English Language Learners
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act focuses on comprehensive, integrated educational systems regarding English Language Learners (ELLS) based on aligned standards, curricula, instructional strategies, assessments, and scientifically based research. NCLB requires annual measuring of the English proficiency of limited English proficient students in order to evaluate the progress of students attaining English proficiency, including a child’s level of comprehension, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in English.
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a state-funded instructional program for eligible English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12. ESOL is designed to meet the diverse needs of English language learners (ELLs) who come from home environments in which the native language is other than English. The goal of our ESOL Program is to ensure that students of limited English proficiency, receive comparable and comprehensible instruction.
Pursuant to the Consent Decree (which addresses the civil rights of ELL students, foremost among those their right to equal access to all education programs) the school/district is required to convene an ELL committee. The main function of an ELL committee is to resolve any issue that affects the instructional program of an ELL student. The committee must make the following decisions:
- Initial placement of student in K-2 who scored as fluent English speaking on an aural/oral assessment, but progress in conventional class is viewed as insufficient
- Reclassification of former ELLs
- Placement decisions for students in grades 3-12 scoring fluent English speaking on oral/aural and are at or below the 32nd percentile on reading and writing assessment
- Review of instructional programs or progress (after one semester)
- Review of instructional program of LF students during 2-year post-reclassification period with consistent pattern of academic underperformance
- Consideration of exiting a student who scored as fluent English speaking on aural/oral assessment, but at or below the 32nd percentile on reading and writing assessment
- Referring an LF student being considered for reclassification to appropriate compensatory, special and supportive services, evaluations, and programs, if necessary
- Referring an LY student being considered for extension of services to appropriate compensatory, special and supportive services, evaluations, and programs, if necessary.
Below are excerpts from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) rules and legislation section regarding ELLs:
6A-6.0902 Requirements for Identification, Eligibility, and Programmatic Assessments of English Language Learners
1. Any student in grades K through 12 who scores within the limited English proficient range as determined by the publisher’s standards on a Department of Education approved aural and oral language proficiency test or scores below the English proficient level on a Department of Education approved assessment in listening and speaking, shall be classified as an English Language Learner and shall be provided appropriate services. Assessment of each student’s aural and oral proficiency or listening and speaking should be completed as soon as possible after the student’s initial enrollment but not later than twenty (20) school days after the student’s enrollment unless documented in the following manner:
6A-6.0904 Equal Access to Appropriate Instruction for English Language Learners.
(1) Each English Language Learner shall be enrolled in programming appropriate for his or her level of English proficiency and academic potential. Appropriate programming includes enrollment in programs other than ESOL funded programs as provided in Rule 6A-6.0908, F.A.C. Such programs shall seek to develop each student’s English language proficiency and academic potential.
(a) English Language Learners shall have equal access to appropriate programs which shall include state funded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction and instruction in basic subject areas which are understandable to English Language Learners and equal and comparable in amount, scope, sequence and quality to that provided to English proficient students. Instructional services shall be documented in the form of an English Language Learner Student Plan.
(b) English Language Learners with special needs and in need of additional services shall be provided equal and comparable services to those provided to English proficient students on a timely basis and appropriate to their level of English proficiency.
(c) English Language Learners who, by the end of grade 12 fail to meet the 10th grade statewide assessment, shall be provided appropriate programming as specified in Rule 6A-6.0909, F.A.C.
(d) English Language Learners shall be given credit toward fulfilling graduation requirements in English for each basic ESOL course completed satisfactorily. Credit shall be given toward fulfilling graduation requirements for each basic subject area course completed satisfactorily through ESOL or home language.
6A-6.09091 Accommodations of the Statewide Assessment Program Instruments and Procedures for English Language Learners.
(1) The Department of Education shall provide accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs) to enable them to fully participate in the statewide standardized assessment program as defined in Section 1008.22, F.S.
(2) Each school board shall utilize appropriate and allowable accommodations for statewide standardized assessments within the limits prescribed herein. Accommodations are defined as adjustments to settings for administration of statewide standardized assessments, adjustments to scheduling for the administration of statewide standardized assessments to include amount of time for administration, assistance in heritage language during the administration of statewide standardized assessments, and the use of an approved translation dictionary to facilitate the student’s participation in statewide standardized assessments. Accommodations that negate the validity of statewide standardized assessments are not allowable.
Accommodations shall include:
(a) Flexible Setting. ELLs may be offered the opportunity to be tested in a separate room with the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or heritage language teacher serving as test administrator. Parents must be informed of this option for students not of legal age and shall be given the opportunity to select the preferred method of test administration.
(b) Flexible Scheduling. ELLs may take a test session during several brief periods within one (1) school day; however, each test session must be completed within one (1) school day. ELLs may be provided additional time to complete a test session; however, each test session must be completed within one (1) school day.
(c) Assistance in the Heritage Language. ELLs may be provided limited assistance by an ESOL or heritage language teacher using the student’s heritage language for directions, prompts, items, and answer choices. This should not be interpreted as permission to provide oral presentation of prompts, items, and answer choices in English or in the student’s heritage language. Assistance may not be provided for passages in Reading and Writing.
Additional information regarding the rules and legislation pertaining to ELLs can be found at http://www.fldoe.org/academics/eng-language-learners/rules-legislation.stml