Rhode Island: ELL Resources

As of the 2012-13 school year, Rhode Island's schools were home to more than 8,500 English language learners (ELLs), which marks a 12% decrease from the 2002-2003 school year (Migration Policy Institute, 2015). Currently, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Rhode Island are Spanish, Creole and Pidgin, Portuguese, Central Khmer, and Chinese.

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

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards

ELP Assessment: WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Rhode Island State Assessment Program (RISAP)

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Rhode Island Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Rhode Island State ESSA Plan

Statewide Organizations


RITELL (Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners) is a non-profit organization for ESOL and Bilingual Education professionals in Rhode Island and an affiliate of TESOL.

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 Parent Information Network (RIPIN)

RIPINs mission is to assist individuals, parents, families, and children to achieve their goals for health, education, and socio-economic well-being by providing information, training, education, support, and advocacy for person/family centered care and system change.

College Planning Center of RI

The College Planning Center of RI offers students and parents advice on college planning and financial aid. Information is available in Spanish.

Rhode Island: Seal of Biliteracy

Rhode Island adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in 2016. 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. 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. Rhode Island Rate of EL Growth (1997/98-2007/08). Compiled July 2010 and retrieved from http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/t3sis/state/rhodeisland/.