New U.S. Department of Education Regulations on Assessment and Accountability for ELLs

In September 2006, the U.S. Department of Education released final regulations on calculating adequate yearly progress (AYP) for ELLs. These regulations had been in draft form for over two years, but most states have been operating as if they were in final form for some time now. The main provisions of the regulations are:

  • During their first year in U.S. schools, ELLs can be exempt from taking the state reading/language arts assessment.
  • Also during their first year in U.S. schools, ELLs must take the state math assessment, but the scores from the math assessment do not have to be included in the calculation of AYP.
  • For the purposes of meeting AYP's 95 percent participation requirement during that first year, ELLs must take the English language proficiency assessment. (ELLs are already required to take this assessment as per other NCLB mandates.)
  • Even if ELLs do not take the reading/language arts assessment during their first year in U.S. schools, this first year must count as the first of three years in which a student may take the reading/language arts assessment in their native language.
  • States are required to report on the number of first-year ELLs who were exempt from participating in the English reading/language arts assessment.
  • Students who exit the ELL subgroup because they've attained English language proficiency can have their scores count in the ELL subgroup for AYP calculations for up to two years.
  • If these "exited" ELLs are included in the ELL subgroup, ALL "exited" ELLs must be included, not just those who score proficient.


This summary of new regulations was republished with permission of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).