First Advisor

John Beltramo


Heidi Barker


Regis College

Degree Name


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

89 pages


As more people immigrate to the United States, more students who speak languages other than English enter the U.S. school system, and since English language learners (ELLs) have unique strengths and challenges, they must be educated according to their needs. Unfortunately, many educators do not have the knowledge or training on how to effectively educate ELLs. ELLs may display lower achievement in academics because of ineffective accommodations in their education or because of the difficulties and demands of second language acquisition. Therefore, numerous ELLs are misidentified as students with learning disabilities and thus placed into special education. While special education may seem like a solution that tends to the needs of ELLs, placing students into the program may actually worsen the situation and neglect the students from receiving the education that they deserve. While various solutions have been offered as a means to eradicate the issue of misidentification, each set of solutions comes with its own advantages and shortcomings. Moreover, two solutions, education and awareness, stand above the rest. Education is the training of teachers and other educators so that they are able to fully tend to the educational needs of ELLs, and awareness consists of the general public’s understanding and knowledge of the issue of misidentification as a whole. Together education and awareness offer a real sense of hope for ending misidentification.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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