As response to intervention (RtI) is more widely implemented and standardized testing is more entrenched in schools, districts, and states, it is vital to correctly assess an English language learner's (ELL’s) academic difficulty and design an appropriate intervention. As integral members of the ECOS (Ensuring a Continuum of Services) Team, administrators can help educators implement the continuum of services framework laid out in this practitioner friendly resource. Built around the central question, “How can we tell if ELLs have special education needs?”, the framework uses extensive information collection and a strong collaborative model to offer suggested interventions. Some the interventions are specific to individual students while others are systemic and would improve the learning context for all ELLs.
Using the tools provided in this text, including checklists, evaluation forms, discussion questions, and open-ended worksheets, interventions can be devised that avoid invalid conclusions about ELLs’ academic performance and alleviate their academic challenges. The continuum of services created for these students can be integrated into an existing RtI system or the framework can be used to offer a new school- or district-wide support system for ELLs with academic difficulties.