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English Learner Identification Criteria & Procedures
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English Learner Identification Criteria & Procedures
English Learner Identification Criteria & Procedures


English Learner Identification Criteria and Procedures (See also "Moving Through and Exiting ESL")

Initial Identification: There are several steps to determining whether or not a student is eligible for English Learner services.

1.  MN Language Survey: All students registering in Minneapolis Public Schools answer the MN Language Survey (previously known as the Home Language Survey) located on the registration form. The Language Survey asks parents to report;

  • Language(s) the student first learned
  • Language(s) the student speaks
  • Language(s) the student understands
  • Language(s) the student has consistent interaction in

2. If the answer to any of these questions is a language other than English, the student must be assessed for English Language Proficiency. This is generally done at the New Family Center at the time of registration, but if not, the evaluation will be administered at the student's school as soon as possible. New students are assessed with either the K-WAPT (for Kindergarten students) or the WIDA Screener (for students in grades 1-12). If a student enters with a recent ACCESS score from another district, this score is used instead to determine eligibility. If the results of this placement test show that the student is not yet proficient in the English language and is eligible for English Learner (EL) services, that level will be used to determine the appropriate level of EL service at the student’s school. School staff will also evaluate data such as evidence of past participation in EL programs, MCA/MAP assessment data, and classroom performance to determine an appropriate level of service.

3.  If a student meets the entrance criteria for the EL program, parents have the option of either accepting or refusing (waiving) EL services. If parents accept EL services, school staff will be tasked with scheduling appropriate school-based EL supports for the student and they will be placed into appropriate programming. If students exceed the entrance criteria (i.e. are proficienct in English), then they will be designated as 'Ineligible' for EL services.

Waiving Services: Parents who wish to waive EL services for eligible students who meet the entrance criteria may do so my contacting the ESL team at the student's school and completing a Waiver request form which will be provided to them by the ESL team. ESL staff will communicate with families that EL Support for Academic Language Development is essential to a student’s success in school. ESL staff will recommend that services should be waived only in cases where academic achievement levels (test scores) clearly suggest that the student can succeed without ESL classes.

Ongoing Identification:

All students eligible for EL services (including students whose parents have chosen to waive services) will have their English language proficiency assessed annually with the ACCESS assessment. At the end of each school year, ESL staff will evaluate ACCESS scores to determine each student's eligibility for ongoing EL support. When a student meets the exit criteria (See Entrance/Exit Criteria), they will be reclassified in late Spring for the next school year and will no longer receive EL services.

If a student who has not been initially identified as an English Learner begins to demonstrate language/academic concerns, parents may request that the student be re-assessed to determine if the student is now eligible for EL services. If the student then meets the entrance criteria, school ESL staff will enroll the student in an EL program (assuming the parents agree to EL services).