Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-31-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Judith Galician, EdD

Committee Member

Shery Bennett, EdD

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham, PsyD


ELL, Special Education, MTSS, RTI, CSE, MLL


This qualitative study aimed to understand teacher experiences working with English language learners (ELL) with or suspected of having a learning disability. This study also addressed the current problem of ELL students concurrently being under and over classified as needing special education services. This study explored the experiences of elementary school teachers in the state of New York. The participants were from different school districts within New York State. The participants all had experience teaching students who were designated ELL who were currently in the process of response to intervention (RTI) or had already been referred and classified as having English as a second language and special education needs. This study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) when analyzing the data as the importance of a person’s life experience was the focus of this approach. Data was collected using Zoom's telecommunication platform for face-to-face, virtual interviews. This data yielded results that described the experiences these teachers have with identifying ELL students that demonstrate the need for special education.