The senate is considering updating the criteria for reclassification for English Language Learners (ELL’s) in the state of California with Senate bill 463. When ELL’s are deemed proficient in English, they are moved from being ELL’s to being Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) students. These students move into English only classrooms and move away from needing resources to continue learning English.
The curricula in reclassifying ELL’s is disputed among researchers, educators, and language experts, with some rallying for earlier reclassification (since students who are reclassified tend to outperform ELL’s) while others are content with the current reclassification methods.
Because districts determines their own reclassification standard, the level of advancement demanded to reclassify depends on the district, and is disputed. The bill aims to create a more streamlined reclassification across the state, and would impost a state-mandated program. The bill would also aim to delete obsolete provisions related to reclassification for ELL’s.
The proposed bill would
- Delete the provision requiring the department to establish procedures for the reclassification of a pupil from English learner to English proficient,
- Require a local educational agency that has one or more pupils who are English learners in any of grades 3 to 12, and who do not have an individualized education program, that specifies the pupil requires assistance due to language proficiency issues, to determine whether to reclassify such a pupil as English proficient according to specified factors.
- Authorize a local educational agency to determine whether to reclassify such a pupil in kindergarten, grade 1, or grade 2 according to similar specified factors.
- Require the department, with the approval of the state board, to develop guidance for local educational agencies to implement those provisions.
- Require the department, in consultation with the state board, to develop and submit recommendations to the Legislature regarding the appropriate reclassification criteria for ELL’s with individualized education that specify the pupil requires assistance due to language proficiency issues.
- Determine minimum scores on specified assessments for reclassification of a pupil as English proficient, and would provide that an ELL is immediately eligible for reclassification if the pupil attains those minimum scores on the assessments, unless the local educational agency determines there is academic-related evidence the pupil will not be successful in a mainstream curriculum.
- Require the department to develop a rubric to measure academic-related evidence.
- Require a local educational agency that has a numerically significant pupil subgroup of English learners or that includes specific goals and actions for that pupil subgroup in its local control and accountability plan to complete specified actions for purposes of reclassifying pupils as English proficient.