Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Mahmoud Altalouli



The growing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States is a fast approaching educational shift that cannot be ignored. Because of this and many other factors that can affect a child’s education, schools need to be ready for the learners that are entering our schools. The unique experiences of an ELL can make it challenging to determine if they are truly making academic gains, or are learning disabled (LD). This is not an easy determination to make, and is one that should not be taken lightly. The misdiagnosis of ELL students can be life changing for the students that it affects. As educators it is our job to ensure that all students are provided any and all means necessary for them to be able to learn. How can educators ensure this when they are not given proper training, or are unaware of how these students acquire language? If students are not being given fair and equitable assessments to determine the delay in content mastery, how do we know that it is due to a learning disability or not? These are a few of the many emerging concerns that drive the research and supports that have been created in this project. The overall goal is to meet the needs of our diverse learners through being aware and culturally responsive.

Keywords: English Language Learner, Zone of Proximal Development, learning disability, language acquisition, misrepresentation, special education.