December 14, 2009



ISBE DELL e-Broadcast 2009.174 - New English Language Proficiency Cut Scores

The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted a new definition of English language proficiency for students in Illinois schools.  Effective January 1, 2010, a student must obtain an overall composite proficiency level of 4.8 as well as a literacy (reading/writing) composite proficiency level of 4.2 on the ACCESS for ELLs (only Tier B or C) to be considered English language proficient.  Students who meet or exceed these proficiency levels may be transitioned from the TBE/TPI program as allowed under Part 228 of the Illinois Administrative Code.  Transitioning decisions for kindergarten students must only be made using the accountability scores provided on the ACCESS for ELL® English Language Proficiency Test Kindergarten Teacher Report.  This would be the first set of domain scores provided on the Kindergarten Teacher Report.  Any student that does not achieve both of these minimum criteria is considered Limited English Proficient (LEP) and remains eligible for TBE/TPI services.

These new proficiency levels also apply to English proficiency results obtained on the WIDA MODEL and the W-APT screening instruments and should be used to determine program placement.

The new English proficiency definition pertains to all new students who are screened for English proficiency with the WIDA MODEL or the W-APT, and any student participating in the annual ACCESS for ELLs test administration after January 1, 2010.  Therefore, students must meet or exceed the new proficiency levels on their 2010 ACCESS for ELLs test in order to be transitioned from a TBE/TPI program at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

Please note:  The new proficiency levels are not to be applied retroactively and DO NOT apply to students who were transitioned from a TBE/TPI program based on the previous state-approved proficiency levels prior to January 1, 2010.  Previously transitioned students do not need to be re-tested.  Similarly, eligibility/program placement decisions made prior to January 1, 2010 based on the previous state-approved proficiency levels are not to be reversed during this 2009-2010 transition school year.

If you have any questions about these new criteria, please contact the Division of English Language Learning at (312) 814-3850.