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English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Planning and Implementation regarding English Language Learners (ELLs)/ Multilingual Learners (MLLs) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

In December 10, 2015 President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which provides federal funds to improve elementary and secondary education, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.  Proposed regulations under ESSA require each state to develop a plan describing the design and implementation of a single statewide accountability system to improve student academic achievement. The proposed regulations also require state accountability systems to be based on challenging state academic standards and academic assessments, to include all public schools in the state (including public charter schools), and to improve student academic achievement and school success. 

Among other things, ESSA requires states to include the acquisition of English language proficiency by ELLs/MLLs as one factor in overall statewide accountability, provides states with two accountability options regarding recently arrived ELLs/MLLs (including whether to administer the English Language Arts assessment during the first year of arrival, and how to hold schools and districts accountable for their Math and English Language Arts progress), and requires states to set uniform ELL/MLL identification and exit criteria, as well as a timeline for ELLs/MLLs to reach proficiency.

To gather stakeholder input for the formulation of its state plan, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has convened representatives of approximately 90 stakeholder organizations, as well as experts in accountability systems, to participate in an ESSA “Think Tank."   Through in person meetings in Albany on July 14, August 11, and October 7, workgroup conference calls, and a survey, NYSED is gathering input from the Think Tank’s Supporting ELL/MLLs Workgroup on  critical questions concerning ESSA and ELLs/MLLs.

Helpful Links

NYSED Office of Accountability ESSA page

Chief Council of State School Offices Resources:

Critical Area Outline: English Language Learners/Title III Transition

Summary of Provisions Affecting ELLs

Major Provisions of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Related to the Education of English Learners

Webinar Powerpoint

Webinar Recording (audio only)