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EL Identification


School districts are required to administer a Home Language Survey to all students enrolled or newly enrolled in the district as the first screening process to identify students with limited English proficiency. The Home Language Survey includes the following four questions:

  1. What language did your son/daughter speak when he/she first learned to talk?
  2. What language does your son/daughter use most frequently at home?
  3. What language do you use most frequently to your son/daughter?
  4. What language do the adults at home most often speak?

The Home Language Survey questions are embedded in Highland's Registration Form.

Form:  Highland Registration 


The Supreme Court emphatically declared that school systems are not agents for enforcing immigration law and determined that the burden undocumented aliens may place on an educational system is not an acceptable argument for excluding or denying educational services to any student.Therefore, school districts are prohibited from requiring U.S. passports, social security numbers, residency permits known as "green cards," or any documentation or inquiry that would indicate whether a child or family is or is not a legal resident or citizen of the United States.


  1. All parents are required to complete a Registration form that includes the Home Language Survey.
  2. The building secretary (elementary) or guidance counselor (middle school/high school) reviews all Registration Forms to determine whether any student meets the criteria for assessment.
  3. If the answer to any of the questions on the HLS indicates a primary home language other than English, a copy of the Registration Form is sent to the Curriculum Office. The original Registration Form becomes part of the student's permanent record. A Preliminary Assessment form may also be completed for some students.
  4. The EL tutor is notified and schedules the student for assessment within ten days to determine the student's reading, writing, listening, speaking and comprehension skills in English.
  5. A district database is maintained in the Curriculum Office containing information on students who have a primary/ home language other than English. The database includes:
    • Date of Entry
    • Current School
    • Date of Birth
    • Grade Level
    • Home Language
    • Achievement test data
    • English Language Proficiency Level
  6. Following evaluation by the EL tutor, the student's EL status is determined. If the student is EL, a recommendation for tutoring placement is made. A letter is sent to parents reporting the findings of the language assessment and evaluation within the timeframe of the state guidelines (Parent Notification Letter). Parents have the option to accept or decline services.

  7. If the student is EL, the district will provide services with parent approval. If the parent declines services, the EL identified student will be monitored throughout the year and EL assistance provided to the classroom teacher.
  8. All students identified by the district as EL will be assessed yearly for language growth using the Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition (OTELA) until all state and district requirements for exiting EL services have been met.
  9. If the student is not EL, a letter reporting the results of the assessment and evaluation is sent to the parents. The student will be monitored by the EL tutor for one year to be certain there are no language related problems.
  10. The following instruments may be used to identify needs and placement of EL students
    1. Home Language Survey
    2. Language Assessment Scales (LAS)
    3. A review of all relevant student records including grades and standardized achievement scores.
    4. Teacher observations (English Proficiency Levels Matrix)


Students learning a new language proceed through different stages or levels of proficiency. Ohio has established five proficiency levels in listening, speaking, reading and writing to categorize EL students at different stages of their English language development. It should be recognized that within each of these levels, students represent a certain range of proficiencies (low, mid, high). The following chart provides summary descriptions of the five proficiency levels:

English Language Proficiency Levels

Source: Ohio Department of Education / Lau Center. Guidelines for the Identification and Assessment of Limited English Proficient Students/English Language Learners