The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law on December 10, 2015, requires that state education agencies (SEAs) establish standardized, statewide entrance and exit procedures for their English learners (ELs), including ELs with disabilities. For certain ELs with disabilities (i.e., ELs for whom it is determined on an individual basis that they are not able to be assessed in all four domains – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – of the English language proficiency (ELP) assessment, as well as ELs who are students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who may take an alternate ELP assessment) state exit procedures may include additional considerations that take into account the unique needs of this small group of ELs.
This framework is meant for SEA leaders responsible for creating and monitoring standardized, statewide procedures for exiting EL status. We believe that this framework would be particularly helpful when considering ELs with disabilities for whom disentangling ELP and disabilities may be particularly challenging, and who are therefore at risk of either inappropriately remaining in or prematurely exiting EL status. We do not offer guidance on how to determine whether English development is impacted by disabilities; this should be up to the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to decide.