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CCSSO Offers Guidance on Reclassification of English-Language Learners

The Council of Chief State School Officers has released recommendations on how states and school districts should reclassify English-language learners.

Part of an ongoing effort to bring more consistency to services for English-language learners, the guidance is the fourth in a series related to moving toward more common policies and practices to identify, classify, assess, and now, reclassify ELLs as former English-learners.

Determining when to exit students is a "high-stakes" decision, said report authors H. Gary Cook, of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and Robert Linquanti, a senior research associate at WestEd, a San Francisco-based research organization.Capture ELL Reclassification.PNG

"A premature exit may place a student who still requires specialized support related to her linguistic needs at risk of academic failure," Cook and Linquanti wrote, "while unnecessary prolonging of EL status (particularly at the secondary level) can limit educational opportunities, lead to stigmatization, lower teacher expectations, and demoralize students."

Cook and Linquanti will host a webinar Thursday, Nov. 12, to review the guidelines.

Their documents provide a state-by-state review of current reclassification criteria across the United States and offers nine guidelines for states, state assessment consortia, and districts to consider when determining whether students still need language-learner services.

Among other things, the guidelines recommend that:

  • states and districts examine EL students' classroom language uses as an additional reclassification criterion, and not rely solely on an annual assessment.
  • the testing consortia—English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) and World Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium (WIDA)—that developed the most widely used English-language proficiency tests should move toward common English-proficient performance standards.
  • consortia, states, and districts track academic performance of reclassified English learners as long as the students attend school in the district or state.

   EL Reclassification Working Paper_11 05 15

Graphic Source: Council of Chief State School Officers

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