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Former English Language Learner/Multilingual Learner Services

In September of 2014, the Board of Regents adopted amendments to Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (CR). These regulations establish the legal requirements for the education of English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York State (NYS). CR Part 154 defines Former ELLs as students who were identified as ELLs and have exited ELL status within the past two school years. Upon exiting ELL status, students must continue to receive at least .5 units of study or its equivalent of Integrated English as a New Language (ENL) in English Language Arts (ELA)/Core Content Area or other such services, approved by the Commissioner [CR Part 154-2.3(h)(1)(v)]. The Former ELLs Guidance booklet is designed to provide guidance in developing a program of service for Former ELLs that monitors and supports ongoing English language development and academic progress by providing answers to questions that may be useful in developing a program.

The following form is to be used by New York State Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to document services to be delivered to Former English Language Learners (ELLs). Districts are required to submit this form (one per district) to NYSED by the specified date below. Districts are responsible for collecting school based Former ELL program descriptions in order to complete this form. Schools must retain their individual description of services and have it available for review upon request:

Former ELL Services Guidance Booklet


The following Frequently Asked Questions are taken from the guidance booklet:

Identification and Notification

Q:    Who are considered Former ELLs?

A:       Former ELLs are students who at one time were identified as ELLs and have met the criteria for exiting ELL status within the past two school years. School districts are required to provide these students former ELL services and two years of testing accommodations on NYS assessments.

Q:    How does an ELL exit ELL status?

A:       ELLs can exit ELL status in the following ways:

  • Grades K-12: Scoring at the Commanding/Proficient level on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT).
  • Grades 3-8: Scoring at the Expanding/Advanced level on the NYSESLAT and 3 or above on the New York State ELA assessment within the same school year.
  • Grades 9-12: Scoring at the Expanding/Advanced level on the NYSESLAT and 65 or above on the Regents Exam in English within the same school year.
  • Per CR Part 154-3.4(3), an alternate pathway as a method of assessment as may be prescribed by the Commissioner for students with disabilities.

Q:    Can a student who exited ELL status be re-classified as an ELL?

A:       If an ELL exits ELL status in New York State, then moves out of New York State to reside in another country and returns to a NYS public school after two (2) years, the district will follow the initial identification process, which may include re-identifying the student as an ELL.

Q:    I saw a data report that referred to an Ever ELL. Is this the same as a Former ELL?

A:     An Ever ELL is a student that had been identified as an ELL, but has exited ELL status. A Former ELL is a student that had been identified as an ELL, but has exited ELL status within the past two school years. After two years, a former ELL will be referred to as an Ever ELL.

Q:    What information should districts provide to parents and guardians regarding Former ELL services?

A:       Districts should notify the parent/guardian of the change in the student’s classification, the reason for the change in status, entitlements to supports, and what services will be provided that monitor and support ongoing English language development and academic progress.

Program Requirements

Q:    When designing a program for Former ELLs, what must a district include?

A:       Students must continue to receive at least .5 units of study or its equivalent of Integrated ENL in ELA/Core Content Area or other such services, approved by the Commissioner [CR Part 154- 2.3(h) (1)(v)]. If a district elects to provide “other such services," these services must be at minimum the equivalent of the mandated .5 units of study (at minimum, 90 minutes a week) and include individualized learning support and assessments that measure language and academic progress to improve academic outcomes for these students. Districts must look at student data to determine the most appropriate services.

Q:    Can a district provide more than what is mandated for ELLs?

A:       Yes, districts should assess the individual needs of students and can provide more than the minimum of .5 units of study as needed.

Q:    May Former ELLs receive accommodations on New York State assessments?

A:       Yes, the District must provide Former ELLs testing accommodations on NYS assessments for up to two years after exiting ELL status.

This limited two-year extension in testing accommodations will provide former ELLs an opportunity to demonstrate their content knowledge by leveling the playing field while they continue to develop their linguistic and academic skills.  These testing accommodations will not affect the validity or reliability of the required State assessments nor will they change the academic level or the expected performance criteria of such assessments.  (Board of Regents item)

The Department will implement this policy revision for all impacted New York State Testing Programs for the 2008-2009 academic year, commencing with the Elementary Level Examination in Social Studies (Grade 5) that will be administered in November 2008. (Assessment Notification Memo to the field by David Abrams)

ELLs and Former ELLs are entitled to these ELL Testing Accommodations as per CR Part 154 Regulations.  District staff should make all necessary arrangements in providing these accommodations during all State exams.

Q:    Can Former ELLs remain in bilingual education programs?

A:      Yes, they can remain in a bilingual education program and continue to receive ENL and Home Language Arts instruction, provided that the parents and the district/school deem it is educationally appropriate.

Q:    May Former ELLs receive support services in addition to Former ELL services?

A:       Yes, a district must provide instructional and support services such as Academic Intervention Services (AIS) to former ELLs when the monitoring of their progress indicates a need for such intervention. ENL instruction or regular consultation between the ESOL teacher and mainstream teachers may also be included.

Q:     What  information  about  Former  ELLs  should  schools/districts  retain  in  the  student’s cumulative record?

A:        Schools and districts should retain copies of all criteria used to determine the change in ELLstatus. Summative assessment results must be retained in the student’s cumulative record. Districts should retain a copy of the Former ELL services provided for two years following the exiting of ELL status.