ACCESS for ELLs® Annual (English Language Proficiency) 2015 Assessment
The test window for administering the ACCESS for ELLs®, Vermont’s annual English language proficiency assessment, to all ELLs enrolled in K-12 schools throughout the state is Monday, February 23, 2015 – Friday, April 10, 2015. Information about the assessment, including important dates, ELL participation guidelines, preparation for test coordinators & test administrators, online training course requirements and resources, and scores/reports can be found on the AOE website and the WIDA webpage for Vermont.

Contact: Jim McCobb, ELL Coordinator, at 802-479-1273 or

English Language Learners (ELL)

The English Language Learner (ELL) Program administers funds to support programs for limited English proficient (LEP) and bilingual students. These programs are intended to provide needed resources to support high-quality instruction to help immigrant children and youth meet the same challenging performance standards expected of all Vermont students. The program also support a variety of activities related to English language acquisition, language enhancement, academic achievement and immigrant education, including:

WIDA Help Desk

For security purposes, the WIDA Help Desk ( or 1-866-276-7735) has changed its process for sharing passwords with educators who have forgotten them.  WIDA will no longer have access to passwords. If someone forgets the password to her/his account, the WIDA Help Desk can send a link to reset the password.


Title III: Immigrant Education Program Overview
Immigrant Education Program funds are to be specifically targeted to eligible immigrant students and their families through the provision of supplementary programs and services for the underlying purpose of assuring that these students meet the same challenging grade level and graduation standards as mainstream students. In the 2013-2014 school year, two Vermont LEAs (Burlington SD & Chittenden Central Supervisory Union) met the criteria for an Immigrant Subgrant—(1) a “significant increase” in the number of eligible immigrants enrolled in 2012-2013 as compared to the average of the number enrolled in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012; and (2) at least 30 eligible students enrolled in year of the award. Upon submission of a “substantially approvable” application, 2013-2014 funds will be allocated to the Burlington SD and Chittenden School SU to carry out activities that provide enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youth.

Definition of Immigrant Children and Youth
The term “immigrant children and youth” as defined in section 3301(6) of ESEA, means individuals who-

The ESEA also contains a definition of State. Under section 3101(14) of the ESEA, the term “State” means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For this reason, children born overseas to U.S. military personnel, because they were not born in a State, can fall within the ESEA definition of “immigrant child and youth” if they meet all of the other criteria of that definition.

Definition of Significant Increase
To receive an Immigrant Grant Award in 2013-2014, LEAS must have –

  1. positive percentage increase in the average number of eligible immigrant students (in relationship to the total number of immigrants statewide) from SY 10-11 and SY 11-12, as compared to SY 12-13; and
  2. minimum of 30 eligible immigrant students in SY 2012-2013.

Determination of Immigrant Grant Allocation in 2013-2014

Vermont and the World-class Instructional Design & Assessment (WIDA) Consortium
Since 2003 Vermont has been part of the WIDA Consortium (now made up of 24 member states), and works in close collaboration with the WIDA central office staff at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) and other consortium partners--including the member states, the Center for Applied Linguistics, and MetriTech. Click on WIDA for an overview and to learn more about our consortium’s K-12 English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards, Assessment Tools, Training, Resources, Research, News, and Customer Service.

K-12 Primary/Home Language Survey
State and local education agencies are required by law to identify English language learners (ELLs) who require language and academic support services. The first step in identifying ELLs with limited English proficiency is to administer the survey to all students enrolling in K-12 public and private schools in order to identify those who have a primary (first acquired) or home language other than English. Students from linguistically diverse backgrounds should be assessed to determine their level of (academic) English language proficiency. NOTE: This form is available in Microsoft Word and PDF versions below. Please review the instructions included on the survey form. 

UPDATE: Amendment to State Definition of English Language Learner, Program Exit Criteria, and Annual Measurement Achievement Objectives (AMAOs)
The department has recently submitted an amendment of the Consolidated State Application to the US Department of Education in order to reflect the Title III (English Language Acquisition) assessment and accountability system currently being implemented in Vermont. This amendment describes important changes in Vermont’s Definition of English Language Learner (ELL), Exit Criteria from Title III and Title I Language Support Programs, and the Title III accountability system (Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives known as AMAOs). NOTE: The department makes AMAO determinations for ALL districts. However, the consequences for not meeting Title III AMAOs for two or four consecutive years only apply to districts/consortia which receive Title III funds.

Use the link above to view the memo about the amendment and the full amendment proposal. For questions or information, contact Jim McCobb.

English Language Learners in Vermont: Distinguishing Language Difference from Disability - A Resource Guide
Prepared by a broad coalition of interested groups and individuals, this document is intended to supplement the department's 1994 publication, Serving Students Learning English as a Second Language: A Guide for Vermont Educators, that addressed the provision of basic educational services to English Language Learners (ELLs). This new resource guide intends to improve services for ELLs by offering a wide range of information, analysis and resources designed to address significant issues that arise when educators and families realize that a student may need, in addition to ELL services, special education services.

Serving Students Learning English as a Second Language: A Guide for Vermont Educators  
Although this guide was written in 1994, it continues to serve as a reference for administrators and teachers who want to learn about the basic legal and programmatic requirements for meeting the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs). The guide provides information that remains useful and relevant for planning and implementing services at the district and school levels, especially in relation to language acquisition, bottom line legal responsibilities and civil rights policies, and district plans/procedures.


Jim McCobb at or (802) 479-1273

Page Last Updated on November 4, 2015