Illinois: ELL Resources

Map of Illinois

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Illinois's schools were home to more than 197,000 English language learners. As of the 2014-2015 school year, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Illinois were Spanish, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, and Urdu. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

Illinois is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), joining in 2004. 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: Illinois State Board of Education

ELL Website: Multilingual Department

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards


Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Illinois Assessment

Parent Communication: Illinois State Board of Education provides a range of documents for ELL parents.

Additional Information

State Resources: Illinois Title III

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Illinois Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Illinois ESSA State Plan

Early Childhood: Preschool for ELLs Website

Statewide Organizations

Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative, University of Illinois

The Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois is home to more than a dozen projects focused on the education, care, and parenting of young children.

Illinois DREAM Act Information

A summary of statewide legislation makeing Illinois the first state in the country to create a private scholarship fund for undocumented youth.

Illinois: Seal of Biliteracy

Illinois adopted the Seal of Biliteracy in 2013. 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.

Illinois Education Association-NEA

Illinois Education Association-NEA 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.

Illinois Federation of Teachers

The Illinois Federation of Teachers, a statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, represents 103,000 men and women who teach in school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois& community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.

Illinois State Parent Information Resource Centers (Chicago, IL)

Illinois PIRC offers a variety of programs, resources and information to help parents, teachers, and schools statewide increase parent involvement and improve student success.

Illinois State Parent Information Resource Centers (Effinghan, IL)

Illinois PIRC offers a variety of programs, resources and information to help parents, teachers, and schools statewide increase parent involvement and improve student success.

Illinois TESOL/BE

Illinois TESOL-BE is a non-profit professional organization of individuals involved in professional development, legislation, government issues, and special interest groups for the teaching of English to speakers of other languages and bilingual education.

Latinos Progresando

Latinos Progresando is a registered nonprofit organization based in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. We assist clients in applying for immigration benefits, do community education and outreach, and advocate and organize around policy that is just to immigrants.

Tibetan Alliance of Chicago

The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago is a volunteer organization dedicated to empowering Chicago's Tibetan community and fostering its further development. The Tibetan Alliance provides services aimed at enabling the community and each Tibetan to meet their needs and achieve their economic, social, cultural and political goals.

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.