When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in 2015, it was seen as a significant step forward for English learners (ELs). ESSA increased accountability for ELs, including their progress towards English proficiency and their performance in academic subjects. More than four years later, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing how they intend to meet their commitments under ESSA. But despite anticipation of a clear vision for the future of EL education policy, overall, these plans appear to not have met this goal; they present a fractured vision and considerable variability. This report provides a detailed breakdown of key aspects of these state plans. It examines policies governing how students are identified as ELs, assessed, and eventually exited from EL status once they reach English proficiency. It also discusses how ELs' academic achievement is tracked and the extent to which ELs are included in state accountability systems.
Federal Programs and Grants
English Learner Identification