•  Identification:

    • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regulations require that all schools determine the language(s) spoken in each student’s home to identify their specific language needs. This information is essential for schools to provide meaningful instruction for all students and is gathered through the use of a Home Language Survey (HLS), which is a required part of the school registration packet.
    • Every newly enrolled student whose HLS indicates that a language other than English is spoken at home must be screened for English language proficiency.  Districts are required to use WIDA screening assessments. Currently, RPS uses the WIDA Screener Placement Test. The screening process is conducted on an individual basis, with the language proficiency test administered by a licensed, experienced EL educator who has been trained to use the screening assessments.
    • A student who is identified as an English learner (EL) after a language screening assessment must be placed in an EL program to address his/her limited English proficiency so that the student can be provided the opportunity to participate meaningfully and equally in the district’s educational program (603 CMR 14.04).


    • Once the results of the screening assessment are obtained, the EL staff and building-based administration will work together to determine the appropriate placement of the student in the school setting and the appropriate level of ESL support. In general, the student will be placed in the appropriate class for his or her chronological age.
    • DESE has established guidelines for the amount of English Language Development an EL student should receive based on his or her proficiency level. Parents will be informed promptly of final placement decisions through a Parent Notification letter. (These letters have been translated into our students’ home languages). A parent/guardian has the right to opt out of the EL program. We request that the parent meet with the EL Director to discuss the student’s placement and sign an official opt-out form at that time.
    • If a student has interrupted or limited education prior to enrolling in RPS, additional assessments may be given in the student’s native language to determine levels of literacy and mathematics knowledge/skills.

    Monitoring EL Progress:

    • Students remain in the EL program, receiving direct English language development (ELD) instruction and sheltered content instruction (SCI), until they demonstrate that they can do regular school work in English. Districts must annually assess EL’s language proficiency and academic achievement and consider other relevant data to determine whether students can perform ordinary classwork in English, and whether such students’ EL classification should be removed. 
    • Federal and state laws require that ELs be assessed annually to measure their proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English, as well as the progress they are making learning English. The scores produced by ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0 will identify which proficiency level an EL has achieved at the time of the assessment (mid-year) in each of the single domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing and the composite areas of literacy, oral language, and overall proficiency.
    • ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0 is based on the WIDA English Language Development standards and administered once annually each January. It is a standards-based, criterion-referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English learners' social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English used within the school context as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies across the four language domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).

    Exiting the EL program:

    • When an EL student’s language proficiency scores on the ACCESS assessment, along with academic achievement data, determine that students can perform ordinary classwork in English, EL students can be considered for reclassification.
    • Parents will be informed promptly when their child is being considered for exiting the EL program. They will be invited to meet with school administrators/teachers to ask questions and discuss the next steps in their child’s education.
    • Once a student demonstrates this ability, they are “reclassified” or “exited” from the EL program.  The district must then monitor the student for four years, to ensure that he/she continues to make effective academic progress.