English Learner Identification

Maine's English Learner Identification Policy

All students in Maine schools undergo the same process for determining English learner status. The first step of that process is administration of the Language Use Survey. If a student's Language Use Survey reflects a primary/home language other than English, an English language proficiency screener must be administered. See the Identification and Placement Guidance document for current required screeners and their corresponding identification thresholds by grade level, as well as details about logistics for administering the screening assessments. (Note that students whose only primary/home language other than English is American Sign Language are not eligible for English learner status per federal policy. See this priority notice for more information.)

Language Use Survey and Parent Letter

The Language Use Survey (LUS), available in 26 languages in addition to English, must be administered to every newly enrolled student (pre-Kindergarten through grade 12) and schools are required under federal civil rights laws to identify all students whose primary or home language is not English and who are not yet proficient in English.

Protocol for Requesting a Change in English Learner Identification

If a student has been identified by a school in Maine as an English learner (EL) but a teacher, school administrator, parent/guardian, or the student himself/herself (over the age of 18) believes this identification to be incorrect, a request for change in identification may be made. Please note that students who were properly identified as ELs following state policy and have not yet reached the Maine DOE’s definition of English language proficiency (a composite proficiency level of 4.5 on ACCESS for ELLs or level P2 on Alternate ACCESS, as applicable) are not eligible for a change in EL identification.

To initiate this request, a letter or email (in any language) must be submitted to the student’s district superintendent. If the superintendent approves the request, the superintendent will complete a Request for Change in EL Identification.

The final decision will be made by the EL identification review committee at the Maine Department of Education within two weeks of receipt of the request. The superintendent is responsible for informing the student’s parent/guardian of the Department’s final decision in the parent’s/guardian’s preferred language and format, written or oral. Oral notifications must be followed by written notice. The Department’s decision may be appealed in light of additional evidence.

*Note: All English learners are required to be identified within 30 days of enrollment.

For questions about English learner identification, contact April Perkins, World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist, at april.perkins@maine.gov.