Leer en: Español (Spanish)
Many parents wonder how schools identify kids as English language learners (ELLs). I find myself regularly explaining why a child was identified as an ELL student. Most parents don’t realize how the identification of an English language learner begins. The completion of a school registration Home Language Survey (HLS) Form during a new student registration provides valuable information to schools.
All schools must administer a Home Language Survey Form with all families, including native English speaking families. When a parent answers the questions on the Home Language Survey Form, schools share the information with the English language department to initiate a possible identification.
Once the English language department reviews the HLS, certain protocols are followed to determine if testing is necessary. A school has 25 from registration to complete the identification.
What’s in a home language survey?
Most home language surveys contain similar questions inquiring about the languages spoken at home. Some of the questions shown in a school registration home language survey may be:
- What is the primary language in the home, regardless of the language spoken by the student?
- What language is most often spoken by the student?
- Which language (s) did the student first acquired?
When one or more of the above questions notes another language in the home a potential identification may occur. If the department determines that they must proceed a teacher administers English language assessment. The assessment assesses for English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
The English language assessment determines whether a student is eligible to receive English language support or services. In most states, a score of 4.9 or below qualifies a student as an English language learner. A score of 5 or above determines that a student does not need English language services.
Can a parent stop a school from testing a child for ESL Services?
A parent has the right to decline English language development services at any time but can not impede the administration of an entrance exam or the annual language assessment. The language assessment is a requirement by the Federal Government to ensure that students in need of English language instruction receive the language instruction they require.
For this reason, schools do not need parent permission to assess a possible English Language Learner student. A school must administer and offer necessary language development services to all eligible students.
Once the school identifies a student as an English Language Learner the school will begin providing language development services. The quality and quantity of English language development services depend on the language instruction model offered in the school.