The Idaho English Learner (EL) Program and Title III assist school districts with federal and state requirements of English Language Learners (ELLs). We help districts create, implement, and maintain development programs that provide equal learning opportunities for ELLs. Our goal is to develop curricula and teaching strategies that embrace each learner’s unique identity to help break down barriers that prevent ELLs from succeeding in school.
Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in the Elementary and Middle School Grades
Recommendation 1: Academic Vocabulary
Recommendation 2: Oral and Written Language Integration
Recommendation 3: Written Language Skill Development
Recommendation 4: Small-group Intervention
Frequently Asked Questions
EL Data Reporting
The purpose of the Screened-Out (SO) code is to identify that this particular student has already had a language proficiency screener administered to them and scored at such a level that they are not an EL student. This is particularly important for students who are mobile and move between district/charters. Receiving schools can look up enrolling students in ELMS on the day they enroll, see they are coded SO, and immediately know this student has already taken a screener assessment from a sending school, thus saving themselves and the student the time it would take to administer another screener assessment.
Districts have 30 academic days to test a student upon enrollment. Depending on the time of year, districts have 30 days (if enrolled at the beginning of the school year) or 14 days (if enrolling after the beginning of the school year) to notify parents regarding the status or placement of their EL student in the LIEP. Districts should follow this same timeline for uploading their scores into the ELMS, either 30 or 14 days depending on time of enrollment.
This timeline may be condensed during the time of year when district/charters are also ordering testing materials or when needing to meet other assessment deadlines to ensure that all students who need to be coded as English Learners reflect an EL status prior to the deadline.
EL Exiting and Monitoring
The SDE has provided a document entitled “Past to Present Screen-Out and Exit Criteria” that outlines the screen out and exit criteria for each assessment by school year. It can be found on the in the Guidance section of the Title III webpage.
ELMS only displays historic IELA data back to the 2011-2012 school year but the data for calculating EL statuses included IELA scores dating back to the 2006-2007 school year. You can also check the student’s cumulative file for any historic Idaho English Language Assessments (IELA) that are not displayed in ELMS.
If you find exit documentation, regardless of being from a WIDA state or not, we will honor that the student met exit criteria. Submit an OTIS ticket with supporting documentation in the attachments. Include the following information:
Original EL entry date
All EL proficiency assessment documentation for any and all years the student was qualified
Original EL exit date
Exit form or letter
Any monitoring documentation
EL Identification and Screening
No, a Home Language Survey should be filled out once upon enrollment into the district/charter.
No, if there are circumstances where a student’s home language does change from English to any other language, then the district may choose to complete an addendum to the original HLS. Changes should be made on the original HLS with documented details and dates. For more information, see the section of this Mini-Manual on Identification Post Enrollment.
If at the end of the 30-day identification and placement period, staff still don’t know what to do, then err on the “to assess” side. All potential ELs must be screened for English language proficiency to determine whether they are in fact ELs. Students, who are truly not ELs and are truly bilingual, can and should, screen out of EL qualification.
No. A parent has the right to waive EL program support services but cannot remove a child from the program and EL designation completely. The student’s screening and identification was substantiated by initial Home Language Survey responses. The only exception would be in the case where there was an error on the student’s original EL and the student was erroneously identified as an HLS student.
EL Designation Removal was created for situations where the HLS indicated a language other than English that prompted a screener assessment for a student resulting in the student qualifying as an EL. Upon follow-up, district staff discover that the language other than English was written incorrectly and does not have a significant impact on the child’s ability to access content being delivered in English (e.g. it was a language the parents wanted the child to learn, it was the language spoken at the Aunt’s house, it was a language that is spoken in the child’s favorite television show). Erroneous Identification requests are submitted in ELMS and reviewed for approval/denial at the SDE.
At the time of enrollment, districts/charters should have an individual assess student’s registration paperwork for evidence of possibly being an immigrant (e.g., birth certificate from another country). If the registrar suspects that a child might be immigrant, they can/should have a conversation explaining the advantages for the district and their child if they are new arrivals to the United States, but also assure them that the conversation has nothing to do with their immigration status or citizenship. Nothing should be documented on the registration paperwork or in any student cumulative file paperwork, but a country of origin and a U.S. date of entry can be collected for being able to identify immigrant status for data collection purposes only (ISEE).
If the student is from another WIDA state and has either current WIDA Screener, ACCESS, MODEL, Alternate ACCESS, or W-APT scores in their cumulative file - Yes, a district may accept that student immediately as an EL and use the original screener and date of entry when the student first qualified for an EL program. Enter the original screener score and date into ELMS. ELMS will calculate the EL Status Code for the student. Also, enter any previous WIDA ACCESS scores into ELMS to build the EL assessment history for the student.
If the student comes from a state that is not a WIDA state - No, a district may not immediately accept that student into their district LIEP. The Idaho district/charter must administer the Kindergarten W-APT or WIDA Screener to determine whether the student qualifies as an EL based upon Idaho’s ELP standards, assessment, and criteria
EL Programs, Standards, and Staffing
Neither the State or Federal policy directly correlates services minutes to levels of language proficiency. District/Charters exercise local control by deciding their choice of LIEP that best serves the needs of their students and their staffing abilities. Decisions on which program models are implemented will impact the direct service time amounts. For example: District A implements an ELD program through pull-out services for 30 minutes per day, three days per week = 90 minutes of pull out ELD instruction/week. District B implements a Co-Teaching Model where an endorsed EL teacher and General Ed teacher provide all-day instruction. EL students in this classroom are receiving EL and academic content instruction simultaneously and therefore are receiving EL services every minute, of every day, of every week.
For all intents and purposes these terms are synonymous and used interchangeabl, but for ISAT assessments they have very different meanings:
ISAT “Designated Supports” – in ISAT terms, are either embed or non-embedded supports are available to students for whom a need has been identified (including limited English language proficiency) by school personnel familiar with each student needs and testing resources.
ISAT “Accommodations”- in ISAT terms, accommodations are only available to students with a documented need noted on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan.
Assessment support – a support to facilitate the student’s accessibility to taking the assessment. Must not void the construct being tested (e.g. read aloud testing directions, work-to-word bilingual dictionary).
Instructional support – a support used to facilitate the teaching and learning of a concept (e.g. bilingual dictionary with definitions, annotated notes, manipulatives, visuals).
There is no requirement that ELPs include parental signature(s). Parents should most certainly be involved in the creation of their child’s ELP and be fully aware of the educational services being provided for their student’s success
Language Program – This is the program choice of how the district educates their EL student(s).
Language Instruction – This is what the teachers are doing to implement the program the district has chosen.
Program Policy – These are the written rules the district/charter has adopted that guide them in ensuring that any EL enrolling in that district/charter would have access to language services immediately upon registering and qualifying as an English learner. Most often, these must approved by the local School Board and are typically published in Handbooks that are accessible to anyone who would need to know what the district/charter’s LIEP is.
English Learners in Statewide Assessments
No. Potential ELs must take a screener assessment (Kindergarten W-APT or WIDA Screener) to determine whether they qualify as an EL. Then, must also take the ACCESS 2.0 annual assessment.
If the student is brand new and never been qualified as an EL – A district has 30 days to determine whether a potential EL qualifies. If a district needs those days to administer the assessment and qualify the student, then the district can do that. That being said, if a district chooses not to administer the ACCESS in the short timeline, this delays the ability for the district to see growth in language proficiency. For example, if a student transfers in the last week of the ACCESS window during their Kindergarten year, then the districts will not be able to establish growth for this student until the spring of their 2nd grade year. Language growth can only be measured from an ACCESS test to and ACCESS test. Therefore, in the example, the student’s first time taking ACCESS wouldn’t be until their first grade year, and then growth would not be established until the second grad year.
If the student has already been qualified as an EL (as determined in ELMS or cumulative file review from a district in another WIDA state) – Yes, the student must take the ACCESS. Follow-up with the school where the student last attended as the student may have already completed a test there. If a student started an assessment but did not finish, the test session can be transferred to your district to have the student complete the assessment
Yes, but only if the IEP team were to determine that the child meets the alternate assessment eligibility criteria and that the child will participate in alternate assessments when they are in grades where academic achievement testing occurs.
Yes. ESSA requires that the LEAs still must assess all ELs using the annual English language proficiency assessment, including those students whose parents have waived services. All ELs enrolled in schools must be assessed annually using the State’s English language proficiency assessment (ACCESS 2.0). (ESEA Section 1111(b)(2)(G), emphasis added). State or district assessment policies, if they include a right to opt a child out of assessments, do not override or diminish the LEA's obligation to assess 100 percent of ELs using the annual English language proficiency assessment.
That being said, a student cannot be forced to physically sit for the test. Due diligence should be exercised and documented as needed to demonstrate the attempt to test.
Yes, but be cautious! Be sure that the student is truly proficient in Spanish and that either of these are appropriate. If the student is not literate in Spanish, then a test in Spanish may be less conclusive than a test administered in English. If you provide stacked translations for a non-literate Spanish student, you have just doubled the amount of text they had to read and determine meaning. Some options for Spanish embedded and non-embedded supports include:
An embedded English dictionary will be available for the full write portion of an ELA/literacy performance task. A non-embedded English dictionary may be available for the same portion of the test.
Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader.
Students can see test directions in another language.
Translation glossaries are provided for selected construct irrelevant terms for mathematics.
Stacked translations provide the full translation of each test item above the original item in English.
Printed text that appears on the computer screen as audio materials are presented.
Requesting Professional Development for District's Charters with English Learners