English Learner Programs and Services

One of the functions of the BME Department is to ensure that students identified as English Learners (ELs) have access to the core content while simultaneously acquiring English Language Proficiency.

The sections below will outline how our department provides services to schools so that they may support our ELs.


Identification

The process for identifying, assessing and serving our EL students is crucial to ensure that they receive the highest quality education in the most appropriate setting. The flowchart below outlines this process.

LUS Process Map

New Mexico Language Usage Survey

The identification process begins with initial enrollment at the New Mexico school site. As part of the enrollment packet, the parents complete the New Mexico Language Usage Survey (NMLUS). The NMLUS is completed only ONCE during a student’s tenure in New Mexico public schools.

Front office personnel and school administrators should be able to explain to parents that the purpose of the NMLUS is to provide appropriate educational services to students who may need additional support in developing English proficiency. It is advised that front office personnel meet one-on-one with parents as they complete the NMLUS. Parents should be informed that although questions are asked about primary/home language, the NMLUS would never be used to determine immigration status.

NM Language Usage Survey Form

English Proficiency Screener

Students must be assessed for language proficiency within 20 school days if a language other than English (LOTE) is noted on the NMLUS. After the language screening is complete, the student will be classified as either an “English Learner” (EL) or “Initial Fluent English Proficient (I-FEP).

WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) for Kindergarten

The W-APT is an English language placement test for kindergarten students, if a language other than English (LOTE), is indicated on the NMLUS. This assessment is administered with “paper and pencil” and requires specialized forms and documents that can only be obtained through the WIDA website. Scores of the W-APT are interpreted according to the chart below to determine if the student is an English Learner (EL) or Initial Fluent English Proficient (I-FEP).

Grade Level Upon Enrollment Language Domains Assessed W-APT score identifies student as an EL if… W-APT score indicates student is NOT an EL (I- FEP) if…
Kinder-1st semester Listening and Speaking 26 or lower 27 or higher
Kinder-2nd semester Listening and Speaking 26 or lower 27 or higher
Reading 13 or lower 14 or higher
Writing 16 or lower 17 or higher
WIDA Online Screener for Grades 1-12

The WIDA Online Screener is an English language placement test for students in Grades 1 – 12, if a language other than English (LOTE) is indicated on the NMLUS. This assessment is administered online ONLY. All test administrators must be certified employees and take an online training through the WIDA website before administering the screener. Scores from the WIDA Online Screener are interpreted according to the chart below to determine if the student is an English Learner (EL) or Initial Fluent English Proficient (I-FEP).

Grade Level Upon Enrollment Language Domains Assessed WIDA Online Screener score identifies student as an EL if… WIDA Online Screener score indicates student is NOT an EL (I-FEP) if…
1-12 Composite Score 4.5 or lower 5.0 or higher
Program Placement Options
Program Option for English Learners English Language Development Instruction to develop proficiency in English Spanish Language Arts Instruction to develop proficiency in Spanish Core Content in Spanish Instruction to achieve high academic levels in science, math, and social studies in Spanish and English
Dual Language (DL) Bilingual Program Yes Yes Yes
Maintenance Bilingual Program (MT) Yes Yes No
Structured English Immersion Program (SEI) Yes No No

Availability of dual language and maintenance bilingual programs vary by school site. Please ask the principal about the bilingual program offered at your child’s school.

Initial English Learner Placement Notification

Any parent whose child is identified as “EL” has the right to select the program in which the child will develop English proficiency. Within 20 school days of registering at the school site, depending upon the program offered at the school site, the parents will be offered one of the following programs via the “Initial English Learner Placement Notification” letter.

  • Dual Language Bilingual Program-for ELs and non-ELs
  • Maintenance Bilingual Program- for ELs Only
  • Structured English Immersion (SEI)-English Language Development Only

Initial English Learner Placement Notification Letter

Annual English Learner Placement Notification

Any parent whose child continues to be identified as “EL” based on the annual English proficiency exam (ACCESS) has the right to be informed of the child’s continuing status as well as select the program in which the child will develop English proficiency.

Within 20 school days of the beginning of the school year, depending upon the program offered at the school site, the parents will be offered one of the following programs via the “Annual English Learner Placement Notification” letter.

  • Dual Language Bilingual Program- for ELs and non-ELs
  • Maintenance Bilingual Program- for ELs Only
  • Structured English Immersion (SEI)-English Language Development Only

Annual English Learner Placement Notification

Annual English Language Proficiency Assessment

Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Learners (ACCESS)

The ACCESS for ELs assesses English proficiency of ELs ONLY. Every EL student is tested with the ACCESS annually in January/February, even if parents choose to “opt-out” their child from ELD instruction and/or bilingual instruction. Once a student scores a 5.0, the student is considered Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP) and is not administered the test again.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Performance Definitions

The figure below defines each level of the ACCESS assessment for English Learners. An EL student will be reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP) when the student reaches a level of 5.0 (Bridging) or higher, based on the student’s composite score.

ELL Performance Definitions Chart

Reclassification and Monitoring Progress of EL and R-FEP Students

New Mexico will maintain the proficiency score for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 at the composite score of 5.0 or higher, which also serves as the exit criterion from EL status. At this English Language Proficiency level, students are considered “reclassified fluent English proficient” (RFEP). These students will continue to be monitored for 2 years after the initial reclassification date using the “Two-Year Student Monitoring Form”.

Expected Rate of Reclassification

Beginning in 2018 with the transition year for NMPED’s school grade reporting system, and then fully integrated into school grades released in 2019, accountability toward English-language proficiency (ELP) will occur through a single measure of growth for students who are English Learners (EL).

The English language proficiency (ELP) growth targets are a measure of the extent to which students are gaining ELP over a reasonable period of time. The longer students are identified as EL students, the less likely they are to graduate on time and to acquire coursework required for post-secondary advancement. Research indicates that ELs generally require from four to seven years in developing the academic language proficiency in English necessary to be successful academically (Cook, Boals & Lundberg, 2011; Goldenberg, 2008; Greenberg, Motamedi, Singh & Thompson, 2008; Hakuta, Butler & Witt, 2000; Saunders, Goldenberg & Marcelletti, 2013).

The NMPED will calculate the ELP indicator in a uniform and consistent manner across all districts across the state. The ELP indicator creates annual growth-to-proficiency targets ensuring that ELs achieve ELP (and exit EL status, reclassifying to fluent English proficient, RFEP) within five years from initial classification. Thus, if EL students meet their annual growth targets, they are “on-track” to achieve ELP within five years of initial classification, which is the state’s long-term ELP goal for each EL student.

Individual Student English Language Proficiency Growth Targets

Monitoring Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP) Students

Title III legislation requires school districts to monitor the progress of reclassified fluent English Proficient (R-FEP) students for two years. R-FEP students are former English Learners who exited the EL program by reaching 5.0 or higher on the ACCESS.

Schools must annually review the academic performance of R-FEP students using the “Two- Year Student Monitoring Form”.

Bilingual Education Two-Year Student Monitoring Form – Elementary

Bilingual Education Two-Year Student Monitoring Form – Secondary