Frequently Asked Questions About EL Students and Services

  • What does EL mean?

    EL is an acronym used by the U.S. Department of Education. It means English Learner. ELs were formerly known as Limited English Proficient (LEP) students.

    How is a student classified as an EL?

    Each student who completes a Home Language Survey (HLS) and indicates the presence of a language other than English may take the WIDA Screener assessment at the International Welcome Center. A score below a 5.0 in any of the areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing qualifies for EL classification.

    How many ELs are enrolled in our district?

    There were approximately 1,450 ELs enrolled in CHCCS during the 2019-2020 school year.

    How many languages do we have in the CHCCS district?

    During the 2019-2020 school year, we identified approximately 70 different languages in our school district.

    What are the W-APT, WIDA Screener and WIDA ACCESS 2.0 assessments?

    The W-APT and WIDA Screener are state-designated English proficiency assessments, which determine ELL identification and eligibility of service. The WIDA ACCESS 2.0 is the state-designated English proficiency assessment that EL students take annually.

    Which students must complete a Home Language Survey?

    Every student in a North Carolina district must complete a Home Language Survey, as per North Carolina Board of Education policy.

    Do all students need to do a new Home Language Survey each year?

    No. A student does a Home Language Survey (HLS) one time upon initial enrollment into the school system. If a child completes a HLS in another district, then the original HLS should match the HLS they complete in CHCCS. Please contact the International Welcome Center if there are questions or discrepancies.

    What does ESL mean?

    ESL or English as a Second Language is the service that we offer to ELL students to help them develop their English language skills.

    How do I know if an EL student needs ESL services?

    At the International Welcome Center, the W-APT or WIDA Screener assessments will tell us if a student meets the state's EL identification criteria. We offer all K - 12th grade EL students the option of receiving ESL services.

    Are ESL services offered at each school?

    Yes. Please refer to the district’s Language Instruction Educational Plan (LIEP) for a description of ESL services available at each school.

    Why do we offer EL students ESL services?

    Under the Supreme Court ruling Lau v. Nichols 1974, school districts are required to offer EL students services that help them participate meaningfully.

    Do we have services for newcomer students?

    Yes. A newcomer program is available for students in grades 3-12. Services are optional and are offered to students who meet the specific newcomer criteria.

    Do ELL students receive EL testing accommodations?

    Depending on an ELL student’s W-APT, WIDA Screener, or ACCESS scores, an ELL student may be eligible for EL testing accommodations.

    If an ELL student receives services in a manner other than pull out (push-in, co-teaching, sheltered etc), can he/she still receive accommodations?

    Eligibility for receiving accommodations is available to all ELs whose ACCESS scores meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of service delivery.

    When can an EL student use EL testing accommodations?

    An eligible EL student can use EL testing accommodations on any state content assessment.

    Can an EL student use EL testing accommodations on the ACCESS English language proficiency assessment?

    No. An EL student cannot use EL testing accommodations on the ACCESS English language proficiency test.*

    *The exception would be if the student has an IEP that specifically states that he/she can use accommodations on the ACCESS because of exceptionality.

    How do we decide what EL testing accommodations an ELL student might need?

    ESL teachers in each school meet with other collaborating teachers to determine appropiate testing accommodations.

    What happens when an EL student exits EL status? What if they are still struggling academically?

    Under Title III, school staff must monitor former EL students for four additional years after they exit EL status. If the EL teacher and other content teachers feel that an exited student is experiencing significant challenges due to language proficiency, it is possible to recommend reclassification.

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