Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Kathy Escamilla

Second Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Third Advisor

Alison Boardman

Fourth Advisor

Lucinda Soltero-Gonzalez

Fifth Advisor

Jamy Stillman


The issue of identifying, placing and educating struggling students who are developing two languages has been a topic of conversation among educators and researchers for decades. However, there are continue to be inconsistencies about how Emergent Bilingual (EB) students who struggle academically are instructed and assessed for special education needs. In this qualitative case study, I combined Critical Race Theory, a Holistic Bilingual Perspective and Disabilities Studies in Education in order to investigate the special education process at one Dual Language (Spanish/ English) school. I focused on a 5th Grade Literacy instruction and documented how the teachers implemented Response to Intervention (RTI), a three-tiered approach for providing different levels of instruction and monitoring student progress. I provide detailed examples of the strong instruction teachers provided in the first tier, which was the general education classroom, and the second tier, an interventionist setting. Results indicate that strong consistent instruction in these settings, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching, and collaboration amongst practitioners benefited EB students who struggled academically, and prevented what might have been inappropriate referrals to special education.