Cara has a Master's in Teacher Leadership as well as a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. She has taught on the Elementary and Pre-k level for 5 years.
ESOL Program Requirements
Many requirements are set in place for ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) programs at both the state and federal level. Florida has detailed requirements that every school district in the state must follow. These state requirements also align with the federal requirements set by the Department of Education. The identification, reclassification, and exit of students in ESOL programs are clearly laid out in detail.
Students begin the process of being identified as ELL (English-language learner) upon enrollment in a school. The reclassification process is a yearly test that can show if the student should continue to be enrolled in the ESOL program or if the student should begin the exiting process. The exit process from the ESOL program can be completed at any time that the student is deemed English proficient.
ESOL Student Identification
When a student is enrolled in a school, the school is required to administer a survey to the parents/guardian of the student in order to identify potential ELL students. Three required questions that must be included on the survey are:
- Is a language other than English used in the home?
- Did/Does the student have a first language other than English?
- Does the student most frequently speak a language other than English?
If only the first question is answer with ''yes,'' then the student does not need to be enrolled in an ESOL program. If the second or third (or both the second and third) questions are answered with ''yes,'' then the student will be assessed for eligibility in the ESOL program. Students are assessed by completing a Department of Education approved aural and oral language proficiency assessment. The student must be assessed within the first twenty days after enrollment in the school and must score in the limited English proficiency range on one of these assessments to be considered for the school's ESOL program.
Reclassification of ESOL students means to have students changed from a status of ELL to English proficient. Each year, a Florida student will complete at least one of the following standardized tests: the English Language Proficiency Assessment, the Florida Standards Assessment in English Language Arts (FSA in ELA), or the Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA). Based on the student's score on the selected standardized test, the student will either be classified as ELL or English proficient.
Exit from the Program
Exiting a student from an ESOL program means to have them removed from the program because they are now considered English proficient. When a student completes the yearly reclassification assessment, their score determines if they should continue to be enrolled in the ESOL program or if they should begin the exit process. The exit process can be accomplished in one of two ways.
The first way to be exited from the ESOL program is for the student to gain a score of proficient or passing on the English Language Proficiency Assessment and Florida Standards Assessment in English Language Arts (FSA in ELA) or the Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA). These tests are state standardized tests. Different requirements for which type of test to administer are based on the current grade level for the student. For example, students in grades K-2 can only be exited by obtaining a passing score on the English Language Proficiency Assessment because this is the only standardized test for those grade levels. Students in grade 3-9 can obtain a passing score on the FSA in ELA or the FSAA to be exited from the ESOL program.
The second way a student can be exited from the ESOL program is to convene an ELL committee whose members can then determine English proficiency. The committee requires that a student be assessed from at least one approved assessment instrument. The approved assessment must cover the domains of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The student must complete the assessment no earlier than thirty days before the ELL committee meets to make the determination of English proficiency. The ELL committee will also consider the student's grades, academic experience, written recommendations from current and previous teachers as well as a student interview when determining English proficiency. The majority of the ELL committee must agree that the student is English proficient for the student to be exited from the ESOL program.
ESOL programs have many requirements that school districts must complete before enrolling a student in the program, including identification, keeping the student in the program; or reclassification, or exiting them from the program. These Florida state requirements are aligned with the federal requirements to ensure that all protocols are followed. Students cannot be exited from the ESOL programs without sufficient evidence that they have attained English proficiency.
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