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No Educator Left Behind: English Language Learners

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.


How will requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act affect students who are not fluent in English?

U.S. Department of Education:

English language learners -- like all students -- will be tested in reading and mathematics every year from third through eighth grade. Students who enter a school in grade 3 or above can be tested in their native language for the first three years they attend that school; after that, assessment tests must be given in English.

Under No Child Left Behind, for the first time, English language learners must be tested annually on their progress in learning English, to determine if they need additional support. States and schools will be held accountable for the results of those tests.

The new law does not dictate a particular method of instruction for teaching students English or other academic content; however, in addition to providing quality instruction in reading and math, states and local education agencies must establish English proficiency standards and provide quality language instruction that is based on scientific research.

States and local education agencies also are required to place highly qualified teachers in all classrooms in which there are English language learners.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.