Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:
Monitoring Reclassified Students
This letter serves to remind local educational agencies (LEAs) of state and federal laws that require four years of monitoring of students who have exited from English learner (EL) status because they have been reclassified to fluent English proficient (RFEP) status. (20 U.S.C. Section 6841(a)(4)(5); California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11304.)
To this end, LEAs should establish rigorous monitoring systems that include benchmarks for expected growth in acquiring academic content knowledge during the academic year and take appropriate steps to assist students who are not adequately progressing toward those goals.
After students have exited an EL program, LEAs must monitor the academic progress of former EL students for at least four years to ensure that:
- The students have not been prematurely exited;
- Any academic deficit they incurred as a result of participation in the EL program have been remedied; and
- The students are meaningfully participating in the standard instructional program comparable to their never-EL peers.
Furthermore, when an LEA’s monitoring of an exited EL student indicates that a persistent language barrier may be the cause of academic difficulty because general education and remediation services have proven inadequate, LEAs should take affirmative steps to assess the student with a valid and reliable grade-appropriate test to determine if there is a persistent language barrier and must offer additional language assistance services (i.e., Integrated and Designated English-language development, reading intervention, etc.) as needed.
When an LEA’s monitoring of an exited EL student indicates that academic deficits were incurred while the student participated in an English language program, the LEA should take affirmative steps to provide remedy for those deficits.
During this monitoring time, LEAs ensure RFEP students have met the same academic achievement goals set for all students. If these students do not yet meet that standard, intervention and support is to be provided. These services are not dependent on specialized funds.
Under the Federal Program Monitoring (FPM) process, the California Department of Education (CDE) monitors whether:
- LEAs’ programs enable EL students to acquire English, content knowledge, and parity of participation in the standard instructional program;
- LEAs monitor the progress of all of their EL students, including opt outs, in achieving English language proficiency (ELP) and acquiring content knowledge;
- LEAs monitor EL student progress to establish benchmarks for expected growth and to assist students who are not adequately progressing toward those goals;
- LEAs do not exit students from EL programs, services, and status until EL students demonstrate English proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC); and
- LEAs monitor, for at least four years, the academic progress of students who have exited an EL program to ensure that the students have not been prematurely exited, any academic deficits they incurred resulting from the EL program have been remedied, and they are meaningfully participating in the district’s educational programs comparable to their never-EL peers.
On January 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) provided guidance through a “Dear Colleague” letter giving states and LEAs information regarding obligations to EL students and to students who have exited EL status. That letter can be found on the ED website at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-el-201501.pdf.
If you have any questions regarding the monitoring of RFEP students, please contact Elena Fajardo, Administrator, Language Policy and Leadership Office, by phone at
916-319-0845 or by email at Efajardo@cde.ca.gov.
If you have questions regarding the FPM process, please contact Theresa Hawk, Administrator, Technical Assistance and Monitoring Office, by phone at 916-319-0845 or by email at Thawk@cde.ca.gov.
Opportunities for All Branch
Instruction and Measurement Branch