Initial Assessment

Initial Assessment
of Language, Literacy, and Content Knowledge

When students first enroll in school, it is essential to determine if they are English language learners (ELLs) and thus eligible for educational services that will help them achieve the educational performance standards of their states of residence. This section provides educators with strategies for assessing students when they first enroll in school, as well as suggestions for assessing language and literacy skills in students' first language (L1) and English.

  1. Why do ELLs need to be identified and assessed?
  2. How are ELLs identified and assessed throughout the United States?
    1. Why are home language surveys used?
    2. What should be considered when selecting a suitable language proficiency test?
    3. Who should administer the language proficiency tests?
  3. Why assess students' academic and language skills in their native language?
  4. How can native language literacy skills be assessed?
  5. What are the broader issues to be considered in assessing a student's educational background?