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Q. What is the difference between bilingual programs and ENL programs?

ENL instruction is a core developmental instructional program.  ENL provides instruction across the four language modalities of listening, speaking, reading and writing.  It also focuses on cultural and linguistic factors unique to learners acquiring another language.  Parents may not opt their child out of ENL, once identified.

Bilingual education is a core developmental instructional program provided to students in two languages.  Students participating in a bilingual education program learn content in English and the native language to achieve academic success.  Bilingual education is the default program for a newly identified ELL unless one does not exist in their language and/or the child opts them out of bilingual education and into ENL only.

ELLs in a bilingual program also receive ENL.  NYSED OBE-WL has more information on ENL and bilingual program models.

Q. How many ELLs must a school district have in order to provide ENL?

One.  ENL is core developmental instruction.  CR Part 154 requires that all identified ELLs receive ENL.

Q. Under which conditions are schools/districts required to provide bilingual education?

If a school district has 20 or more ELLs that speak the same home language in the same grade level, the district is required to provide a bilingual program for that language.  Districts are eligible for a one-year appeal by following this NYSED OBE-WL guidance.

Q. Does CR Part 154 address the numbers of ELLs in a class?

There is no policy regarding the numbers of ELLs that can be in one classroom.  This is to be determined by each school district.

Q. How are ELLs identified?

The NYSED OBE-WL website provides many resources to describe and give guidance on the ELL identification process.  The essential steps include the HLQ, individual interview in English and the home language, followed by the NYSITELL.

Q. Does every student complete an HLQ?

Only if they are entering a NYS school for the first time (or re-entering after more than two years).  If they are transferring from another NYS school, the HLQ should be transferred to the new school.

Q. How do I identify SIFE students?

In addition to following the ELL identification process, once the student has taken the NYSITELL and ELL status is confirmed, the school would administer the Multilingual Literacy Screener (MLS) if it is available in the student's home language.  Additionally, a writing screener in the home language should be administered to determine the student's writing ability in the home language.  Please refer to the NYSED OBE-WL guidance.

Q. Can a parent or teacher challenge the identification of an ELL?

The Review of ELL Identification Determination does not allow ELLs to opt out of service. Upon receiving a written request from a parent/guardian, teacher, or student age 18 years or older within 45 school days of a student’s initial ELL designation, a district has 10 school days to initiate a Review of ELL Identification Determination. The review must be concluded within 10 school days (20 school days if the CSE is consulted). All documents related to the initial or reentry process, including a review of the student’s work in English and the home language, must be reviewed by the school principal and qualified personnel. The school principal and qualified personnel must review the results of a school-based assessment and consult with the CSE if the student has a disability that may impact the student’s ability to speak, read, write, or listen in English. The parent/guardian must be consulted, and all documents must be retained in the student’s cumulative record. Before final determination, parents are to be informed in writing and consent to the results of the Review of ELL Identification Determination. Within six months to one school year of a review, the school principal must review all decisions to remove ELL status. This determination must be in writing. Any reversal must be made in consultation with the superintendent and parent/guardian. If a reversal is determined, the superintendent must provide written notification of the reversal to the Commissioner, the school principal, the parent/guardian, and the student, if the student is age 18 or older. Any change in ELL designation must be reflected in the student’s cumulative record.

Q. How can ELLs exit the ENL program?

The only approved exit criteria from ENL programs for ELLs include:

  • scoring Commanding on the NYSESLAT
  • scoring Expanding on the NYSESLAT and a 3+ on the Grade 3-8 ELA Exam in the same school year
  • scoring Expanding on the NYSESLAT and a 65+ on the English Regents Exam in the same school year
Q. Are ELLs exempt from state assessments?

ELLs are required to participate in all state assessments upon arrival with the exception of the Grades 3-8 ELA exam.  This is a one-year, one-time exemption.

Q. Do ELLs receive testing accommodations for state assessments?

Yes. Acceptable testing accommodations include use of a bilingual glossary, extended time, and separate testing location for all exams.  Content area tests (excludes ELA and NYSESLAT tests) may be taken in the student’s first language or with the use of an interpreter, if a native language test is not provided by the state in written form. For more information on testing accommodations refer to the School Administrators Manual.

Q. Are there testing accommodations for ELLs on the NYSESLAT?

No.  The NYSESLAT is designed for ELLs with the intent of measuring English language proficiency.  The only exception is for ELLs with disabilities.  The testing accommodations on their IEP are to be followed, including this recent change in allowable testing accommodations on the NYSESLAT.

Q. Where can I find bilingual glossaries?

The NYS Language RBE-RN houses word-for-word bilingual glossaries on the NYU Steinhardt website.

Q. Can ELLs appeal for a lower score on the English Regents Exam?

Students who are entering school for the first time in 9th grade or older may appeal for a lower passing score on the English regents utilizing this appeal form.

Q. What do I do about transient ELLs?

According to the ELL Identification Guidance, if an ELL leaves NYS for less than two years before returning to NYS, they will continue to receive service and be given the same profiency level as when they last attended a NYS school.  If they return after two years, you would follow the initial ELL identification process.  For transfers within NYS, the HLQ is not to be given again and any NYSITELL/NYSESLAT scores should be shared between the two districts.

Q. Can ELLs receive LOTE credit/be exempt from LOTE?

The awarding of LOTE credit is at the discretion of the high school principal.  This should be examined on a case-by-case basis.  The following information comes from the LOTE Q&A document:

Can students earn unit(s) of credit in a LOTE based on documented residence and school attendance in an "other-­than-­English-­speaking" environment?

Yes. Schools may award three (3) to five (5) units of credit in LOTE for documented school attendance and residence in  an  ‘other-­than-English­-speaking’ environment, provided  that the  experience  occurs  at age  11  or older and  that the  residence resulted in direct contact with that environment, its language and people.

• If residence and school attendance occurs up to age 11, the school may award up to three (3) units of credit under the conditions described above;

• If residence and school attendance occurs up to age 12, the school may award up to four (4) units of credit under the  conditions described above.

• If residence and school attendance occurs up to age 13 and beyond, the school may award up to five (5) units of credit based on the conditions described above.

NOTE: No more than five units of credit in a LOTE may be awarded for school attendance and residence in an ‘other-than-English­-speaking’ environment, regardless of the length of the experience.