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Identification & Placement
Procedures for the English Learner Identification
Proper identification of English Learners (ELs) helps ensure that the district’s English language acquisition program is best designed to meet the needs of its students. To develop comprehensive English language acquisition and academic programs for English Learners, districts, schools, charters and facility schools must first have accurate knowledge regarding student's English Language Proficiency level. In Colorado, the English Language Proficiency Act (ELPA) requires all districts and schools to identify English learners. In addition, Colorado Senate Bill 109, CRS 22-24-106 requires the use of one common assessment to identify EL students. Colorado administers the Screener for Kindergarten and WIDA Screener for grades 1-12 as the state mandated placement assessment which must be used as one indicator to determine English language proficiency of newly enrolled and returning students. Per federal guidelines, students with a primary or home language other than English must be screened and placed within 30 days from the beginning of the school year. Throughout the remainder of the school year, this screening and placement determination must happen within two weeks of the student's enrollment.
Students in second semester, first-grade through grade 12 are assessed using the WIDA Screener. Kindergarten and first semester, first-grade students will be assessed using the Screener for Kindergarten beginning SY22-23. As of July 1, 2022, the Kindergarten W-APT assessment will no longer be available for Colorado schools and districts to use in the English Learner Identification process. Please read important information about the transition to Screener for Kindergarten and discontinuing the use of the W-APT below.
- Standardized Identification of English Learners (PDF)
- Updated -- WIDA Screener (grades 1 -12) Guidance (PDF)
- New -- Screener for Kindergarten Guidance (PDF)
School districts, charter schools and facility schools must use the Colorado Standardized Identification of English Learners procedures to identify ELs when in-person instruction or in-person assessment occurs during SY21-22. Interim EL Identification Guidance and Procedures (pdf) are intended to be used when in-person instruction is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, district and schools may use Interim EL Identification procedures when families or guardians have opted students into remote instruction and whose health concerns, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow for travel to in-person assessment. For more information about Colorado Interim Guidance procedures and resources, please visit the COVID-19 and CLDE webpage.
Transition to Screener for Kindergarten Occurring in SY22-23
WIDA Screener for Kindergarten is a new individually administered paper-and-pencil test that helps educators identify students as English Learners (ELs) in Kindergarten and 1st semester first grade. Colorado will continue to administer W-APT to kindergarten and 1st semester first grade students during SY21-22. The full transition and requirement for districts to administer WIDA Screener Kindergarten will start SY22-23. CDE will not be providing cut scores to align to Colorado English language proficiency levels at this time. During SY21-22 the Office of CLDE will collect data to set cut point guidance to be disseminated for use in SY22-23. Additionally, CLDE anticipates to provide supplemental test administration training in the Spring of 2022 after cut point data is collected and guidance is developed and disseminated.
WIDA has decided to retire the Kindergarten W-APT assessment at the end of school year 21-22. The W-APT training and assessment materials will be removed from the WIDA Secure Portal on June 30, 2022, and the assessment will no longer be supported. The Screener for Kindergarten Training Tile in WIDA’s Secure Portal was activated on May 1, 2021 for LEAs to begin to explore assessment materials and to prepare for test administration next year. Districts and schools should also be reviewing training modules & test certification quizzes and other information related to the Screener for Kindergarten during SY21-22. CDE will not be suppling assessment kits. Student and test administrator materials can be downloaded at no cost or can be purchased through the WIDA Store.
Annual English Language Proficiency Assessment for English Learners
ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment given annually to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English learners (NEP/LEP). It provides educators and parents information about the ELP level in the language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Students who qualify for Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEP) but parents have formally opted-out of programs, are not exempt from testing. This assessment aligns to the Colorado English Language Proficiency Standards (CELP). Please contact the Assessment Office for more information or training dates for ACCESS.
ACCESS cut points to guide districts in making NEP, LEP and FEP determinations for state reporting
First Grade Second Semester Grades 2-12
Civil Rights Obligations and Guidance
- Guidance for school districts to ensure equal access for all children to public schools, regardless of immigration status
- Guidance for schools' civil rights obligations to English learner students and parents
- A fact sheet for families and school staff on the limitations on DHS Immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations
- Rights for All Student to Enroll in School
- Standardized Identification of English Learners: Requirement & Process Presentation (PDF)
- Home Language Surveys Samples, OELA Toolkit, Chapter 1
- Parent Opt-Out Notification Sample, OELA Toolkit, Chapter 7
- Parent Notification Letter Sample
- English Language Development Guidebook
- WIDA Flyers Explaining ELL Status in different languages
- W-APT Non Disclosure Agreement
- WIDA Non Disclosure and User Agreement