Frequently Asked Questions for the Language Usage Survey

Schools have a responsibility to identify English learners so they can provide instruction designed to help them use the English language and learn subject matter content. The following frequently asked questions relate to administration of the Language Usage Survey, the first step that is conducted as part of the registration of all students to identify potential English learners and the language preferences of families.
 

Supporting the Whole Child

The Language Usage Survey respects the home languages represented in schools as relevant to addressing the needs of the whole child. Schools and districts are responsible for developing guidelines that address procedures and responsibilities for protecting the confidentiality of data from the Language Usage Survey.

Fundamental to administering the Language Usage Survey is recognition that:

  • Language, in its many variations, reflects the experiences and the identities of all people;
  • Heritage and primary languages are instrumental in students’ academic and cultural success; and
  • Multilingual individuals bring strengths and assets to the state and nation.
For information and FAQs about the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS) that is administered to potential English learners who have been identified by the Language Usage Survey, please refer to the OELPS webpage and OELPS Frequently Asked Questions.

General Questions

Welcoming Each Child

Migrant Education Programs (Title I-C)

Title III Immigrant Programs for Children and Youth

Parent Notification of English Learner Identification


General Questions

    Who completes the Language Usage Survey?

    Parents and guardians of all newly enrolled students in grades K-12 complete the state’s standardized language usage survey. Enrollment staff for preschools may use the state standardized language survey or another language usage survey to determine and support the communication preferences of children and families. Examples of other language usage surveys that may be used by preschools include Gathering and Using Language Information Families Share resource from Head Start and New Jersey preschool guidance with the home language survey.

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    What is the process for students transferring schools within Ohio?

    When a student transfers from one district or school in Ohio to another district or school in Ohio, enrollment staff should request, review, and maintain a copy of the previous language usage survey. The information is used to better understand the student’s language environments and English language development instruction, as well as to request the language preferences of the family. For information regarding the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener (OELPS) that is administered to identify students who are potential English learners who may benefit from English language programs and linguistic supports, please see Ohio’s OELPS FAQ.

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    What is the process for students transferring to an Ohio school from out-of-state?

    Students identified as English learners in another State who transfer to a school in Ohio must be assessed for English learner status, based on ODE‘s definition of English language proficiency, within 30 days of enrollment in a school in the State. Ohio defines enrollment as the date on which the school has both received documentation of enrollment and commenced participation in learning opportunities. 

    When students transfer from other states, including U.S. territories and Department of Defense Education Activity schools, the school is not required to re-administer the language usage survey, but should review, maintain and make any needed updates to the student’s previous home or language usage survey. When transfer students do not present a copy of the previous home or language usage survey, a copy should be requested from the previous school(s). If the survey is not received within the 30-day timeframe for English learner identification, the school should administer the Ohio Language Usage Survey to know and document the languages the student uses and the language preferences of the family. In cases with additional considerations, an individual approach is advised, with the TESOL and other specialists included to provide guidance on next steps to provide language development supports and programs to students who qualify as English learners.

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    Are Non-Public Schools required to administer the Ohio Language Usage Survey?

    Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, public and non-public schools that receive federal funds have the obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to students and families. This includes the identification of linguistic barriers to assure equitable access school services and activities. Non-public schools are not required to administer the Ohio Language Usage Survey form and translations provided free of charge on the Department website. They may develop their own forms and processes that meet the obligation to protect students and families from discrimination based upon race and national origin minority status.

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    May online surveys be signed digitally or should the paper copies also be signed?

    Families and validating employees may sign the survey digitally. Electronic signatures should be validated by the individual assigned to do the Language Usage Survey quality check. Districts must have written procedures that explain how the information provided in the Language Usage Survey is maintained and, in case of student transfer, shared along with other records.

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    Is the Language Usage Survey available in a Word document format? This could facilitate translation and use of a district’s or school’s logo.

    The Language Usage Survey and translations are available in Adobe pdf and Microsoft Word files on the Ohio Department of Education website.

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    Can we modify the form to communicate more clearly to new families enrolling in our school?

    Schools and districts may modify the Language Usage Survey without changing or omitting the content that is communicated to parents on page 1.

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Welcoming Each Child

    Can schools administer the Language Usage Survey online?

    Schools and districts may include the Language Usage Survey questions in online registration. However, accessibility issues have been found, for example, when parents and guardians are not provided technology supports, interpreters, and technical assistance to access the survey. Along with presenting the same questions that are on the state’s standardized form, schools that administer the Language Usage Survey online should document how interpretation and translation into languages other than English were offered to parents, and how individuals without access to technology were provided support, and yearly steps the district has taken to remediate and improve the process to proactively welcome students and facilitate parent engagement. Additional information regarding the accessibility of online Language Usage Surveys may be found in the Enrolling and Registering English Learners section on the Department website.

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    How should a school proceed when languages other than English have not been identified on the Language Usage Survey?

    By the state and federal definition, a student who is an English learner has a home or native language other than English. Students who have not been identified as potential English learners should proceed with enrollment and NOT be administered the Ohio English Language Proficiency Screener. If a language other than English has not been reported on the Language Usage Survey but there is compelling evidence that the student has skills in languages other than English, the survey should be reviewed and revised with staff and parents. In some cases, the parents may have not understood the purposes and use of the Language Usage Survey. In others, the district may review previous student records, gather observational data, and administer linguistically appropriate classroom assessments to determine whether the student is a potential English learner. Before administering the OELPS, the Language Usage Survey should be sufficiently completed to support administering the OELPS to determine English learner classification.

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    When parents and guardians complete the Language Usage Survey, what might be requested in the “additional information” section at the bottom of the survey?

    The Language Usage Survey is part of a process to improve instruction by understanding each student's linguistic background and to provide communication supports for parents and families with limited English proficiency and fluency in languages other than English. When enrolling newcomer families, school staff should be welcoming and provide parents with additional time and encouragement to share information about the child’s language background and experiences. Examples of additional information include whether the student has participated in language classes, received bilingual schooling, speech therapy, or other extended interactions with caregivers or peers using languages other than English.

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    Who should make the decision of whether to screen a student with the OELPS if the Language Survey does not clearly indicate that the student has a home or native language other than English?

    If the staff person administering the Language Usage Survey is unsure of whether the student should be tested for English language proficiency using the OELPS, educators with knowledge and skills in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages should be consulted to determine whether the student has had opportunities to develop skills in two or more languages as defined by the federal and state definition of an English learner. The supplemental topics on Appendix B of the Language Usage Survey offer specific questions for parents and guardians to share regarding their student’s language and schooling experiences.

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Migrant Education Programs (Title I-C)

    Can students who are not English learners also qualify for Migrant Education funds?

    Yes. While data from the Ohio Migrant Education Center indicate that nearly 40% of students who qualify for the state’s Migrant Education Program are English learners, not all are current English learners.

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    What are next steps school personnel should take when a “yes” response is indicated for the “Occupational Information” question for migrant education?

    School staff should contact the program contacts listed here on the Department website. These specialists will assist any Ohio school in certifying the eligibility of the student and family to initiate migrant education supports.

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    When administering the Language Usage Survey, what other federal programs might be considered to support new students?

    Additional supports for students and families are available through migrant education programs. Under Title I-C, migrant education programs serve students and families who have been employed in any of the following occupations: agriculture, nursery, timber, meat packing, dairy, poultry, livestock, canning of fruits/vegetables, and fishing, whether full or part-time or on temporarily basis. To qualify, the families must have made residence changes within the past 36 months. To check if a student potentially qualifies for migrant education supports in a timely manner, schools should inquire about occupational information while administering the Language Usage Survey.

    Occupational Information: Has anyone in your immediate family engaged in at least one of the following occupations during the last 36 months? Agriculture, nursery, timber, meat packing, dairy, poultry, livestock, canning of fruits/vegetables or fishing.

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Title III Immigrant Programs for Children and Youth

    Why does Section 3 “Record” request immigrant student status?

    The purpose of the immigrant status question in Section 3 is to assist schools in organizing data for EMIS record field number FD 200. The definition of immigrant children and youth for the allocation of funds for Title III Immigrant Programs is below:

    Immigrant children and youth are individuals who have the following characteristics:

    1. Ages 3 through 21;
    2. Not born in any state; and
    3. Not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years (see ESEA Section 3201(5)).

    The question is distinct from requesting immigration status. Children and students have the right to enroll in any school regardless of citizenship status. Immigration status of students and family members may not be a condition of school enrollment. Additional information is available in Confronting Discrimination Based on National and Immigration Status, a resource that provides additional guidance for schools and families.

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Parent Notification of English Learner Identification

    Must a district maintain evidence that the Parent Notification of English Learner Identification letter was sent?

    Yes, schools should keep a sample of the Parent Notification of English Learner Identification on file along with evidence that translation and interpretation were provided to those parents and families with limited English proficiency. Many schools request parent signature to verify receipt of the Parent Notification of English Learner Identification letter. This practice is recommended as it may provide additional opportunities for parent communication. However, a parent signature on the Notification of English Learner Identification is not required for the student to benefit from the schools English language program and to receive supports in the general education classroom. Schools should provide needed language supports within 30 days of enrollment. 

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    What are other school climate and parent engagement concerns schools and staff should consider when planning and administering the Language Usage Survey?

    Enrollment and completion of Language Usage Survey is often a first and most important point of contact between parents and school staff. These first interactions with school set the tone for future parent engagement with their child’s schooling. School staff and administrators should consult with guidance counselors, TESOL specialists, and other to review the process and to implement a process that is welcoming and helpful for all, including multilingual families. Individuals who administer the Language Usage Survey should be trained regarding its purposes and procedures. Schools might develop orientation and training related to the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of their community’s English learner families. Procedures on how to provide interpreters and translation of the Language Usage Survey should be in place. The process and purpose of the Language Usage Survey should be clearly communicated so families know what to expect when bringing their children in to be screened. This includes providing information about the school’s Language Usage Survey and EL identification process on the school district website such as the page provided by Painesville City schools.

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    What is the timeline for sending the parent notification of English learner identification?

    The parent notification of English learner identification must be provided no later than 30 days after enrollment or within the first two weeks of placement in a language instruction education program for students who enroll after the start of the school year.

    Note that for students who enroll after the start of the school year, the deadline to provide written parent notification of their child’s English learner identification is 30-days plus an additional two weeks after placement in the language education instructional program. Whether the student enrolls at the start or during the school year, their Language Usage Survey and OELPS results, and placement into the appropriate language development instructional services should occur within 30 days of their enrollment in school. More information and additional translations of the parent notification letter are available on the Department website. 

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Last Modified: 9/27/2022 1:53:05 PM