Definition of English Learners and Immigrant Students

Published: 1/19/2017 2:21 PM

English Learners (ELs) come with diverse histories, traditions and varied educational experiencesThe term “English learner” has been defined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Section (ESEA) 8101 (20) and Non-Regulatory Guidance: English Learners and Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Appendix A: Glossary.

English Learner —The term "English learner", when used with respect to an individual, means an individual—
(A) who is aged 3 through 21;
(B) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;
(C)(i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English;
(ii)(I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and
(II) who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or
(iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and
(D) whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual—
(i) the ability to meet the State's proficient level of achievement on State assessments described in section 1111(b)(3);
(ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or
(iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society.
English learners with disabilities – The phrase “English learners with disabilities” refers to English learners who are also “children with disabilities” under the IDEA, as defined in Section 602(3) of that Act and 34 CFR §300.8. (ESEA Section 3201(4))
IMMIGRANT CHILDREN AND YOUTH.—The term 'immigrant children and youth' means individuals who—
(A) are aged 3 through 21;
(B) were not born in any State; and
(C) have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more States for more than 3 full academic years.
(ESEA Section 3201 (5))

Immigrant English Language Learners

An Immigrant student may or may not be an English learner (EL) student. Whether or not an Immigrant student is EL, activities should be provided to enhance instructional opportunities for them to be successful in classrooms in the United States.

Immigrant NCLB Regulation

Immigrant Sample Activities



Gary Martin
Office of Teaching and Learning
Division of Learning Services
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4970
Fax (502) 564-6470