Massachusetts: ELL Resources

Map of Massachusetts

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Massachusetts’s schools were home to more than 86,500 English language learners. As of the 2014-2015 school year, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Massachusetts were Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian and Haitian-Creole, and Portuguese-based creoles and pidgins. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

Massachusetts is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment). 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: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

ELL Website: English Language Learners

ELL Resources: Identification, Assessment, Placement, & Reclassification of ELs

Home Language Survey: Massachusetts provides a suggested Home Language Survey translated into multiple languages.

Title III: Title III Guidance

ELP Standards & Assessment

ELP Standards: WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards

ELP Assessment: WIDA-ACCESS for ELLs

Statewide Standards-Based Assessment

Assessment: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Additional Information

NCELA: Title III Information

WIDA: Massachusetts Contact Information

Common Core State Standards: Yes

ESSA: Massachusetts ESSA State Plan

Statewide Organizations

AFT Massachusetts

AFT Massachusetts is a statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers that works for education reform and the preservation of public schools.

Massachusetts Association of Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages

Massachusetts Association of Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MATSOL) is a professional association representing teachers, English language learners and their families in K-12 public schools in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts DOE Resources for Family and Community Involvement

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers resources for family literacy and community involvement, providing information about program design and links to other useful Web sites.

Massachusetts DOE Resources for Family and Community Involvement: Additional Resources

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers online federal resources for educational excellence, family resources from the MA Department of Social Services, and guidelines for learning at museums.

Federation for Children for Special Needs

Provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities.

Massachusetts Teachers Association

Massachusetts Teachers 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.

Massachusetts: Seal of Biliteracy

On November 22, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law the "Act Relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids," Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2017, commonly referred to as the LOOK Act. The State Seal of Biliteracy is one of the key elements of the LOOK Act. 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.