What is the pre-referral process?
Page 2: Goals and Benefits of the Pre-Referral Process
Many variations of the pre-referral process are in use in schools today. Mr. Young hopes to stress the purpose of the version of the pre-referral process employed by Macy Middle School. To this end, he suggests that he and Ms. Delatorre explore the goals and benefits of the process.
Pre-referral uses a problem-solving team to help teachers find effective teaching strategies for use with students who exhibit academic or behavioral difficulties. Of course, the mere fact that a student displays such behavior does not necessarily mean that the student requires special education services. In some cases, supports for students can be put in place to improve their performance and subsequently prevent inappropriate referrals to special education. During those cases in which a referral is warranted, the pre-referral team contributes data to support later assessment and identification efforts. Besides helping to avoid inappropriate referrals, the pre-referral process boasts a number of benefits, among them that it:
- Provides a forum for teachers and other team members—including parents—to discuss how to meet students’ needs
- Empowers general education teachers with a variety of strategies to better serve diverse learners
- Prevents the overrepresentation of students from a particular group (e.g., English learners, students at risk due to poor teaching) in special education
- Improves communication between parents and the school by involving families in the process (e.g., parents offer information, participate in intervention development, become members of the team)