English Language Proficiency Standards

The 10 English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards highlight a strategic set of language functions (what students do with language to accomplish content-specific tasks) and language forms (vocabulary, grammar, and discourse specific to a particular content area or discipline) which are needed by English Learners (ELs) as they develop competence in the practices associated with English language arts (ELA) and literacy, mathematics, and science. The five ELP levels for each of the ELP Standards address the question, “What might an EL's language use look like at each ELP level as he or she progresses toward independent participation in grade appropriate activities?”

ELP Standards Overview

To help ELs acquire the content knowledge and English proficiency necessary to be successful in school, WestEd, in collaboration with EL educators from across the country, developed ELP Standards that correspond with states’ college- and career-ready (CCR) standards — the benchmarks many teachers use to evaluate students in the subjects of math, language arts, and science. The ELP Standards focus on the language skills ELs need to do well in these subjects, making it possible for ELs to acquire critically important competencies.

Organization of Standards

The 10 ELP Standards are organized according to a schema that represents each standard’s importance to ELs’ participation in the practices called for by college-and-career-ready ELA and literacy, mathematics, and science standards. The ELP Standards are interrelated and can be used separately or in combination. The standards do not include curriculum statements, nor do they privilege a single approach to the teaching of social and expressive communication or the teaching of grammar; instead, the standards and descriptors for each proficiency level leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how each ELP Standard and descriptor should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed.

Alternate Organization of Standards


The ELP Standards might also be framed in relation to narrower domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing and also in relation to broader receptive, productive, and interactive modalities. The interactive modalities category allows for emphasis on the need for ELs to meaningfully engage with their peers during content-area instruction. (Standards 9 and 10 address the linguistic structures of English and are framed in relation to the Arkansas Academic Standards (AAS) for ELA Language domain.)  



ELP Standards Training Materials

Resources to connect teachers to contemporary research and evidence-based practices to build capacity to lead the shift to deeper, richer language, literacy, and content standards for Arkansas’ English Learner students. 

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards for English Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

These English language proficiency (ELP) standards were developed for English learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities (hereafter, English learners with significant cognitive disabilities). English learners with significant cognitive disabilities are students who have been identified by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams as having significant cognitive disabilities and by ELP screening instruments as needing English development services.







For more information, please contact:

Tricia Kerr, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program Director
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Learning Services
4 North Double Springs Road
Farmington, AR 72730
Office: 479-267-7450 ext 334
Fax: 479-267-7456

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