Language learning disabilities among Hispanic students: A statistical search for discriminants
Arrigo, H. Roberta
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This exploratory study attempted to identify test behaviors that might differentiate LEP Hispanic students placed in special education classes for students with language learning disorders, from other groups of students similarly diagnosed and placed. The study contained two hypothesis. The first stated that a linear combination of scores on an assessment battery existed that would significantly discriminate between (1) LEP and non-LEP Hispanic students and (2) LEP and non-Hispanic non-LEP students classified as learning disabled, but not between (3) the non-LEP Hispanic students and non-Hispanic English proficient students classified as learning disabled. The second stated that the most significant contributor to the above linear combination would be a measure of language proficiency.;Data was gathered on one hundred and fifty students divided into three groups: Hispanic students with limited proficiency in English (Group 1), Hispanic students proficient in English (Group 2), and non-Hispanic students who are proficient in English (Group 3). The data was analyzed through the application of Discriminant Analysis. The results of the study indicated that it was possible to identify a linear relationship among test scores that would discriminate between three groups of students. Another finding of the study was that language variables appeared to be significant discriminants between groups.;It was suggested that scholars in the field of Learning Disabilities needed to recognize that the definition of learning disabilities as currently constructed places every student whose proficiency in English is limited at risk of being inappropriately identified as language learning disabled the caveats in P.L. 94-142 notwithstanding.