: Proficiency standards for TAKS/STAAR modified and alternate are set by the state, not the LPAC/ARD Committee. If using TELPAS or another approved writing proficiency assessment for the reading requirement, what will be the proficiency standard? Usually only students in grades 1 or 2 fall into the non-TAKS/STAAR category.*

*TEA strongly discourages exiting kids in first or second grade.

Second: At the end of the year when all the test scores are in, determine whether or not the student has met his/her performance standards that were set forth when the ARD Committee and LPAC met last time. Remember though, when considering a student for exit, you’ve got to take into account the input from teachers who have worked with and know well the students. Subjective teacher evaluations are a required part of all exiting decisions and need to be included in the documentation as well. You might want to read my post, Teacher Input is Key in Exiting Decisions.

Third: If the student has met all the exiting requirements and everyone involved is in consensus about the rightness of exiting the student from the special language program, then…do it.  The LPAC completes whatever form the district typically uses to record the decision. Don’t forget to 1. inform the parent and get written approval form of the exit; and,  2. inform the PEIMS clerk on campus.

And of course, as will all things LPAC, ample documentation must on file evidencing the need to use special exit criteria and the fact that the LPAC and ARD met to 1. evaluate the student’s potential for exit, 2. determine if the student needed to be exited using special criteria, and3. set performance standards for exit, if necessary.

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