Frequently Asked Questions

    What is ELD?

    English Language Development (ELD) refers to an instructional program for students who are developing proficiency in English. English Language Learners (ELLs) refer to the students who are enrolled in ELD classes. Many ELs are fluent in more than two languages when they begin to learn English.

    Who is eligible for ELD?

    Students whose heritage language is other than English and who are not yet proficient in English are eligible for ELD. Students who were born in the United States and speak a heritage language other than English are enrolled in ELD programs if they need to develop proficiency in English. Americans often speak another first language and many do not learn English until they are in school. The key indicator is the student's home language and English proficiency in all domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing on grade level.

    What are the criteria for inclusion to be in ELD?

    The Home Language Survey is completed by every student at registration. If the survey indicates a home language influence other than English, the ELD teacher reviews the student's records for evidence of academic achievement and proficiency in English. In addition, the ELD teacher conducts an initial evaluation through an oral interview with the student. If the interview indicates that the student may need ELD support, the ELD teacher will administer the WAPT to determine the student's level of language proficiency and appropriate placement.

    Is there a typical time line for an average student to develop English proficiency?

    There is considerable variability in the time it takes learners to become proficient in English. Second language acquisition research suggests that students develop basic social and interpersonal communications skills within two years. However, reaching "native-like proficiency" in academic language may take from five to nine years with appropriate support. Without appropriate support, an English Language Learner is unlikely to achieve competency in the academic English that is necessary to succeed in school.

    When can a student exit ELD?

    Students must meet the exit criteria of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the State College Area School District to be exited from ELD program in our district. PDE requires that an English language learner score BASIC on the PSSA in reading and math; score Bridging (5) on the Access Test for ELs; and achieve final grades of C or better in core content areas or earn scores on district assessments that are comparable to Basic performance on the PSSA. In addition to the PA exit criteria, students must be working independently and successfully within instructional groups in the grade level/content area courses without individual modifications. ELD teachers collaborate with school faculty to make exit decisions.

    The academic progress of students who exit the ELD Program is monitored for four years through periodic review of grads, district and state assessments, and teacher reports.

    How are English Language Learners (ELLs) graded?

    At the Elementary Level, ELLs are graded based on their appropriate English Language Proficiency. Classroom teachers and ELD teachers may collaborate to determine the grades. 

    The following procedures concerning grading are implemented:

    In the primary grades, complete the report using the symbols given.  It is proper to select the appropriate level for each student, even if the level is lower than the student's assigned grade level.

    In the middle learning community and upper learning community grade levels, ELs must be given a grade.  It is proper to select the appropriate level for each student, even if the level is lower than the student's assigned grade level.  Classroom teachers and ELD teachers collaborate to determine grades. 

    At the Secondary Level, the following protocol is in place:

    Report Cards

    At the secondary level in State College, teachers typically use one of the following options:

    Assign a grade (A, B, C, D or E) and follow it with any appropriate explanatory comments.

    If a child enters more than half way into the marking period and there are few or no assessments, give No Grade (NG).

    Pass/Fail.  If a child speaks little English, but appears to make an effort to do homework, take tests, and pay attention in class, give a "P" (Pass).  (At middle school level, a Pass can be given for one nine-week period; at high school level, a Pass can be given for one or two semesters.)  If a student makes no effort, is not attentive and gives no indication of having learned anything, give an "F" (Fail).  Be sure to ask the ELD teacher for a form to have the pass/fail option approved before the end of the marking period.

    If a teacher has made adaptations for assessments, give a grade PLUS the comment "16" which indicates individualized criteria.  (Note: a "16" is not recorded on student's cumulative grade or transcript at the high school level.)


    BICS = 
    Basic Interpersonal Communications Skills
    CALP = Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
    EL   = English Learner
    ELL = English Language Learner

    ELD = English Language Development
    ESL = English as a Second Language
    LEP = Limited English Proficiency
    CLD = Culturally & Linguistically Diverse
    HLS = Home Language Survey
    NES = Non-English Speaker
    FES = Fluent English Speaker
    LES = Limited English Speaker
    TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages





Last Modified on October 5, 2020