Tennessee: ELL Resources

As of the 2012-13 school year, Tennessee's schools were home to more than 32,000 English language learners (ELLs), which marks a 20% increase from the 2002-2003 school year (Migration Policy Institute, 2015). Currently, the most common languages spoken by ELLs in Tennessee are Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Somali, and Kurdish.

Tennessee is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment). WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners which offers states programming for identifying and annually assessing the English language development of its English learners.

State ELL Resources

State Agency: Tennessee Department of Education

ELL Websites:

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards

ELP Assessment: WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP)

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes


Statewide Organizations

Tennessee Education Association

Tennessee Education Association is a National Education Association State Affiliate that regularly lobbies legislators for the resources schools need, campaigns for higher professional standards for the teaching profession, and files legal actions to protect academic freedom and the rights of school employees.

Tennessee State Parent Information Resource Centers

Tennessee Voices for Children, Inc. speaks out as active advocates for the emotional and behavioral well-being of children and their families.

Tennessee TESOL

TNTESOL&s mission is to develop the expertise of its members and others involved in teaching English to speakers of other languages to help them foster effective communication in diverse settings while respecting individuals& language rights.



Ruiz Soto, Ariel G., Sarah Hooker, and Jeanne Batalova. 2015. States and Districts with the Highest Number and Share of English Language Learners. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/states-and-districts-highest-number-and-share-english-language-learners

Ruiz Soto, Ariel G., Sarah Hooker, and Jeanne Batalova. 2015. Top Languages Spoken by English Language Learners Nationally and by State. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/number-and-growth-students-us-schools-need-english-instruction-2009

Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students. Tennessee Rate of EL Growth (1997/98-2007/08). Compiled July 2010 and retrieved from http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/t3sis/state/tennessee/.

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