Adapting Instruction for
English Language Learners
• FAQs about the ESL Program
• WIDA Standards and language proficiency
• NCCLAS information
• ESL testing accommodations
• Optional Q & A session
What is LEP?
• LEP stands for Limited English Proficient. It
describes any student who has been tested either
initially with the W-APT or annually with the
ACCESS and scored at a level below 5-Bridging in
one or more of the four domains (Listening,
Speaking, Reading, and Writing).
• Once students have reached level 5-Bridging on
the ACCESS in all four domains, they will exit the
ESL program. Their EOG scores will continue to
count toward the LEP subgroup for two years.
How is a student identified as LEP?
• When a student enrolls, the family fills out the
home language survey on the application for
enrollment. If they list a language other than
English, the ESL teacher is notified.
• The student is then tested with the W-APT to
determine LEP identification, unless a current
WIDA score is already in the student’s record.
• The home language survey is intended to identify
those students whose first language is not
English. The ESL teacher confirms this conclusion
before testing.
What is ESL?
• ESL stands for English as a Second Language.
• Related acronyms:
– ESOL – English to Speakers of Other Languages
– ELLs – English Language Learners
– ELs – English Learners
What is Direct Status?
• Students who are directly served attend
scheduled classes with the ESL teacher.
What is Consultative Status?
• Students placed on Consultative status do not attend
ESL classes.
• Parents may request for their student to re-enter
direct service.
• Students who are Consultative may receive testing
accommodations and instructional modifications if
they qualify based on W-APT or ACCESS scores.
• Consultative students are tested annually with the
Can parents refuse ESL?
• Parents can refuse direct ESL instruction by
requesting Waivered status. Waivered students
will not have direct ESL instruction, but they are
eligible for testing accommodations and must be
administered the ACCESS proficiency test
annually until they reach 5-Bridging in all four
• Parents cannot refuse LEP identification by means
of the state-mandated language proficiency test.
What is the ACCESS?
• ACCESS is the state-mandated language
proficiency test which is administered
annually to all LEP students (Direct,
Consultative, and Waivered).
• ACCESS stands for Assessing Comprehension
and Communication in English State-to-State
for English Language Learners.
• It assesses social and academic language.
Why is this student still in ESL if she/he
speaks English well?
• The purpose of the ESL program is to allow
LEP students to succeed academically.
• The acquisition of academic language takes
longer than the acquisition of social language.
This explains why some students are still in
the ESL program even though they speak
English well with their peers.
What is NCCLAS? (North Carolina
Checklist of Academic Standards)
• NCCLAS is an alternate assessment to the
EOGs and EOCs.
• Reading, math, and science NCCLAS scores are
included in the ABC and AYP accountability
• It gives students an alternate means to
demonstrate their grade-level academic
performance with modifications appropriate
to their English proficiency levels.
Eligibility for NCCLAS
• LEP students who score below 4-Expanding on the
language proficiency test in their first two calendar years
in U.S. schools. (Refer to NCCLAS policies and procedures.)
• For eligible students, classroom teachers should begin
collecting modified work samples on grade level at the
beginning of the school year. These assignments should
be dated and the modifications identified.
• The ESL teachers and the Testing Coordinator will provide
information regarding NCCLAS participation as well as
testing accommodations.
What happens when an ESL student is
also identified as EC?
• EC testing accommodations listed on the
student’s IEP take precedence over ESL
• The ESL and EC teachers work collaboratively
to ensure the student receives appropriate
services, instructional modifications, and
testing accommodations.
Can I fail an ESL student?
• It is illegal to give failing grades to or retain an LEP
student if the student’s lack of mastery is due to limited
English proficiency.
• The classroom teacher must document that content
area materials and assignments have been modified to
meet the needs of the ESL student.
• If, in spite of the classroom modifications for the
student’s level of English, the student does not master
the content concepts, then a failing grade may be
justified. (Refer to the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors for
appropriate modifications.)
How should I assign a grade to an ESL
• ESL students must be provided with numerous
opportunities to complete assignments and
demonstrate mastery based on instructional
modifications and testing accommodations.
• The student receives appropriate grades for each of
these assignments which contribute to a valid
summative assessment and letter grade.
• In some cases, a grade of ‘P’ for Passing may be used
when circumstances make it difficult to assign a
specific grade. (E.g. A student enrolling at the end of
the term or a student with limited educational
Do ESL students take benchmarks?
• ESL students who will be taking the EOGs/EOCs will
also participate in benchmark assessments using
the testing accommodations listed on the PNCF.
• NCCLAS students do not have to take the
benchmarks because these quarterly assessments
have not been modified.
My ESL student is not making progress,
what should I do?
• ESL teachers can assist classroom teachers
with identifying the possible causes and
suggesting appropriate ESL strategies.
• Collaborating with the ESL teacher can be
helpful with understanding the reasons for
student behaviors such as not completing
class work or not turning in assignments.
How can I modify?
break assignments into segments or shorter tasks
reduce the number of concepts introduced at any one time
monitor the rate at which you present material
use graphic organizers consistently
use visuals and manipulatives
highlight, review, and repeat key points and vocabulary frequently
use yes/no, either/or, and wh-questions for beginning students
provide realia (real objects)
use gestures to convey meaning non-verbally
display word walls and charts
involve your ESL teacher for additional ways to modify instruction
What is the role of the ESL
• The purpose of the ESL Department is to increase the English
proficiency level of each English language learner. One main
goal is to have all ELLs on grade level within five years.
• In order to accomplish this, all ESL teachers are responsible
for teaching the WIDA English Language Proficiency
Standards, using the assigned ESL textbook, testing all ESL
students on the state-designated proficiency tests for initial
and annual assessments, and meeting state expectations for
How do I have a parent conference
and documents translated?
• An interpreter assigned to your school or region
will be available to assist you in translating
documents, how to proceed if there is a problem
with written communications and adult native
literacy, or when interpreting is needed for a
parent conference.
• Additional assistance can also be provided
through one of the interpreters from the ESL
office (336-370-8982).
Some of my students have uncommon
names, are they ESL?
• Not necessarily. The ESL teacher only teaches
students who qualify for ESL services. ESL
students are exited out of the ESL program
based on scores from the state-designated
proficiency test.
• Students who are not directly served may also
be on Consultative or Waivered status.
• Please consult your ESL teacher for further
Available Online Resources:
• Transact – It is a website that has translated documents. Some
of these documents will allow teachers to type on them. (field
trip forms, parent conference invitations, head lice letters, etc.)
(if available for 09/10 school year)
• CultureGrams – It is an amazing reference tool to find
information about the countries represented in the classroom.
It has information on diet, gestures, greetings, etc.
• Discovery Education – Whenever possible all teachers should
provide visuals for ESL and EC learners.
Questions – Suggestions?
Thank you for your continued support to the ESL students in
Guilford County Schools.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the ESL
teacher at your school or the ESL Department.
V. Rivas Kouba, J. Kimsey, S. Lardies-Dunst, A. Serrano, S. Marcus, Bob Egan

Adapting Instruction for ESL Learners