English Language Development (ELD) Program

Qualifying for the ELD Program

 When a student is registered, a Home Language Survey (HLS) is completed. If there is a language on the HLS other than English, we must then determine if the student is a PHLOTE; which stands for Primary Home Language Other Than English. To make this determination, a Language Use Survey (LUS) is administered. Depending on the answers, a student is either labeled as a PHLOTE or not a PHLOTE.

 If a student is a PHLOTE, we must then administer the Kindergarten W-APT for Kindergarten students or the WIDA Screener for all other grades. For the KW-APT, students qualify for the ELD program if they receive an oral language score (listening and speaking) of 19 or lower, or if they receive an oral language score between 20-24 and reading is less than or equal to 6 or writing is less than or equal to 4. For the WIDA Screener, students qualify for the ELD program if they receive an overall composite proficiency level below 5.0.

 If a student was attending another school in a WIDA state, we try to get their records from their previous school prior to making a determination. Based on the Screener/WIDA ACCESS scores and report card grades we receive, we can then determine whether or not a student is eligible for the ELD program.

 Although it used to be true that parents could not opt out of an ELD program, that is no longer the case. Parents must now be presented with the right to decline the ELD program, in part or in whole, when they are notified that their child has qualified. Even if a parent chooses to opt of out instruction, the student will still be labeled as an ELD student, and they will be required to participate in the annual WIDA ACCESS testing until they are able to be reclassified. In instances where the parents choose to opt out of the program, the student will have to receive ELD instruction within the regular education setting.

ELs with Disabilities and EL’s Right to Dual Services

  • Some ELs may have disabilities and qualify for special education services.


  • All procedures for screening, evaluation, IEP, and the provision of services and/or instruction must be in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


  • Special education services do not replace ELD instruction and vice versa.


  • There is no waiting period for making a disability determination for an EL.

Reclassification of ELD Students 

  • When students exit from the ELD program, this is now called “reclassification.”


  • Following reclassification, an EL is now labeled a FEL, or Former EL. They are actively monitored for two years and then reported to the state in a monitoring status for another two years.


  • An EL must demonstrate the ability to access challenging academic content and interact with other students and teachers both academically and socially in an English language setting in order to be considered for reclassification. Evidence of this ability is demonstrated by the student on the annual English language proficiency assessment, WIDA ACCESS, and gathered by teachers using standardized language use inventories.


  • Two language use inventories must be completed. An ESL teacher must complete one of the inventories when possible. The other inventory may be completed by a single content teacher or a team of content teachers. The inventories must be completed prior to the release of the WIDA ACCESS scores. Each language use inventory produces a single score and the sum of the two inventory scores is added to the WIDA ACCESS points assigned to determine if the student meets the minimum threshold for reclassification. 

Total possible points from WIDA ACCESS:  7.6

Total possible points from both inventories 7.6

Total Possible Points from all components: 16

Threshold for reclassification: 10.5 

When this reclassification score is equal to or greater than the cutoff, then a student should be reclassified.

Reclassification of Student with Disabilities 

  • ELs with Disabilities - taking the WIDA ACCESS

    An EL with a disability may be considered for reclassification if:


    1. The student has an IEP, AND


    2. The student has been continuously enrolled in an ESL/bilingual education program for at least four years, AND


    3. The student’s overall composite proficiency level score on the WIDA ACCESS has not increased by more than 10% at any point or total over the three most recent testing cycles, AND


    4. The IEP team, with input from an ESL/bilingual education professional, recommends reclassification.


  • ELs with Disabilities (taking the Alternate WIDA ACCESS)

ELs who are eligible for and take the Alternate WIDA ACCESS may be considered for reclassification when:

1. they achieve a score of at least P2 on two consecutive administrations of the test OR achieve the same score for three consecutive administrations of the test, AND

2. the IEP team, with input from an ESL/bilingual education professional, recommends reclassification. 

Although language use inventories are not required for ELs with disabilities as part of the reclassification process, teachers should consider completing them in cases where it is appropriate as a way to document language proficiency at the time of reclassification for future reference if needed.