School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Kathy Keafer


Georgia Milestones, English Language Learners, home language, special education, dually served learners


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The number of students classified as English language learners enrolled in schools in the United States continues to multiply yearly. An increasing number of these students also qualify for special education services. Students in either group have underperformed compared with their general education peers for years, and the basic academic proficiency levels of these students are concerning when either language proficiency or disability is considered separately. However, when a lack of language of proficiency is compounded with a disability, academic proficiency levels become even more concerning. While student language proficiency and disability are well-researched in terms of academic performance, the language students are exposed to at home has not been given adequate consideration. The purpose of this causal comparative study was to examine the relationship between parents’ preferred language of communication and the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade (GMAS EOG) English language arts and mathematics proficiency levels of students served in both English language learner and special education programs. The study employed archived data from the 2018–2019 school year from a convenience sample of 110 third- through eighth-grade students dually served in English language learner and special education programs (55 whose parents preferred communication in English and 55 whose parents preferred communication in a language other than English). Two independent samples t tests were used to determine if there was a difference in the GMAS EOG scores for the two groups. There was not a difference in the English language arts scores between the two groups and there was not a difference in the mathematics scores between the two groups.