Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners
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As of the 2007-2008 school year, Washington's schools were home to more than 94,000 English language learners (ELLs), which marks a 65% increase from the 1997-1998 school year (NCELA, 2010). The top five languages or language groups spoken by ELLs in Washington are Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog (EPE, 2009).

State ELL Resources

State Agency: State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

ELL Websites:

ELL Manual: Washington State Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program Guidelines* (PDF)

Laws & Regulations

Washington state law WAC 392-160 defines "Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program" as a system of instruction which:

  • Uses two languages, one of which is English, as a means of instruction to build upon and expand language skills to enable a student to achieve competency in English.
  • Teaches concepts and knowledge in the primary language of a student, while the student also acquires English language skills.
  • Tests students in the subject matter in English.

ELL Identification

Identification Procedures are outlined in the Washington State Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program Guidelines* (pages 3-5). 

Home Language Survey: A Home Language Survey is provided on the website and page 4 of the Program Guidelines.* Translations are also available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

Placement Exam: Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA Placement)

Parent Notifications: Parent letters notifying students of placement in an English language development program are currently available in 15 languages on the state website.

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: English Language Development Standards

ELP Assessment: WELPA Annual Test

Parent Notifications: Parent letters notifying regarding AMAOs are currently available in 16 languages on the state website.

ELL Instruction

Information about Washington's guidelines regarding ELL instruction is available on pages 24-26 of the Program Guidelines.*

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Measurements of Student Progress (MSP)

ELL Accommodations: Accommodations Information

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

Statewide Organizations

AFT Washington

AFT Washington is a state federation affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. We represent about 4,500 members including faculty from community and technical colleges and pre-K.

Washington Association for the Education of Speakers of Other Languages

WAESOL, the Washington state affiliate to Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), is a professional, non-profit organization whose purpose is to serve members of the ESL community in the state of Washington.

Washington Education Association

Washington 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.

Washington State Parent Information Resource Centers

The Washington State PIRC provides meaningful and useful information, training and education to parents (families) with at-risk children through on-site regional activities and a technology-supported statewide dissemination design.


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. Washington Rate of EL Growth (1997/98-2007/08). Compiled July 2010 and retrieved from

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