English Language Learning
Access and Identification
How do you know if a student enrolling in your district is Limited English Proficient (LEP) (also called an English Language Learner (ELL)) and is eligible for language support services?
Follow these steps:
- Administer a Home Language Survey to ALL students (Preschool - Grade 12) newly registering in your district. Sample Home Language Surveys are available on the ISBE website in English and forty other languages.
- Assess the English language proficiency of all students whose parents answered "yes" to one or both of the Home Language Survey questions, "Is a language other than English spoken in the home?' and "Does the student speak a language other than English?"
- If the student is identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP), provide services as required based on the individual student's needs.
- Annually report identified LEP students on the Student Information System (SIS).
- 2014-2015 ACCESS for ELLs Test Administration Manual (Training account log-in required)
- 2014-2015 Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Test Administration Manual (Training account log-in required)
- 2014-2015 Testing Schedule and Order Dates (Updated 10/15/14)
- 2014-2015 Application for Modified Testing Dates
- 2014-2015 Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Participation Guidance
An annual English Language Proficiency test is required under No Child Left Behind legislation passed in 2001. NCLB indicates that all K-12 English language learners must be assessed annually for English proficiency growth (Title III) and academic progress (Title I). School districts receiving Title III grant resources will be held accountable under the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) provision of NCLB. In addition, the Illinois Administrative Code, Part 228, Section 228.15(e) and 228.25(c) outlines detailed information regarding the English language proficiency required in Illinois.
ACCESS for ELLs® is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English language learners' social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. The secure full-scale ACCESS for ELLs® assessment will be distributed at no cost to public schools.
The W-APT™ is modeled after the ACCESS for ELLs®, but their purposes differ in important ways. The W-APT™ is a screening instrument designed to assess English language proficiency primarily to determine eligibility for and placement within an ELL program. The ACCESS for ELLs® is an annual assessment designed to assess student progress in achieving English language proficiency. For more information on how these two tests differ visit: http://www.wida.us/assessment/comparing.aspx.
All public school districts are required to assess annually all identified English Language Learners (ELLs)/Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in grades K-12 using the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment until the students test as English language proficient. This includes all identified students whose parents have refused language support services. All LEP students must be tested until they achieve the state prescribed minimum score to be considered English language proficient.
5. What proficiency level score does a student have to obtain to be considered English language proficient?
As of January 1, 2014, students who obtain an overall composite proficiency level of 5.0 as well as a reading proficiency level of 4.2 and a writing proficiency level of 4.2 on the annually administered state approved English language proficiency test, ACCESS for ELLs®, are to be considered English language proficient.
Districts with additional questions regarding the determination of English language proficiency are encouraged to call the Division of English Language Learning at 312-814-3850.
The Local Educational Agency (LEA) is required to consult with private schools regarding Title III, Part A specifically to determine how their ELL/LEP students will be identified and served. The LEA is responsible for assessing the English language proficiency of private school students and may be able to use Title III Part A funds to pay for initial LEP assessments for these students. (Please note: funds cannot supplant other federal, state and/or local funds.)
Private schools are NOT required to use ACCESS for ELLs® as recipients of Federal Title III program services. However, private schools seeking Title III program services, through their Local Educational Agency (LEA), must demonstrate that the English language proficiency of all students they report to their LEAs is assessed annually and that each student is limited English proficient. Private schools can accomplish this by using the WIDA ACCESS™ Placement Test (W-APT™ Screener)* available free of charge at this website. Private school staff administering the screener must be trained to administer and score the W-APT™.
The secure ACCESS for ELLs® is also currently available for private schools within the WIDA Consortium member states. Only private schools that agree to abide by confidentiality policies and security will be granted permission to order booklets at their own expense directly from MetriTech. Private schools interested in ordering materials should call Tim Boals at 608-267-1290.
- PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, 3rd edition (p. 44-48 about Accommodations for ELs)
- ISAT Resources for ELLs
- PSAE Resources for ELLs