Copyright

Differences Between ELL & LEP Students

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

As a teacher of English as a Second Language, you probably have noticed that people use ELL and LEP interchangeably despite the differences between the two terms. This lesson analyzes the distinction between these terms.

Why Is It Important to Differentiate?

Diane is an elementary school principal and she often meets with her team of English as a Second Language teachers. Diane refers to all students who are enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program either as ELLs or LEPs. Very often, people in schools use the acronyms ELL and LEP interchangeably. However, there are differences between them. The most basic difference resides in what each term means. As you likely know, a student referred to as an ELL is an English Language Learner and one referred to as LEP is Limited English Proficient.

The reason people make the distinction is the general assumption that English Language Learners have a limited proficiency in the language because they come from homes where a language other than English is spoken. While the federal government in the US recognizes that both ELLs and LEPs are in the same group as students, it is important to differentiate because some states use the terms to define different instruction for different students.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between these terms.

ELLs Versus LEPs

Diane recently met Ahmed, a student who was born and raised in the Middle East until the age of eight. When Ahmed started school in the US, he took a test in English language to determine his ability to read, write, listen and speak in English. The test results indicated that Ahmed was going to struggle in the regular classes that are part of the curriculum because Ahmed's English was not very good at the time.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support