Pathways to Redesignate English Learner Status
State and Federal Requirements
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and Colorado’s English Language Proficiency Act (ELPA) all outline school districts’ responsibilities in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs for English Learners (ELs). As part of these requirements, districts must provide English language development instruction until the student attains Fluent English Proficiency (FEP) and can transition successfully to grade-level content classrooms, with minimal English Language Development (ELD) support. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), highlights these civil rights by requiring states to establish and implement standardized entrance and exit procedures for ELs, including ELs with disabilities. As part of this requirement, the state’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment must be used in the state’s procedures in making redesignation and exit decisions for ELs. The proficiency score(s) on the (ELP) assessment must be set at a level that enables students to effectively participate in grade-level content instruction. Additional objective criteria may also be used as supplemental information in determining whether to redesignate a student, but these additional sources may not take the place of a proficient score on an ELP assessment (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).
To appropriately meet the ESSA state standardized procedures requirement and ensure this guidance meets the needs of Colorado’s English learners, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) convened a number of stakeholders to represent views across the state. The stakeholder groups included institutes of higher education, CDE staff representing multiple offices, Title III consortia representing small rural school districts, district personnel representing the interest of students with disabilities, school districts representing the geographic diversity of Colorado, as well as advocacy groups such as the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education (CABE) and the Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of other Languages (COTESOL). CDE has synthesized and embedded stakeholders’ thinking, feedback, and contributions, as well as relevant state and national research, into the current redesignation procedures and supporting guidance and best practices documents.
English Learner Redesignation Procedures
Redesignation is a term that describes a process that districts and schools develop to determine when English learners are Fluent English Proficient (FEP) and can transition successfully to classrooms, with minimal ELD support. It is a term that is used when a student’s English language proficiency level changes from Limited English Proficient (LEP) to Fluent English Proficient (FEP) Monitor 1.
This process is initiated by the annual ELP assessment data: ACCESS 2.0 (Pathway 1) or Alternate ACCESS (Pathway 2). When a student has not been assessed with the annual English language proficiency (ELP) assessment, local data may be used to initiate the redesignation procedures (Pathway 3). ELD and Individual Education Program (IEP) teams are responsible for determining which of the three pathways presented in this framework is the most appropriate for individual ELs with disabilities. The teams work in partnership to decide which pathway is best suited for the student (e.g., whether the student should take the general ELP assessment or an alternate ELP assessment, and/or whether the student should participate in all or some of the domains).
Pathway 1: ACCESS 2.0 Assessment Data
Districts/schools should consider EL students whose score meets the ACCESS 2.0 Assessment criteria for English language proficiency (4.0 Overall and 4.0 Literacy) eligible for redesignation. If the district/school determines that the student meets the standardized state ELP assessment criteria, two additional pieces of evidence must be collected to confirm the student’s ELP. Evidence must include two pieces of local data that demonstrates success in reading and writing through English language arts (ELA), science, social studies, and/or math as comparable to non-EL/native English speaking peers.
Districts/schools should consider this pathway, when a student’s ACCESS 2.0 assessment is incomplete, a misadministration of a particular section has occurred, or the district/school has determined the score(s) are not reflective of the student’s typical performance and/or English proficiency level.
In addition, EL students with disabilities whose disabilities preclude assessment in one or more domains (i.e., significant language disability, deaf or hard of hearing, intellectual disability, and/or visually impaired) should be considered and possibly eligible for redesignation through pathway 1b. State and federal law require schools and districts to provide EL students with disabilities both English Language Development services and special services to support their individual learning needs. Therefore, districts and schools need to ensure that students with disabilities have been provided with adequate and quality ELD services before considering redesignation through pathway 1b.
CDE recommends that districts/schools establish a trajectory to ELP based on all EL students and consider, at a minimum: proficiency level at the time of enrollment, grade span, and program model(s). EL students with a disability and on an IEP should be provided, at a minimum, the same time to attain English language proficiency, as all other EL students before considering the student for redesignation.
Pathway 2: Alternate ACCESS Data
Districts/schools should consider EL students with disabilities whose score meets the Alternate ACCESS Assessment criteria for English language proficiency (P1 Overall and P1 Literacy) eligible for redesignation. If the district determines that the students meets the standardized state Alternate ELP assessment criteria, two additional pieces of evidence must be collected to confirm the student’s ELP:
1) At least one piece of local data that demonstrates adequate performance and/or proficiency in English.
- This should be reviewed in collaboration with ELD and special education specialists.
- The data should be representative of multiple years of ELD and special education services which have been provided in an integrated manner.
2) At least one piece of local data that demonstrates broad generalization of skills in English in the content areas of ELA, Science, Socials Studies, and/or Math.
- The student demonstrates sufficient English language to adequately understand and/or express themselves in one or all four domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Skills demonstrated are reflective of the integration between language objectives and individualized goals for the English learner with a disability.
Districts/schools should consider this pathway, when a student’s Alternate ACCESS assessment is incomplete, a misadministration of a particular section has occurred, or when for EL students with disabilities whose disabilities preclude assessment in one or more domains (i.e., significant language disability, deaf or hard of hearing, intellectual disability, and/or visually impaired) should be considered and possibly eligible for redesignation through pathway 2b. State and federal law require schools and districts to provide EL students with disabilities both ELD services and special services to support their individual learning needs. Therefore, districts and schools need to ensure that students with disabilities have been provided with adequate and quality ELD services before considering redesignation through pathway 2b.
Pathway 3: Local Data
This pathway is to be used in rare circumstances and should be used only when an EL student was not administered the annual ELP assessment (ACCESS 2.0 or Alternate ACCESS) for the most current school year.
Districts/schools must establish standardized evidence that demonstrates grade level proficiency in reading and in writing to initiate redesignation. In addition, a district/school must establish a standardized piece of evidence aligned to each of the five Colorado English language proficiency (CELP) standards to confirm fluent English proficiency in all language domains: Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Listening.
If a student meets the standardized criteria the district/school has established to initiate redesignation, two additional pieces of evidence demonstrating success in ELA, Science, Social Studies, and/or Math as comparable to non-EL/native English speaking peers must be collected to confirm the student’s ELP.
Standardized Body of Evidence
Colorado’s standardized redesignation procedures include ELP assessment criteria to initiate the redesignation process using ACCESS 2.0 and Alternate Access. When the EL student does not have an ACCESS 2.0 or Alternate ACCESS score, districts and schools may initiate redesignation by using local assessment data. Districts/schools must develop and implement a standardized process, to include objective criteria, for further investigation and confirmation of a student’s ability to meet grade-level performance expectations through a body of evidence. Each piece of evidence must align to the Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) and the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS).
After a student demonstrates language proficiency through the ACCESS 2.0/Alternate ACCESS, Montrose County School District uses the following standardized Body of Evidence as objective criteria to confirm a student's ability to meet grade-level performance expectations.
- CMAS-ELA: Reading
- iReady Reading
- CMAS-ELA: Writing
- Qualifying Student Writing Sample- content-based writing sample scored during blind scoring session with ELD Specialists.
Monitoring of EL Redesignation Status
When schools/districts determine EL students are Fluent English Proficient (FEP), they must monitor students’ linguistic and academic progress for two years. If the EL student is not progressing academically as expected, and monitoring suggests persistent or developing language need, schools/districts should consider re-evaluating the student’s English language proficiency level and determine if the student needs additional English Language Development (ELD) program services and provide the appropriate English language development instruction. If the student is re-entered into the ELD program, the school/district must document the reasons why and provide notification to and receive consent from the guardian(s) of the EL student.
If the EL student continues to make academic progress in year 1 of monitoring, as determined by the school/district, the following school year the student is placed in year 2 of monitoring. Upon completion of two full school years of monitoring, the EL student will be moved to exit status in the Colorado Data Pipeline.
Dually Identified Students: When schools/districts make a determination that a student is an EL and is placed on an IEP, they must monitor the IEP goals for continued academic progress, as well as the student’s linguistic and academic progress. IEP goals should delineate the mode of communication used by the student in acquiring functional and academic skills. Should monitoring of IEP goals identify persistent or developing language needs, schools/districts should consider re-evaluating the student’s English language proficiency level to determine whether additional ELD program services are necessary and provide documentation in the IEP regarding who will be providing the supports and how the English language supports will be provided.