Identifying English Learners

The steps below outline Ohio’s standardized procedures to identify students who are English learners. School administrators can develop written English learner identification procedures that include staff responsibilities, interpretation resources and professional development to support students and their multilingual families. An orientation video may be used to help train staff in implementing the identification process.

Step 1: Language Usage Survey

Schools must identify students who are English learners within 30 days of the student's enrollment. Ohio defines enrollment as the date on which the school has both received documentation of enrollment and the student has commenced participation in learning opportunities. As part of welcoming all new students and their families, Ohio’s Language Usage Survey must be completed for each student to support communication with the family and in the identification and instruction of potential English learners.

To assist in communicating the purpose of completing the Language Usage Survey to parents, staff may use the following two-minute video explanations available in 14 languages. These explanations are available on Parents2Partners to supplement interpreters who provide families accessible communication with school staff.

Explanations of the LANGUAGE USAGE SURVEY In other home languages

Note: Schools administer the language usage survey to all new students and must properly identify the English language needs of students across the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

A response that includes a language other than English to question #2 OR question #3 triggers English Language Proficiency screening. A response that includes a language other than English to questions #1 or #4 should prompt further conversation with the family.

Review the federal requirements related to primary or home language other than English, in the U.S. Department of Education’s Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents, page 11.

Find translations of the Language Usage Survey below. Supplemental questions can be used to gather additional information to better understand and serve students and families with limited English proficiency. 

Language Usage Survey Translations

Step 2: Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener

The OELPS is the standardized assessment tool the Department uses to classify students as English learners. When students are identified as potential English learners, they take the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS) to screen their development of English as a second or new language in the domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Based on the results of the OELPS, students may be identified as an English learner.

Parent and Family Notification of English Learner Identification 

Districts and schools that are recipients of Title I funds are required to initially and annually notify the parents and guardians of each student who has been identified as an English learner.

Per the requirements in ESEA sections 1112 (e)(3)(A) and (B) each school that uses funds under either Every Student Succeeds Act Title I or Title III to supplement its language instruction educational program (LIEP) must provide a parent of an English learner (EL) with notification that outlines their child’s identification as an EL and placement in the language instruction educational program. The ESEA requires that this notification be provided no later than 30 calendar days after their enrollment or within the first two weeks of placement in an LIEP for a student who enrolls after the start of the school year.

To support providing meaningful communications to parents and families, templates for the notification letter of EL identification are provided in multiple languages below. For languages not represented, please see the additional guidance and resources that are provided for translation of the parent notification letter to other languages.

Parent notification translations

Last Modified: 8/17/2023 12:50:05 PM