English Learners

Mother laughing with older son

Resources from the Federal Department of Education

ED.gov Office of Civil Rights (OCR): English Learners

The following materials include information for students and parents, OCR guidance and resources for education officials about their obligations to students who are English Learners (EL) and parents who are Limited English Proficiency (LEP), and added resources with related information.

Q&A Regarding Inclusion of English Learners with Disabilities in English Language Proficiency Assessments and Title III Annual Measurable Achievement

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance to help States and local educational agencies (LEAs) understand how Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Titles I and III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) address the inclusion of English Learners with disabilities in annual State English Language Proficiency assessments.  These documents are available below. The 2014 guidance was amended by the 2015 Addendum.

  • July 2015 Addendum: PDF (216KB)  
  • July 2014 Cover Letter: Word (203KB) | PDF (216KB)  
  • July 2014 Q&A: Word (250KB) | PDF (94KB)

English Learner Tool Kit: Tools and Resources for Addressing English Learners with Disabilities

This is the sixth chapter of the English Learner Tool Kit, which is intended to help State and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) meet their obligations to English Learners (ELs). This tool kit should be read in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Dear Colleague Letter on “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents,” published in January 2015, which outlines SEAs’ and LEAs’ legal obligations to ELs under civil rights laws and other Federal requirements. You also can access the entire English Learner Toolkit for State and Local Education Agencies (SEAs and LEAs).

Resources from the Federally Funded Projects and Centers

Identifying and supporting English learner students with learning disabilities: Key issues in the literature and State practice

This report was authored by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. This review of research and policy literature distills several key elements of processes that can help identify and support English learner students with learning disabilities. It also describes current guidelines and protocols used by the 20 States with the largest populations of English learner students. This report informs education leaders who are setting up processes to determine which English learner students may need placement in special education programs as opposed to other assistance.


RTI-Based SLD Identification Toolkit: Considerations for English Learners

This webpage contains guidance for the instruction of students who are culturally or linguistically diverse and for making valid decisions for determining special education eligibility in the following areas: Tier 1 Core Instruction, Tiers 2 and 3 Interventions, and Culturally Responsive Assessments and Interpretation. This page also includes references that provide additional information about the cultural- and linguistic-sensitivity of assessments.

Video: English Learners with Learning Disabilities

This video of a webcast features bilingual speech-language pathologist Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan. The presenter discusses effective assessment and instruction strategies for English learners (ELs) with learning disabilities (LD), as well as ways to help encourage the active involvement of parents of ELs with LD in their children's schools. Colorin Colorado is a bilingual site for educators and families of English learners (ELs).