Appropriate Referrals to Special Education: Avoiding Over Identification

A major challenge facing all districts is organizing an approach to assessment that properly identifies students in need of specialized services while supporting classroom teachers needing assistance teaching to a group of diverse learners in the general education classroom.. Too often referrals to special education are the result of teachers’ lack of confidence in their ability to differentiate instruction for all learners.

Organizing a systematic approach to assessment is critical to appropriate identification. Initial and subsequent evaluations should include a variety of assessments and evaluators need to update their skills to keep current. New evaluation tools, such as the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III require professional development. Reliance on outdated, “familiar” diagnostic testing tools that lack validity and reliability for the population served has resulted in placement in special education when these students’ profiles would change using updated norms. In addition, special educators are attempting to measure student progress over time with totally different instruments and as a result making inaccurate interpretations and placement decisions.

EPSI offers special education assessment training that will help districts the organize assessment process while helping special educators improve their assessment skills.

Special educators will learn how to translate test data into practical recommendations to write organized reports with recommendations that can be implemented in the special or general education classrooms.