Amato & Baca (1989) note that throughout history bilingual education has shifted multiple times, from "nonbiased native-language assessments" to specific services directly related to a student's special needs and bilingual ability (168). Many consider the field of bilingual special education one that is emerging and growing. Baca & Cervantes (1989) note a need for a bilingual special education "interface" exists that incorporates training for special education students and teachers (168). Amato & Baca (1989) observe that certain teacher competencies are clearly necessary for bilingual special education teachers, competencies that must be more clearly defined. Neuman & Roskos (1997) and other researchers including Gonzalez-Bueno (2003) suggest promoting literacy among bilingual special education students should be a primary concern for educators. They suggest use of a bilingual alphabet will help facilitate this process.
Jackson-Maldonado (1999) suggests that multiple factors may impact bilingual special education student's ability to excel including student's socio-economic status and exposure to second language early on in their education (35).
Jackson-Maldonado (1999) also note that many of the assessment instruments used previously for Spanish-speaking children are based primarily on a population consisting of "English speaking, middle class children" whose exposure to resources and social groups or peers is often higher than that of bilingual special education students. There is ample evidence suggesting a greater need exists for evaluating the implications of testing modalities specifically designed for bilingual children (Jackson-Maldonado, 1999). The more information that researchers gather about bilingual children in varying settings and contexts the more likely researchers will be to appropriately identify the unique needs and challenges this population faces. The more information researchers begin to gather about the development of bilingual children in various contexts, the better capable researchers will be to "reinforce theoretical issues of language and cognition" to successfully assess children in a culturally specific manner (Jackson-Maldonado, 1999, p. 35).
The methods employed to direct this study will include observational analysis and study of special education teacher training programs combined with surveys of student outcomes. These surveys will come from a population of two separate educational entities with bilingual special education programs in place.
Theoretical Framework & Data Collection
Five bilingual tests have been carefully examined for their usefulness and efficacy in assessing bilingual education children. These according to Jackson-Maldonado (1999) include the BINL or Basic Inventory of Natural Language presented by Herbert in 1980; the Bahia Oral Language Test, the Language Assessment Battery and the Bilingual Syntax Measure I (35).
Medina study conducted in 1988 provides the foundation for this research, identifying 16 separate special education training programs within the U.S., whereas as a separate study conducted by the MUSEP suggest more than 30 programs exist including infusion programs (Amato & Baca, 1989).
Toronto (1973) and many other early researchers (Jackson-Maldonado (1999) provide the theoretical framework and paradigm for analysis for this study, suggesting that measures of student success and challenges should include observational techniques combined with experimental measures include analysis of individual learning preferences and differences among students, the effects of experimental measures including early intervention and identification of predictors of language development. Norms to be used for comparison in this study will include those provided by the IDHC, a publication presenting answers to common problems faced in bilingual educational settings (Jackson-Maldonado, 1999).
Data collection will come in the form of reports from parents, bilingual student's language samples and careful review of bilingual students' achievements as they participate in various educational programs.
The researcher will ask the question as to whether interaction with children and observation of children result in similar outcomes and data collection, as compared with experimental measures, which may include observation of teachers using specific tools including infusion programs to assess whether they result in similar data (Jackson-Maldonado, 1999).
Data collection will be gathered from educational facilities and parental reports generated electronically and delivered to parents by special education teachers with a complete explanation of the purpose of the study and expected outcomes. Data to be collected will include information on participant's socio-economic status and accesses to primary or second-language contacts are readily available for students in need.
Amato, C. & Baca, L. 1989. Bilingual Special Education: Training Issues. Exceptional Children, 56.2, 168.
Correa, V.I., Figueroa, R.A. & Fradd, S.H. 1989. Bilingual special education and this special issue. Exceptional Children, 56.2, 174+
Gonzalez-Bueno. 2003. Literacy activities for Spanish-English bilingual children. The Reading Teacher,…