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A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners
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Rhode Island

As of the 2007-2008 school year, Rhode Island's schools were home to more than 7,420 English language learners (ELLs), which marks a 17% decrease from the 1997-1998 school year (NCELA, 2010). The top five languages or language groups spoken by ELLs in Rhode Island are Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Vietnamese and Hmong (EPE, 2009).

Rhode Island is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), joining in 2003. 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: Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

ELL Website: English Language Learners

Laws & Regulations

The following documents offer additional information about statewide ELL regulations:

Regulations Governing the Education of English Language Learners* (PDF)

ELL Identification

See the ELL Identification Procedure,* resource, as well as the Home Language Surveys available in multiple languages at ELLs in RI.

Placement Exam: WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards


ELL Instruction

See pages 10-11 of Regulations Governing the Education of English Language Learners* for information on statewide ELL instruction guidelines, as well as the Program Description Worksheet.*

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Rhode Island State Assessment Program (RISAP)

In addition, the Rhode Island Department of Education, New Hampshire Department of Education, and Vermont Department of Education have developed a common set of Grade-Level Expectations, known as the New England Common Assessment Program Grade-Level Expectations (NECAP GLEs), and test specifications in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. Building on the success of the NECAP collaboration in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing, the states have developed common assessment targets and test specifications for Science. Grade-Span Expectations (GSEs) for high school students in Mathematics, Reading and Writing have been developed for grades 9-10 and 11-12.

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Rhode Island Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

Statewide Organizations

NEA Rhode Island

NEA Rhode Island 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.

Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals

Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

Rhode Island State Parent Information Resource Centers

The goal of the Rhode Island State PIRC&s Project School Connect (PSC) is to bring families and educators into partnership through education on the benefits received by students, parents and schools when families, schools and communities come together for student success.

The Latino College Access Coalition

The Latino College Access Coalition is a partnership of community organizations based in Rhode Island where Latino students and parents can find expert advice on college planning, financial aid & financial literacy.


Editorial Projects in Education (EPE). "Most Common Non-English Languages Spoken by ELL Youths, by State." Perspectives on a Population: English-Language Learners in American Schools (Education Week's Quality Counts 2009 Report). Pg. 13. Retrieved from January 2009.

Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students. Rhode Island Rate of EL Growth (1997/98-2007/08). Compiled July 2010 and retrieved from

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