In accordance with the law (Section I, Part G, Guidelines to Satisfy Legal Requirements of Lau v. Nichols), ELs cannot be retained solely due to low English language proficiency.
If an ELL is retained in a grade, the LEA must be able to demonstrate that all appropriate modifications were made to instruction and assessment in order to allow ELLs meaningful access to the general curriculum as well as to promote second language learning. Lau v Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974)
If an EL is recommended for retention because the student appears to have made little or no progress, schools must determine that the student has been enrolled in the school for an adequate period of time to ensure that the following conditions have been met:
- The student has received English language support commensurate with proficiency level.
- Mainstream teachers have made appropriate accommodations and have provided adequate differentiated lessons, assignments and assessments to meet the unique cultural and linguistic needs of the student.
ELs who have only been enrolled in school for less than a year may have spent 6 months or more in a "silent period" of language acquisition. Thus, students in the IEL program should NOT be retained unless there is documentation that retention is in the student's academic best interest and is primarily connected to developmental issues such as maturity.
When considering whether or not to retain an EL, schools should also bear in mind the following:
- ELs may not be retained as a strategy to "catch up" academically.
- Retention for primary grade levels of kindergarten and first grade should be based upon developmental issues such as immaturity.
- If ELs have been provided with appropriate accommodations and diferentiation and have not demostrated adequate progress, the student should be referred for the RtI process prior to a retention decsion.
- Notification of retention must be communicated to parents in a language that they understand AND an interpreter MUST be provided for the retention committee meeting.
If an ESOL student fails the math or reading portion of CRCT in grades 3, 5 or 8, he is to be provided with the opportunity to re-take those sections of the CRCT after remediation. If reading or math section is failed again, the student will be retained. However, the parent/guardian or teacher may appeal the retention and the principal or designee will form a Placement Committee to review the grade placement for the following year. It is highly recommended that a Placement Committee designated to review the placement of an ESOL student involve the ESOL teacher on the committee.
Cobb County School District policy regarding the promotion, retention and placement of students can be found at http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/adminrules/I/IHE-R.pdf
See below for additional recommendations regarding the review of the placement of an ESOL students: