Iowa ELL Resources

Map of Iowa

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Iowa's schools were home to more than 28,500 English language learners. As of the 2014-2015 school year, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Iowa were Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Bosnian, and Karen languages. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

State ELL Resources

State Agency: Iowa Department of Education

ELL Website: English Language Learners

ELP Standards

ELP Standards: ELPA21

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Iowa Assessments

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Iowa ESSA State Plan

Statewide Organizations

Iowa State Education Association

Iowa State 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.

ASK Resource Center

ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center serves as the state of Iowa’s parent training and information center for families of children with disabilities.

Mid-America TESOL

MIDTESOL serves mid-America teachers of English from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri to speakers of other languages.

Iowa: Seal of Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy has been adopted statewide in Iowa. 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.

Note: Regulations change with time. These guidelines were compiled in January of 2012 and updated in January 2020. If you see something that needs updating, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado. For more detailed information regarding ELL guidelines and policies at the state and federal levels, please see the following:


National Center for Education Statistics. (2018.) English language learner (ELL) students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, fall 2000 through fall 2016. 

U.S. Department of Education. Our Nation’s English Learners. Most Common Non-English Languages Spoken by English Learners.