Tennessee: ELL Resources

Map of Tennessee

In 2019, Tennessee’s schools were home to more than 50,000 English language learners. In recent years, the most common five languages spoken by ELLs in Tennessee have been Spanish, Arabic, Somali, Chinese, and Kurdish. (U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics)

Tennessee 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.

Note: For additional state-by-state data and information, see New America's English Learner Accountability Hub.

State ELL Resources

Tennessee Department of Education

Related Resources

Statewide Organizations

Tennessee TESOL

TNTESOL's mission is to develop the expertise of its members and others involved in teaching English to speakers of other languages to help them foster effective communication in diverse settings while respecting individuals& language rights.

Tennessee Education Association

Tennessee Education 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.

Support and Training for Exceptional Parents

STEP empowers parents through information, training and support to become effective partners with professionals in planning appropriate educational programs for their children.

Note: Regulations change with time. These guidelines were compiled in January of 2012 and updated in May 2022. 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:


U.S. Department of Education. Our Nation’s English Learners. Most Common Non-English Languages Spoken by English Learners.