English Language Learner Q & A
How are students identified as English Language Learners (ELL)?
Every newly enrolled student whose Home Language Survey indicates that a language other than English is spoken at home must be screened for English language proficiency.
- Students are given a language proficiency test when the answer to any question on the Home Language Survey is a language other than English unless they were previously identified by another district as meeting the identification requirements.
- Students who have already been in an ELE program and reclassified in a different district do not need to be screened again for English language proficiency.
- Similarly if a newly enrolled student transferred from another district within Massachusetts or from another WIDA state, it is possible that he or she participated in the annual language proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0). If so, and if the district is able to obtain ACCESS results of the test that was administered within the last calendar year, 8 instead of retesting the student, district staff can use ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0 results in the student’s records to determine his or her English language proficiency.
What English Language proficiency screen tool is used in the identification process?
Grafton uses the WIDA Screener/WAPT screening tool as required by the state of Massachusetts.
How do I know if my child qualifies for English Language services?
At the start of each school year, or within 30 days of starting school, parents are notified by mail if their child will receive English Language services by a certified ELL teacher. This letter informs the parent of the amount of time the student will receive services and in what format.
How is the amount of service time determined?
Based on observations of the students, ACCESS scores, classroom performance, consultation with previous classroom teacher and building administrator, academic demands of the grade level and guidelines for service time as suggested by DESE:
If the student is placed in a language rich environment, the ELL staff may choose to monitor the student’s progress through consult with the teacher and observation of the student
Service time is determined by the level of proficiency as determined by previous ACCESS testing or the screening tool
Levels 1-2 → 90-135 minutes
Level 3 → 45- 90 minutes
Levels 4-5 → 45 minutes
What does service delivery look like?
While each grade level is unique, in general, when a student is pulled from the general classroom for ELL services, the student is engaged in lessons that involve the four domains: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Lessons are based on the Can Do Descriptors as defined by WIDA, the national organization for English Learner education. The Can Do descriptors outline benchmarks according to the student’s English Language proficiency and grade level.
What is my child doing when he/she is working with the ELL teacher?
The ELL teacher is working on developing English proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
How is progress in the ELL program communicated with parents/guardians?
The ESL teachers at the elementary level send an ELL Progress Report home three times per year with the student report card. The progress report is based on the Can Do Descriptors and
shows the parent/guardian which skills the student is working on in that moment in time.
How long does it take for a student to be considered proficient in English?
It is important to note that it could take 5-7 years before a student is proficient in English. Every child is at a different place when they begin their journey. It is important to meet the child where they are at and build from there.
Language Acquisition: An Overview
How is a student exited from ELL services?
Students who score at least an overall score of 4.2 and a composite literacy score of 3.9 on ACCESS may have acquired enough English language skills to be considered English proficient. However, other factors must be considered including MCAS scores, district benchmarking, and classroom performance. Complex and varied language demands on ELs in late elementary, middle, and high school may necessitate the decision to maintain the EL classification of some students while exiting others.
What happens when a student is exited from the ELL program?
Students who have been exited from the ELL program are monitored by the ELL staff for four years to ensure academic progress.
What if I do not want my child to receive ESL services?
An opt out form is required if you do not want your child to receive ESL services.