English Learner Resources
For the last several decades, English learners (ELs) have been among the fastest-growing populations in our Nation’s schools. ELs comprise nearly 10 percent of the student population nationwide, and in many schools, local educational agencies (LEAs) and States, account for an even higher percentage of the student population. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), (herein referred to as the ESEA), strives to ensure that ELs and immigrant youth attain English language proficiency and meet the same academic standards as their peers. This webpage contains information about requirements related to ELs in the ESEA, and provides links to resources to support States in developing and implementing programs and services for ELs.
Please note that some of the resources listed are based on requirements related to English learners in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The ESEA was reauthorized by the ESSA on December 10, 2015. Changes to the requirements related to English learners under the reauthorized ESEA are not reflected in all of the resources posted. A notification will be published on this page when any updated resources are available.
If you require assistance accessing these resources (or do not see a resource responsive to your needs), please email email@example.com.
English Learners (EL) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) (June 14, 2021)
Guidance and Regulatory Information
While much of Title III, Part A of the ESEA remains the same as prior reauthorizations, several provisions related to ELs (e.g., accountability for performance on the English language proficiency assessment) are now part of Title I, Part A in the amended ESEA. The ESEA also contains several other changes under Title III, Part A, including new Title III reporting requirements. More information about requirements related to ELs in Title I and Title III is found below.
- Dear Colleague Letter from Deputy Secretary Marten Regarding Federal K-12 Resources to Support Resettled Afghan Students (January 14, 2022)
- Fact Sheet: Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- COVID-19 EL Fact Sheet
- Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III of the ESEA (September 23, 2016)
- Addendum to September 23, 2016 Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III of the ESEA (January 2, 2019)
- Presentation on Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III Program (October 5, 2016)
- Webinar Audio Recording (October 5, 2016)
The ESEA continues to require each State to administer, to all students who are identified as ELs, an annual English language proficiency (ELP) assessment that is aligned to ELP standards (ESEA Section 1111(b)(2)(G)). More information about the ELP assessment can be found in the final regulations at the link below. These regulations also contain provisions regarding the inclusion of ELs in academic content assessments. Additionally, the ESEA requires that ELP assessments for all ELs and alternate ELP assessments (AELPA) for ELs who are students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in grades K-12 be submitted for peer review (ESEA section 1111(a)(4)). More information about ELP assessment peer review is found below.
- Title I Regulations: 34 CFR Part 200
- Presentation: Assessment Regulations – Title I, Parts A and B (January 11, 2017)
- A State’s Guide to the Department of Education’s Assessment Peer Review Process (September 24, 2018)
- ELP Assessment Peer Review Cover Sheet and Index Submission Template (October 3, 2018)
The ESEA continues to require an LEA to provide for the equitable participation of eligible private school students, teachers and other educational personnel in private schools located in areas served by the LEA. More information about equitable services requirements is found below.
- Non-Regulatory Guidance: Fiscal Changes and Equitable Services Requirements Under the ESEA (November 21, 2016)
The ESEA substantially expands provisions related to assessment and accountability for recently arrived English learners. More information about accountability models for recently arrived English learners is found below.
Other Tools and Resources
The Office of School Support and Accountability (SSA) has developed a number of tools and resources that can be used by a State to support ELs. To view these resources and your State’s consolidated ESSA State plan, please use the links provided below.
- Consolidated State Plans
- Servings all students: With a Focus on English Learners and Children with Disabilities
- Accountability & Support for English Learners Convening (July 2018)
- Title III State Director Modules
- Guidebook on State Approaches to Incorporating English Learners Into Title I Accountability Systems
ELSTAR is a digital application dashboard to support state educational agency (SEA) leaders in making data-based decisions about English learner accountability. SEA staff can also use ELSTAR to support monitoring efforts, reflect on the validity and reliability of the English Language Proficiency (ELP) indicator, as well as prepare for technical assistance around the ELP indicator.
SSA works with multiple partner offices that administer programs, provide technical assistance and enforce education laws pertaining to ELs. Please find a list of our partner offices and some of the relevant resources they provide below.
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
- Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learners
- Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Students and Limited Proficient Parents (January 2015)
- Strategies and Considerations to Increase Student Diversity
Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)
- Newcomer Toolkit
- Literature Review of English Learner Accountability
- English Learner Toolkit
- Dual Language Education Programs: Current State Policies and Practices
- Our Nation’s English Learners: EL Characteristics
- Educational Experiences of English Learners
- Academic Performance and Outcomes for ELs
- National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition: State Data Profiles
Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
- NCES Descriptive Statistics on ELs
- What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide for ELs: Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School
- Regional Educational Laboratory Professional Learning Communities Facilitator’s Guide for the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide: Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School
Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE)
- Non-Regulatory Guidance: Title III, Part A English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Equitable Services to Private School Students, Teachers, and Other Educational Personnel
In addition to the resources provided above, other general grant guidance pertaining to administration of federal programs can be found here: