Rhode Island: ELL Resources

Map of Rhode Island

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Rhode Island’s schools were home to a little over 11,000 English language learners. As of the 2014-2015 school year, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Rhode Island were Spanish, Portuguese-based creoles and pidgins, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

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.

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.