The U.S. Department of Education (USED) posted new guidance related to the ESSA requirements for English Learners (ELs) on its website yesterday (January 10, 2019). This guidance is essential as it provides clarity and puts explicitly into writing answers to some of the remaining questions surrounding the implementation of ESSA for educators.
This new guidance comes in the form of an addendum to the EL guidance issued in September 2016. The addendum states that it has two purposes:
- Assist SEAs [State Education Agencies] in establishing and implementing entrance and exit procedures
- Respond to the numerous questions the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) has received from SEAs regarding standardized statewide entrance and exit procedures for ELs, reporting and former ELs
There are 11 questions specific to the entrance and exit procedures, five about entrance and exit procedures generally and the remaining six are specific to exit procedures only. Two questions address issues relating to Title III reporting and one question regarding former ELs that updates an existing question in the September 2016 guidance (J-1) by adding a paragraph for further clarification.
Some critical highlights include:
- Question 4: Information about removing a student's EL designation if the student was erroneously identified as an EL
- Questions 6 and 9: Information regarding exiting ELs with disabilities from EL programs and services, including exiting an EL whose disability precludes his or her participation in one or more domain of the State English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment
- Question 11: Information concerning the inclusion of exit procedures in addition to the State's ELP assessment
- Question 12: Addresses whether pre-kindergarten EL students served by Title III should be included in the required Title III reports Local Education Agencies (LEAs - e.g., school districts) must submit to their State
While this document doesn't answer all the questions that still remain outstanding regarding the implementation of ESSA requirements for ELs, it does put into writing the answers needed by educators working with ELs.