Limited English proficient students (LEP’s), sometimes known as English Language Learners (ELL’s) are becoming more and more visible in our schools. With the rigorous standards set forth by NCLB, it is of extreme importance that students with limited English proficiency are identified properly and placed accordingly to maximize their success and the success of the school. The following is the process by which ELL’s are identified, placed and served in New York State. The list of guidelines is put forth by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and must be adhered to by all schools in the state.
Step#1 – Identifying the child as limited English proficient
All registration paperwork for entering a school in New York State must include the Home Language Questionnaire. This form identifies whether or not another language is spoken in the home. If the “yes’ box is checked to indicate the use of a language other than English inside the home, then a trained expert should be called in to do an informal interview with the child. The expert is usually the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and he or she will speak with the child to determine if further investigation is warranted.
Step#2 – The Language Assessment Battery
If the ESL teacher determines that further testing is indeed warranted, the Language Assessment Battery, or LAB-R (for “revised”) will be administered. The LAB-R is an examination consisting of four parts to determine the level of overall English proficiency of the child. The four areas of the test include reading, writing, listening (or understanding of the spoken word), and speaking. The next step depends upon the results of the LAB-R.
Step#3 – Placement in an ESL Program
The scores on the LAB-R determine whether the child is a beginning, intermediate, advanced or proficient in the four modalities of English proficiency. The outcome of this classification determines the level of ESL instruction to be given the child, and is set forth as follows:
Grades Kindergarten – 8
Beginning and intermediate level students are required to be given two 42-minute instructional periods of ESL per day.
Advanced students are required to be given one 42-minute period of ESL per day and one period of English Language Arts (ELA) instruction per day.
Beginning students receive three periods of ESL instruction per day, intermediate students receive two periods, and advanced students receive one period each of ESL and ELA instruction.
Students deemed as proficient in English enter the general program of study.
The LAB-R is only administered once to the student upon entry into a New York State school. Parents may not opt their child out of an ESL program unless in the rare cases where an alternative bilingual education program is available in the school. In such cases, other regulations apply.
Exiting an ESL program can only be accomplished via another examination, the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test, or NYSESLAT. The NYSESLAT is administered yearly in the spring to all students classified as being limited English proficient, and follows the same four modalities as the LAB-R. Results of the NYSESLAT determine instructional services to be given to ELL students the following school year and follow the same guidelines as set forth above.
NYSED CR Pt. 154 – http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/biling/bilinged/NEWCRPT.154.html