A. Intake Procedures: Identification, Enrollment, and Placement of Language-Minority Students
English Learners (ELs) must be identified at the point of enrollment. A consistent enrollment procedure for language-minority students, which includes the use of a Home Language Survey (HLS), facilitates their entry into the new school environment. A language-minority student is one whose home language is other than English. It is vital to have trained school personnel who are dedicated to meeting the needs of students from different cultures with different levels of English proficiency.
A Home Language Survey must be completed for each student registering for enrollment in an Alabama public school. It may be helpful to conduct an interview with the student and/or parents during the enrollment process. Information from the interview may be helpful to the EL’s committee when considering appropriate placement for the student. The assistance of a translator may be required to complete the survey. The completed survey becomes part of the student’s permanent record and should be available for future reference.
The Home Language Survey must contain, at a minimum, a version of the following questions:
Is a language other than English spoken at home?
Is your child’s first language a language other than English?
What language did your child learn when her/she first began to talk?
What language does your child most frequently speak at home?
When all responses on the HLS indicate that English is the only language used by the student and by individuals in the home, the student is considered an English-only speaker. Procedures established by the school system for placement in the general student population should be followed.
Any student whose registration or HLS indicates a language other than English on any of the survey questions is a language-minority student. If any response on the HLS indicates the use of a language other than English by the student or an individual in the home, then further assessment must be conducted to determine the student’s English-language proficiency level. However, the presence of a language other than English does not automatically signify that the student is not a competent and proficient speaker of English.
All language-minority students must be allowed to attend school, regardless of their ability to produce a birth certificate, social security number, or immigration documentation. Children may not be excluded from school because they do not have a social security number (Plyler v. Doe). Application forms to obtain social security numbers may be distributed, but the option of completing the forms must be left to the parents.
If parents do not have student immunization records available, the dates of immunization may be obtained by calling the previous school that the child attended. The LEA may need to contact the former school system. If necessary, students can begin the immunization series at the local public health department. If appropriate immunization documentation cannot be obtained within a reasonable period of time, the student’s case should be handled in accordance with approved state and local board of education procedures.
The LEA should work collaboratively with community and area agencies to facilitate the school enrollment process. These efforts should be documented for future reference as needed.
Initial assessment of English language proficiency must be conducted to determine the level of English proficiency and to facilitate appropriate instructional and program placement decisions. Language-minority students identified through the HLS during registration at the beginning of the school year must be assessed for English-language proficiency within thirty (30) days of enrollment. Language-minority students who register after the beginning of the school year must be assessed within ten (10) days of enrollment. The LEA will record the registration date as “original entry date” on STI or “date first enrolled” when completing the demographics page of the ACCESS for ELs English proficiency test.
The SDE has adopted the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA)-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) to help determine eligibility for placement in the LEA’s English language development program. The W-APT assesses English language proficiency in all four domains of language development–listening, speaking, reading, and writing–as well as comprehension to ensure that students' language needs are properly identified and addressed through the LEA’s educational program.
W-APT stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test. This assessment tool, known as the "screener", is used by educators to measure the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in a particular district. It can help to determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what level.
The WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) is an assessment tool, used by educators to measure the English language proficiency of students who have recently arrived in the U.S. or in a particular district. This screening tool is used to determine whether a child is eligible for English language instructional services.
The W-APT yields an overall composite score based on the language domains tested. The following guidelines must be adhered to in determining eligibility for placement in the English language instruction educational program:
1. Any student scoring an overall composite score of 3.9 or below on the
2. Any student scoring an overall composite score of 4.0 or above on the
The W-APT should be considered as only one piece of evidence in the decision-making process regarding placement. Teacher judgment, other assessments, and extenuating circumstances, such as the student’s age and amount and quality of previous schooling, should be factored into the decision.