Guide: English Language Learners

What does it mean for my child to be categorized as an English Language Learner (E.L.L.)?

Children in need of E.L.L. services are identified by their scores on an English proficiency test called the Language Assessment Battery-Revised or LAB-R. Your child will only need to take the LAB-R if he or she is newly enrolled, and you indicated on the Home Language Identification Survey, or H.L.I.S., that a language other than English is used in your home.

If your child scored below a set level on the LAB-R, he or she is required to receive E.L.L. services. However, you may select the E.L.L. program you wish for your child by indicating so on a Parent Survey and Program Selection Form. Your child’s school is responsible for informing you of the different E.L.L. programs available and for delivering those services to your child.

E.L.L. options include: a Transitional Bilingual Education, or T.B.E., program, which provides instruction in your native language as well as English; an English as a Second Language, or E.S.L., program, which provides instruction in English with targeted support; and a dual-language program in which your child is instructed in both English and your native language alongside native English speakers.

E.L.L. students who have been in a public school in the United States for less than two years may face different criteria for being promoted. If an E.L.L. student has been in public school for less than three years, he or she can take all of the Regents exams in his or her native language, except for the English Regents, which he or she must pass in English.

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test is administered once each May, and if your child scores above a set level, he or she is no longer classified as E.L.L. and can enter a monolingual program.

More information about E.L.L. instruction can be found at:

This answer was researched, reported and written by Jessica Campbell. To correct, improve or enhance an answer, e-mail