English Learner Education

2020-21 Guidance for Identifying Multilingual Learners for English Language Development during COVID-19

This document provides guidance on how to identify English learners (ELs) in the 2020-21 school year when in-person screening may not always be feasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance discusses in-person screening and provisional screening options for identifying multilingual learners for English Language Development (ELD). The process for provisional identification using any screening tool may not replace the formal identification process. Formal screening must take place as soon as possible once in-person screening is feasible for any student who has been provisionally identified as an EL.

Formal Identification

1. In-person screener – Students can be identified for ELD by using the WIDA screener and following Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines.
2. Remote screener – Students can be identified for ELD by purchasing and administering all four domains of the LAS remote screener. Scores for a student to be proficient on the LAS remote screener (and not need ELD):
· Overall level 4 or 5 and;
· Reading score 4 or higher and;
· Writing score 4 or higher.

Provisional Identification

3. Provisional screener – Students can be provisionally identified for ELD services using the alternate identification guidelines for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Formal identification must take place as soon as possible once in-person screening is feasible for any student who has been provisionally identified for ELD. Minnesota has adopted three provisional screening options:
a. Remote Provisional Screening Tools Available in the WIDA Secure Portal (WIDA Remote “Screener”).

Steps for Enrolling Students

Step 1: Administer the Minnesota home language survey (MNLS) to all newly enrolling students. The survey is found under a user’s account on the TransAct site.

Step 2: Use a screener to determine the English language proficiency of a student if the answer to any of the questions on the MNLS indicates a language other than English.

Step 3: Make a placement decision when the in-person, remote, or provisional screening process is completed. If a provisional screener is used, note that the student will need to be screened in-person or using the LAS remote screener.

Step 4: Notify parents and/or legal guardians of screening test results and placement or provisional placement decisions.

(New) Step 5: Code the student as an EL=Yes in MARSS/Ed-Fi. Students can be coded as EL=Yes in MARSS/Ed-Fi if a formal screening option is used. If a temporary screener is used, the student should be marked as EL=Yes in MARSS/Ed-Fi temporarily until (1) a formal screener or (2) the ACCESS test is administered to verify EL status.

Additional Information

For on-going updates about EL programming during the 2020-21 school year:

1. Visit the MDE EL Education Page and the MDE COVID-19 Updates Page for the most current information.
3. The Minnesota EL Identification and Placement Guidance Document provides a quick overview of identification procedures and staff training requirements. Visit Minnesota’s WIDA membership page for more information.

Contact Information

· Contact MDE EL Programs for information on eligibility and exiting, ELP screening, EL programming and WIDA eLearning courses: mde.el@state.mn.us.
· Contact WIDA Client Services for questions about training materials, test administration procedures, classroom resources, or problems with your WIDA Secure Portal account: 866-276-7735; help@wida.us.
· Contact MDE Statewide Testing for testing policies and procedures for ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS: mde.testing@state.mn.us.
· For student data reporting or financial questions, please contact staff in the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) at marss@state.mn.us.
· For questions about publicly reported data or the MDE Secure Reports, please contact staff in Data and Analytics at mde.analytics@state.mn.us.