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Key Issues and Opportunities in the Initial Identification and Classification of English Learners ELPA ELL

Lopez, Alexis A.; Pooler, Emilie; Linquanti, Robert.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), English Language Learners (ELL), Elementary Secondary Education, Policies, Young Children, Identification, Classification


English learners (ELs) require access to appropriate instructional services that match their strengths and needs to have an equal opportunity to achieve the same academic standards as other students. If ELs are not properly identified and classified, they may be excluded from services that would better help them meet high academic standards, and they may not receive optimal supports to advance both linguistically and academically. Thus, it is critical to accurately and properly identify newly enrolled students who are in need of supplemental instruction and support. The purpose of this report is to identify issues in current initial English-language proficiency assessment practices used to determine initial EL classification and offer recommendations to strengthen the policies, process, and tools used in the identification and classification of ELs. RELATED REPORTS: • Creating a Next-Generation System of K–12 English Learner Language Proficiency Assessments by M. C. Hauck, M. K. Wolf, & R. Mislevy ETS Research Report No. RR-16-06 • Conceptualizing Accessibility for English Language Proficiency Assessments by D. Guzman-Orth, C. Laitusis, M. Thurlow, & L. Christensen ETS Research Report No. RR-16-07 • Next-Generation Summative English Language Proficiency Assessments for English Learners: Priorities for Policy and Research by M. K. Wolf, D. Guzman-Orth, & M. C. Hauck ETS Research Report No. RR-16-08 • Approaches to Automated Scoring of Speaking for K–12 English Language Proficiency Assessments by K. Evanini, M. C. Hauck, & K. Hakuta ETS Research Report No. RR-17-18

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