Currently, states and local school districts determine their approach to identifying and classifying students as English learners (ELs). But with 45 states signing onto the Common Core State Standards, there is a need to move toward “a common definition of English Learner.” In August, the Council of Chief State School Officers released recommendations to move towards uniformity. Their guidance addresses four areas:
- Identification of potential ELs through Home Language Surveys
- Establishing initial EL classification (confirm or disconfirm a student as an EL)
- Defining the “English proficient” performance standard (performance level definitions such as Beginning, Expanding, Intermediate, and Advanced)
- Reclassifying ELs and determining exit criteria
The organizing framework will establish common ground amongst states and support this growing population of students.