English Language Learners (ELL)/ Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students
The terms “limited English proficient” and “English Language Learners” refer to those students whose native or home language is other than English, and whose current limitations in the ability to understand, speak, read or write in English inhibit their effective participation in a school’s educational program.
Ohio’s goal for all LEP students is to attain English proficiency so that they can achieve the State’s academic standards and fully participate in U.S. society. However, the length of time required to attain English proficiency will vary according to a number of factors, including age, grade level, extent of prior formal schooling and current level of English proficiency.
How is a Student identified as an ELL?
If a student has a language other than English spoken in the home and has completed the Home Language Survey at enrollment, the student will be assessed for English Language Proficiency. If the student qualifies, he or she is then an ELL. ELLs may be born in the USA or come from other countries.
Stages of Second Language Acquisition
Pre-functional – Pre-production or the silent period. New students just listen. Some may not speak for weeks or months. Don’t force them. Some will start using simple learned phrases and simple sentences.
Beginner – Students will develop a vocabulary of about 1000 words; speak in one or two word phrases, memorized chunks and simple sentences. This may last about 6 months.
High Beginner – Students will develop a vocabulary of about 3000 words, use simple sentences, ask simple questions, read easy stories, and write simple sentences.
Intermediate – Now students have a 6000 word vocabulary, use more complex sentences, and ask questions. They will still have grammar errors.
Advanced – It can take 4–10 years to achieve this. Students are able to cope in the classroom but will still need help with vocabulary, idioms, writing and content such as social studies.
Two Types of Language
BICS - Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills
This is social language and develops in 1 – 3 years. This is the day-to-day language needed to interact with other people. ELLs use BICS on the playground, in the cafeteria, on the bus. This language is context based.
CALP – Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
This is academic language and takes 5- 7 (or even 7-10 according to some experts) years to develop. There are general academic words and content specific words. Academic language is context reduced, especially in the upper grades.
Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA)
Ohio is a member of the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) consortium which developed the English language proficiency assessment based on the English Language Proficiency Standards. The test administered in Ohio is the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment (OELPA) and is based on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Standards.
The OELPA is interactive for students. There are four tests for the OELPA: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The format is online for all students.