English learners (ELs), also called English language learners (ELLs), include students who are progressing toward English language proficiency so that they can meaningfully access curriculum in the English language. Consolidated State Performance Reports for 2013-14 show that K-12 ELs account for about 10% of all students. The number of ELs is constantly growing. Included are those students –
whose native language is other than English or whose English language proficiency has been affected by another language or languages as a result of bilingualism or multilingualism, regardless of whether they were born in the United States or abroad, and
whose difficulties in speaking, listening, reading, or writing in the English language may be sufficient to deny them the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction and assessment is English.
Percentages of ELs in states vary significantly. According to Consolidated State Performance Reports, in the 2013-14 school year, ELs constituted anywhere from 1% to 24% of a state’s student population.
ELs also vary in the languages and cultures they represent in the United States. Analyses of the top five languages across states point to the extensive diversity of ELs.
NCEO is supported primarily through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Additional support for targeted projects, including those on English learners, is provided by other federal and state agencies, and other educational organizations. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it.