Colorado: ELL Resources

As of the 2012-13 school year, Colorado's schools were home to more than 114,000 English language learners (ELLs), which marks a 33% increase from the 2002-2003 school year (Migration Policy Institute, 2015). Currently, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Colorado are Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

Colorado is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), fully adopting WIDA in 2013. 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: Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

ELL Website: Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education

ELL Manual: Guidebook on Designing, Delivering, and Evaluating Services for English Learners (updated 10/16)

Toolkit: Learners who are Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Suspected of Having Educational Disabilities

Laws & Regulations

The following documents offer additional information about statewide ELL regulations:

ELL Identification

Home Language Survey: Title III information includes a Home Language Survey.

Placement Exam: W-APT

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards

ELP Assessment: WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs

ELL Instruction

The Colorado State Department of Education allows LEAs a good deal of flexibility in determining the means by which English learners are instructed.

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Colorado Assessment Information

Accommodations information: Annual Instructional & Assessment Accommodations Training (PPT)

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Colorado Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Colorado ESSA State Plan


Statewide Organizations

AFT Colorado

CFT, the Colorado statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, gains improved working conditions for teachers and better learning conditions for students by proposing statewide tenure laws, teacher certification standards, school district reorganization, and improved school financing.

Colorado Education Association

Colorado 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.

Parent Resource Centers

State parent information resource centers are listed in this directory compiled by the Center for Parent Information & Resources. Also see Promising Partnership Practices in Colorado.

Colorado TESOL

CoTESOL is a dynamic, growing organization of educators involved in various aspects of second language learning and bilingual education.

Colorado: Seal of Biliteracy

Colorado adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in 2017, following a pilot program in local districts. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.



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.

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.

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