Guidance on Determining English Learner Status

Students who are English learners (ELs) are considered former ELs when they reach an overall composite proficiency score of 4.5 on ACCESS for ELLs or level P2 on Alternate ACCESS. Former ELs are fully mainstreamed, no longer receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services, and are no longer administered ACCESS for ELLs/Alternate ACCESS each year.  

In the past, districts were required to closely monitor the performance of former ELs for a minimum of two years, per federal guidance, in order to ensure that they were able to succeed academically without ESOL services. If a former EL demonstrated a continued need for ESOL services, districts were required under civil rights law to provide such services, but students did not officially reenter EL status in the state student data system.  

Starting in school year 2019-2020, students who were formerly ELs may be eligible to officially re-enter EL status if they demonstrate a need for continued English language learning support. To determine if a former EL needs to be reentered into EL status, districts must have a clear protocol for monitoring during the two-year intensive monitoring period and beyond. To effectively monitor, all general education teachers must have an awareness of how language learning needs may manifest in the classroom, as well as an understanding of how non-linguistic factors may affect student performance. To assist districts in developing a strong monitoring protocol, the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition has produced Chapter 8 of the EL Tool Kit: Tools and Resources for Monitoring and Exiting English Learners from EL Programs and Services. It includes sample monitoring forms, information about digital monitoring systems, and a self-assessment. 

When a continued need for ESOL services is suspected, teachers should refer the student to the ESOL teacher/coordinator for rescreening. The student should be administered the WIDA Screener Online. When a former EL scores below an overall proficiency level of 4.5, the district must submit an online request to officially reenter the student into EL status in the state student data system. Note that students who were screened for EL status upon enrollment, but did not qualify at that time, may be rescreened at any time if a potential need for ESOL services becomes apparent. 

Essential Provisions and Services (EPS) funding for the next school year is based on the previous school year’s October 1 enrollment counts. Students who are reentered into EL status are eligible for an additional weighted EPS funding amount, like all other students who are ELs. 

If you have any questions about this notice or would like any assistance, please contact April Perkins at or (207)624-6627.