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Moving Through and Exiting ESL
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Moving Through and Exiting ESL
Moving Through and Exiting ESL

English Language Development, WIDA Levels and the Goal of ESL Support.  A chief goal of ESL support is to help English Learners achieve the high levels of Academic English Proficiency needed to succeed with career and educational goals. The WIDA English Language Proficiency levels offer one measure of this Proficiency.   The following tables set forth the basic criteria for each WIDA Level.

Grade-Level, Proficiency-based Learning Supports. The MPS Multilingual Department Programming Framework sets forth basic expectations for the form and amount of support each English Learner will receive.  

Schools may modify this basic framework based on student and building needs. The ESL teacher can provide more details about the specifics of any student's ESL supports.

Moving Through and Exiting ESL Services

To ensure that students are receiving the appropriate ESL supports for both Language Development and academic achievement, all English Learners' progress and need for services will be reviewed by a school-based team (that includes classroom teachers and ESL teachers) throughout the year.

In order to ensure that all English Learners in MPS are making adequate progress in acquiring academic English and increasing English language proficiency, the school district uses resources developed by WIDA:  

  • ACCESS for ELs:  Students identified as EL are assessed annually in the four domains of reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Based on the results of this assessment, students receive an English proficiency level which determines level of service at their school.  Students who receive an English proficiency level of 5.5 or higher (5.9 in grades K and 1) are considered for exiting EL services.
  • Alternate ACCESS for ELs:  This English language proficiency test given annually to students in grades 1-12 who have been identified as ELs and have significant cognitive disabilities that limit their participation in the standard ACCESS test. Students are assessed in the four language domains of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The ACCESS test is only administered during the annual test window for the state of Minnesota. Based on the results of this assessment, the student will be assigned an English proficiency level. That level will be used to determine what EL Support services the student will receive at his/her school.
  • W-APT:  This English proficiency placement test is given to incoming students who have a home language other than English. This test is meant to assist with identification and placement of ELs. If the results of this placement test assign an English proficiency level of 1-5, that level will be used to recommend students to a school with ESL teachers and determine level of service.   The W-APT can also be used if a student has not been initially identified but begins to raise language/academic concerns.

At the end of each school year, ESL teachers evaluate all spring standardized testing data as it becomes available to determine each EL’s eligibility for ongoing ESL support.  When a student meets a majority of the Exit Criteria with an emphasis on standardized scores, they will be reclassified in late spring for the next school year and will no longer receive ESL supports. These same Exit Criteria are used to determine reclassification of Dual Eligible (Special Education) students.

This review can result in a number of adjustments to the student's ESL status.




Possible Results

1. Exiting

Late May (after the ACCESS test scores have arrived)

Based on performance on the WIDA ACCESS, State Reading exams, and other data, a student might be exited or “graduate” from ESL services.

Exit or remaining in ESL

2. Waiver Review

1ST semester

For students who have refused recommended ESL services, a school-based team reviews WIDA scores and other indicators of language and academic development.

Recommendation to students and parents to either remain with current plan or to accept ESL services.

3. Exit Review

2nd quarter

For two years following formal exiting from ESL, a school-based team will review indicators of academic success for each exited student.

Recommendation to the students and parents to continue Exited Status or to re-activate ESL status.

4. Change of Status

No set time (used as needed)

If teachers, parents or students agree that the student can be served in some other ESL status, a “school-based” request for Change of ESL Status can be filed.

Change of ESL status (as agreed upon by student, parents, and teachers).

If a student who has not been initially identified as meeting the entrance criteria for ESL services begins to demonstrate language/academic concerns, the EL team will do a combination of the following to determine if language is the primary concern: administer the W-APT to determine language proficiency (if it hasn’t been done prior); re-evaluate all assessment data and review updated data; make a classroom observation and interview the student’s classroom and content teacher(s); consult with parents.

If the student meets a majority of the entrance criteria with an emphasis on standardized test scores (Level 1-5 on the WAPT; below 40th percentile on MAP Reading), the EL staff will enroll the student in the ESL program, assuming the parents agree to ESL services.