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Who are English language learners and how are they identified?
English language learners are a diverse population of students across the United States that come from all over the world. Students come from families that speak a language other than English at home or in some cases multiple languages.
The identification of English language learners begins with the completion of the school Home Language Survey (HLS) during school registration. Across the United States, Schools must identify potential English language learners during school registration by using a Home Language Survey as part of their new student registration.
Once a student registers and begins school, he/she is assessed for English language proficiency by an ESL educator. The test evaluates the level of English language proficiency of the child to determine in-school language instructional services and supports.
English language learners in the USA speak over 750 languages and come from all parts of the world. An interesting fact is that the majority of ELLs are born in the USA. ELLs are considered ELLs until they show mastery of language proficiency via a state-mandated language test. When a student transitions out of ESL services, he/she is regarded as a former ELL.
There are several terms that are often used to refer to English language learners. Below is a list of terms you might encounter:
- ELL = English language learners
- ESL = English as a Second Language student or services
- EL = English learner
- LEP = Limited English Proficiency student
- Multilingual learner
Is your child an ELL student? At what age was he/she identified?