English Learner Program

Students with limited English language proficiency require support and targeted instruction. The Department provides these students with supplementary instructional activities and supports.

The statewide English Learner (EL) Program ensures that students with limited English proficiency (1) have access to educational opportunities by providing services that assist these students with the attainment of English language proficiency, (2) develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and (3) meet the same challenging State academic content and student achievement standards all students are expected to meet. Services to EL Program students include instructional services consisting of English as a Second Language (ESL) type instruction and acculturation activities.

The EL Program supports the Department’s mission to provide standards-based education through supplementary instructional and acculturation activities. Services provided through the EL Program implement the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its regulations, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) of 1974. With regard to students with limited English proficiency, Title VI and its regulations require that students are able to participate in, or benefit from, regular or special education instructional programs. Services to EL Program students and Immigrant Children and Youth also implement the requirements of Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title III). Title III requires EL Program students attain English proficiency, and meet the same challenging academic standards all students are expected to meet.

Guiding the EL Program instruction and identification for students in the acquisition of language and academic content:

  • Hawaii State EL Guidance Manual (VIEW) *For an alternate version, please contact the Office of Student Support Services at (808) 305-9717.
  • English Learner Board Policy (VIEW)
  • Hawaii Common Core (VIEW)
  • WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards (VIEW)
    • The adoption of the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards by the Hawaii State Department of Education was approved by the Hawaii State Board of Education on May 21, 2009. The WIDA ELD Standards help to guide English language development and instruction for ELs, and serve as the basis for the summative annual English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment to determine whether a student is making progress or has achieved the EL exit requirements.
  • WIDA Standards and Instruction Webinar (VIEW)
    • WIDA tools aid in the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for ELs and includes the WIDA ELD Standards.
  • WIDA Screener (W-APT) (VIEW)
    • The WIDA Screener is an English language proficiency assessment given to incoming students in Grades 1–12 to assist educators with the identification of students as ELs. The purpose of this assessment is to help educators make decisions about whether a student is a candidate for English language support services. The WIDA Screener assess the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
  • Kindergarten WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) (VIEW)
    • Kindergarten students who may be limited English proficient are tested for English language proficiency when they first enter school using the W-APT. The results of the W-APT help determine what kind of English language support is needed for the students to progress in school. Appropriate services are then provided to help students work towards content standards and WIDA ELP Standards.
  • ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) (VIEW)
    • Beginning with the school year 2009-10, EL Program students are annually tested using the Hawaii Department of Education adopted WIDA English language proficiency assessment, the ACCESS for ELs. The ACCESS for ELs test is used to determine a student’s language progress and proficiency in developing English, and is also used for accountability purposes.
  • ​​Alternate ACCESS for ELLs (VIEW)
    • An assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for students in grades 1 -12 who are classified as ELs and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELs assessment.​​
  • NEW! -- Continuity of Learning: Ensuring Equity for Hawaii's English Learners (VIEW)

  • English Learner Infographic (VIEW)
    • Summary of demographics and achievements of English Learners.

  • Hawai'i's English Learners (VIEW)
    • Learn more about the education outcomes of Hawai‘i public school students who are identified as English Learners (ELs) in this Data Story released by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships in Education, August 2019.

Contact Information

Student Support Section

Phone: 808-305-9717

Email: osssel@k12.hi.us

How do I...?


View all FAQ's