Guidelines for Identifying English Learners

Students who are English learners have had significant exposure and communication experiences in a primary or home language other than English. These multilingual students benefit from specialized supports in English as a second (or new) language to develop academically and participate equitably in school.

The federal and state requirements to identify and provide equitable educational opportunities that support the whole child apply to all students who are English learners attending public and non-public schools.  It is the obligation and responsibility of all Ohio schools and districts to know and respond to student and family needs for language supports. Parents and families with limited English proficiency have the right to language assistance to understand all notifications and select available programs. 

Aligned with the provision of meaningful parent and family notifications to encourage school engagement, Ohio schools follow a two-step process for the identification of students as English learners.

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 new students and their families, Ohio’s Language Usage Survey must be completed for each student, in collaboration with parents and families, to support the identification and instruction of potential English learners and the provision of understandable communications.

Translations of the Language Usage Survey (Appendix A) are available below.  Please see supplemental questions (Appendix B) for assistance in gathering 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 gauge 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.

Last Modified: 11/18/2022 12:10:31 PM