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 should identify students who are English learners within 30 days of the beginning of each school year. 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.

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.  

More information about the 2-step process can be found in the document Identifying English Learners in Ohio. This guide provides information for school staff to administer and communicate about the process of identifying and serving English learners. 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

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.

The school’s process to notify parents of their child’s English learner identification and eligibility for participation in the language development program should occur within 30 calendar days after the beginning of the district’s school year. For other students identified as English learners entering during the school year, parents must receive notification of language instruction program eligibility within 45 days of the student’s registration.  

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: 11/23/2021 4:15:06 PM