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English Language Proficiency Code (ELP)

English Language Proficiency (ELP): WISEdata

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English language proficiency classifications are defined in PI 13.08 Wis. Admin Code. Students with English language proficiency classifications (ELP code) of 1-5 are considered Limited English Proficient (LEP). Students with limited English proficiency are also English Learners (EL) or English Language Learners (ELL).

The data element English Language Proficiency, or ELP (referred to as Limited English Proficiency or LEP in legislation) is required for all public school students and Choice students participating in Title III programming.  

For ELs in 5 year-old kindergarten (KG) to grade 12, the value reported is expected to be the number codes one (1) to seven (7) to indicate the English Language Proficiency classification (ELP code) described in the table below.

ELP needs to be based on the results from:

  • the prior year administration of the ACCESS for ELLs exam OR
  • the WIDA screener score for newly enrolled ELs who have not taken the ACCESS for ELLs.

English language proficiency classifications must be determined by DPI-approved instruments and rubrics if schools are participating in Title III programming.

NOTE: Every student, whether they are an English Learner (EL) or not, has an ELP code in WISEdata:

  • For students who were never EL (the majority of students), the value reported is expected to be 7.
  • For students who are former ELs, having demonstrated full English proficiency,  the value reported is expected to be 6.
  • For students who are currently ELs, their ELP code is a reflection of how proficient they are in English, on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being the least proficient, and 5 being nearly proficient.

You can refer to this mini tutorial to find out how to locate ACCESS Scores and ELP Codes on WISEdata Portal and on WISEdash for Districts.

USES: English Language Proficiency codes (ELP codes) will be used for disaggregated reporting and accountability purposes, including State Report Cards, ESSA Report Cards, and Title III. They are also used as a measure of the acquisition of English language proficiency and to determine the appropriate participation in WSAS.


About English Language Proficiency Codes

How ELP Codes Are Determined

ELP codes are integers derived from the Overall Composite ELP scores students receive after taking ELP assessments. There are two possible sources for ELP codes:

1. The annual summative ACCESS for ELLs® assessment given each winter to established EL students. The ACCESS for ELLs® assessment is a federally required annual assessment for English Learners (EL). ELs take the ACCESS for ELLs assessment annually until they score Proficient and are reclassified as Former-ELs (former English learners who have reached full English proficiency). It is given to approximately 55,000 students in WI annually.

2. An ELP Screener should be given to an incoming student to determine if they are an English Learner (EL) or not. Students should be screened only one time upon enrollment into a district in Wisconsin, unless there is a gap in their enrollment or assessment history. Refer to FAQ #1 below (Identifying ELs) to learn more about the Wisconsin Home Language Survey (HLS)screener. 

ELP Scoring Guide
Overall Composite Proficiency Level (from the prior year) 1.0 - 1.9 2.0 - 2.9 3.0 - 3.9 4.0 - 4.4 4.5 - 4.9 5.0 - 5.9 6
ELP Code (for the current year) 1 2 3 4 4 or 6 6 6

ELP codes are the truncated overall composite proficiency level from the associated ELP assessment. This means it is the whole number to the left of the decimal. (3.1, 3.5, and 3.9 would all result in an ELP code of 3.) ELP codes fall within the range of 1 through 7. ELP codes 1-2 are beginning English speakers, 3-4 are intermediate English speakers, 5 is borderline proficient, 6 indicates a Former-EL who is now proficient, and 7 is used for native English speakers who have never been identified as an EL.

Submitting ELP Codes

ELP codes are are submitted twice to DPI for each EL student: once through the student education organization association (SEOA) and one through the student language instruction program association (sLIPA). Both ELP codes must match. The ELP code submitted through the sLIPA must be associated with the year that the assessment was given. For most students, this will be the ACCESS test from the immediately prior school year. For newly enrolled students, this may be the Screener administered upon enrollment, and thus the assessment year would be the current school year.

For WISEdata reporting, ELP codes should be rounded down if they fall between 1.0 - 4.4, and rounded up if they fall between 4.5 - 6.0.

A student's ELP code should not change during a school year. ELP codes derived from the ACCESS for ELLs® should be attached to the student record for the following school year, as it is this score which qualifies the student for a language instruction program, or triggers reclassification and monitoring.

Reporting Former English Learners

Former-ELs are designated ELP 6 regardless of the overall composite ELP score they received on their last ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. ELs must be reclassified as Former-ELs upon scoring a 5.0 or higher, and may be reclassified upon scoring 4.5 or higher if the district uses a secondary measure to assess proficiency. See the DPI EL Policy Handbook for more information.

Former-ELs are monitored for two years after they are reclassified. This is a civil rights compliance activity to ensure that they did not suffer academically due to their lack of English proficiency. This two year period is a time to focus on supporting students academically, and a monitoring descriptor is sent via the sLIPA to indicate that this process is occurring.

FAQs, Details, and Points to Note

This data element is optional for Choice schools not receiving Title III funding. See FAQ #10 below for details.

  1. Identifying ELs: Districts and participating Choice schools are expected to follow the statewide standardized procedures for identifying English learners which includes the use of the Wisconsin Home Language Survey (HLS) and appropriate screeners as outlined in the DPI EL policy handbook.  PI 13.06 Identification of ELP Pupils provides statutory identification. More information about identifying ELs can also be found on 
    the ACCESS for ELLs Data and Reporting page and the English Learner Entry and Exit Policies page.
  2. Timing of ELP Code Determination: English Language Proficiency codes should be determined based on the prior year administration of the ACCESS for ELs exam for most students (see New Students guidance below).
  3. ELP Code for New Students: Any new student in grade five-year-old kindergarten (KG)-12 who is identified as a possible EL based on his or her Home Language Survey (HLS) must be administered an approved ELP Screener within 30 days of enrollment to determine EL status and, if EL, to determine the appropriate ELP code. (See PI 13.07. ) The results of the screener must be used for new students who have not yet taken ACCESS for ELLs®.
  4. ACCESS for ELLs® Test: As of 2005-06, ACCESS for ELLs® is the required English language proficiency test for the annual assessment of students counted as EL/LEP.
  5. ACCESS for ELLs Overall Composite Proficiency Level Score: Students who complete ACCESS for ELLs® receive an Overall Composite Proficiency Level Score that reflects the results of ACCESS for ELLs® testing across multiple domains. The Overall Composite Proficiency Level Score, if available, will be used by WISEdata to verify that an appropriate English Language Proficiency code (ELP code) is sent for the student. The Overall Composite Proficiency Level Score from the prior year is used for this verification.
  6. Use of ELP Codes 6 and 7: ELP code 6 is used only for students who were previously identified as ELL/LEP (ELP codes 1-5). ELP code 7 is expected by WISEdata for any student determined to be fully English proficient and who has never been identified in WISEdata as ELP code 1-5. Students administered an ELP screener and who scored proficient are considered never EL and given an ELP code 7.
  7. Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® Scores: Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® test scores map to English Language Proficiency Code as follows: A1, A2, A3, and P1 = 1, P2 & P3 = 2.
  8. ACCESS for ELLs® Score Matching: Districts perform data validation of ACCESS for ELLs test results each March. Districts should ensure that the WISEid accurately matches student test and demographic data. The district’s SIS data should, to the extent possible, align to the vendor’s assessment records and student-level data.
  9. PK Assessment: Assessment for English Language Proficiency begins in five-year-old kindergarten (grade KG). English Language Proficiency codes (ELP codes) are used for disaggregated reporting, accountability, and Title III beginning in five-year-old kindergarten (grade KG).
    • In the absence of a more complete assessment, districts may assess potential English Learner students in grades lower than five-year-old kindergarten (grade KG) using an informal English language inventory. Performance levels in the Early Language Development Standards can be used as a guide. Results of the inventory can be used to estimate a student's English Language Proficiency code for instructional purposes. The WIDA screener, a DPI-approved instrument, must be used to determine the English language proficiency for a student entering five-year-old kindergarten (grade KG).
  10. ELP Codes for Choice Schools: 

    Choice schools participating in Title III programming must collect, assess, and report ELP data. DPI highly encourages the use of the Home Language Survey and the support of English Learners. If you are a Choice school with questions about your EL reporting requirements, please reach out to the Customer Services Team with a Help Ticket

    • Use ELP Level 7 if responses to the Home Language Survey show Student is not eligible for ELP Screening.

    • Leave the ELP code blank if:

      • schools are unsure of the student’s participation in the ACCESS assessment during the previous school year AND/OR

      • if the Choice school is not participating in the ACCESS assessment of the student  AND/OR

      • if the Choice school is unsure of the student’s ELL status.

    • In the scenario that the Choice school leaves the ELP code blank, they should acknowledge warning 7108.


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