How are ELLs identified?


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Participants will be able to identify the people, tests, and steps in the ELL identification process.

Participants will be able to determine when and why to implement a component of the ELL identification process.

✏️ Pre assessment

Write the answers to the following questions on paper or on a digital document. Be as detailed as possible in your answers.

1) How are English Language Learners identified in New York State?

2) Who is responsible for determining whether students should take part in the identification process?

Key terms

Home Language Questionnaire: a sheet completed during the student enrollment process that includes the student's primary and/or secondary language and any prior services he or she may have received in their pervious school

Student Interview: an interview conducted 1:1 between a qualified staff member, where the student must answer some questions

NYSITELL: the English proficiency test that a student takes one time, when they are initially suspected of needing ENL services

📄 Mini-Lecture

Here is a visual representation of the identification process for ELLs. The green boxes highlight the steps taken after each critical decision.

During the enrollment process, families must fill out the home language questionnaire (HLQ). This sheet has written translations in multiple languages, which can be retrieved from the NYS education site. If there is no written translation or it is not applicable for any other reason, a translator must be provided. As a brief explanation, the HLQ serves as a means to learn about student past education, prior services, and languages the student may speak, among other pertinent information. Please skim pages 2-7 in the following document to understand the format and purpose of the HLQ

Within the HLQ, if students are not documented as having English as their primary language, then qualified personnel will conduct a student interview. The teacher will sit with the student and ask a series of questions in English, documenting student responses in English. Then, using a translator, the teacher will ask these questions in the student's other language, and again document responses, as provided by the interpreter. The purpose of this interview process is to determine student's proficiency in English, as well as in a language other than English. Recognizing proficiency in the language other than English serves as a tool for identifying student general language abilities (above grade level expectations, on grade level or below). Sample questions for staff to use during these interviews are presented on pages 13-16 of the previous document: NYSed guidance

If the student is deemed as having provided answers that are not meeting grade level expectations for language competency, then the NYSITELL will be administered. For more information on how to determine language competency, refer to pages 17-18 in the document referenced prior: NYSed guidance Qualified personnel, most likely administrators or the ENL teacher will request both the NYSITELL booklets (both the student booklet and the administration booklet), as well as make a request for an answer sheet through NERIC.

The suspected ELL will be taken out of class to be administered the NYSITELL with a qualified staff member. The test is broken into 4 sections: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Speaking can be administered on a separate day, but the other sections will be completed consecutively. The tester can score all responses and fill out the answer sheet. The sheet will then need to be mailed or brought in person to the NERIC testing center. Once the score is received, student services can be determined.

👨🏾‍💻 Additional Resource

If you would like to supplement the information provide above, the following video explains the process more in depth. Watch until 6:20 for a complete overview.

ELL Identification Webinar

🧐 React

Using slide 1 on Jamboard, write down your reactions to the information presented above. You can use the following questions to guide your thoughts:

1) Did you learn anything new about the identification process for ELLs?

2) Were any of the assertions you made in the pre assessment incorrect?

3) Are there any questions you still have?

**You can add a sticky note, text box, drawing or image on Slide 1. There are no requirements for this space; just use this time to react as you see fit! Keep in mind that this is a public collaboration space, so you and others will be able to see the responses.

💡 Assess Your Learning

Use the link to complete a quick quiz. You may use your notes to help!

Nearpod 1.1


Capital District RBERN. (2020, October 29). ELL Identification Webinar. Youtube.

Home Language Questionnaire (HLQ) and Individual Interview Guidance. C.R. 154. (2016)

Continue to the next Module!

What does it mean to be an ELL?