The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Teachers is an online resource supporting educators responsible for implementing programs for ELL students. It offers resources related to teaching ELL students based on Office for Civil Rights and the No Child Left Behind Act requirements.
This KnowledgeBase is currently being updated to reflect recent changes under federal law. The current version is provided for your reference as much of the information may still be relevant.
Purpose: Districts are required to take affirmative steps to address the language development of English language learners (ELLs) where the inability to speak and understand the English language prevents the students from effective participation in the district's regular education program. Element 1 addresses the legal requirements related to ELL students. Besides school leaders and staff members, these requirements must be understood by the entire school community.
Purpose: School districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but they should consider three general questions when making a decision.
The program chosen should be considered sound by experts in the field. If a district is using a different approach, it must show it is considered a legitimate experimental strategy.
Purpose: School districts have multiple obligations under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requirements. Under Title III, schools receiving such funds are to ensure timely and effective notification to parents of ELL students and extend a means for them to be involved with their child's education. The OCR requirements specify districts do so in a way that ensures meaningful access to ELL students and their parents. Accordingly, schools must develop effective methods of involving parents of ELL students in their child's education. In fulfilling these responsibilities, districts should develop procedures for providing the parents of ELL students with the same information provided to the parents of their non-ELL peers in a language-appropriate manner.
Purpose: A district should have procedures in place for identifying English language learner (ELL) students and assessing their English proficiency. Such procedures should involve parents in making the final determination of whether their child is placed in the district's ELL program. Parents deciding not to have their child or children participate must sign a participation waiver.
Purpose: As noted at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Aquisition (NCELA), "School districts are to provide alternative language instruction programs to children with limited English proficiency to help them develop their English language skills and meet the same state academic content and student achievement standards all students are expected to meet.
In doing so, school districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but should consider the following when developing their program.
Guideline: Before developing policies and procedures for evaluating English language learner programs, program administrators should familiarize themselves with the relevant OCR guidelines on program evaluation.
This document contains the program evaluation section from the OCR Region VII office's Profile, Assessment, and Resolution (PAR) Region pilot project. The brochure provides guidance on evaluation of the English language learner program.
This assessment guide is part of an OCR Region VII pilot program to encourage partnership approaches to civil rights compliance. It assists school districts to voluntarily comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding equal educational opportunities for national origin minority students who are English language learners. This section covers developing an evaluation plan for an alternative language program.
Alternate format: PDF
"The September 27, 1991 Memorandum is OCR's policy update on a school's obligations toward national origin minority students with limited English proficiency (LEP). This memo provides guidance on complying with the requirement to provide any alternative language programs necessary to ensure that national origin minority students with limited-English proficiency (LEP students) have meaningful access to the schools' programs."
This link is to a glossary of assessment terms identifies and defines the commonly used terminology associated with educational assessment. It provides school district staff members with a common understanding of assessment terminology.
This document from the OCR offers guidance on program evaluation as it relates to establishing programs for ELLs.
This document from the OCR offers guidance on program evaluation as it relates to key evaluation elements.
Purpose: A district should establish criteria to determine when English language learner (ELL) students qualify for exiting from the program. The exit criteria should be based on objective standards that ensure ELL students will be able to participate meaningfully and successfully in the district's regular education program.
Purpose: In fulfilling the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Office for Civil Rights, staff development must occur to ensure ELL students progress academically and be afforded equal educational opportunity. This includes professional learning in the following areas: