EL Guidance and Resources


EL Guidance

Entrance and Exit Criteria and Procedures for EL Identification

North Dakota Entrance and Exit Criteria and Procedures for EL Identification

North Dakota has established entrance and exit criteria and procedures by reviewing what was previously in place and revising it to meet the needs of all schools in the state. The review was completed by the English Language Program Advisory Committee (ELPAC) which is made up of LEA representatives from across the state, as well as other professionals related to English learner education. The entrance and exit criteria created and approved by the ELPAC was also recommended for approval by the Accountability and Standards Subcommittee and approved by the State ESSA Planning Committee. These two committees include professionals from across the state and represent a wide variety of agencies and LEAs.

North Dakota has established entrance criteria and procedures as follows:

  • A statewide Home Language Survey (HLS) is required. The first page of the survey includes the required elements. The second page contains items the school will be encouraged to use, but not required. Districts have the option to add items or addenda as they wish, beyond the required elements.
  • Districts must conduct a screener assessment if another language is present unless there is overwhelming evidence of academic success at the time of registration.
  • The required screener options are WIDA Screener (online or paper) for grades 1-12 or the WIDA K MODEL for kindergarten.
  • The statewide entrance criteria are consistent with the exit criteria. Students must receive a 3.5 proficiency level for each of the four domains and a 5.0 composite proficiency level to be considered proficient. The WIDA Screener only reports domains in integer values (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0). Therefore, a student receiving a 3.0 in any one domain would qualify for the program. If a student received a 4.0 in each domain, they would not qualify. The composite scores are reported in 0.5 increments (4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0).
  • All potential EL students must be assessed for admission to the EL program within 30 days of the first day of enrollment to any school.
  • Districts may allow teacher referral for students who were not screened due to the information on the Home Language Survey. The referral may be investigated by EL staff to determine whether the Home Language Survey is correct or needs to be revised by the parents.

North Dakota has established exit criteria and procedures as follows:

  • Districts must use the annual ND ELP assessment (currently ACCESS 2.0) proficiency level scores to approve exit of the EL Program.
  • Cut scores are the same as the entrance criteria with a 3.5 in each domain and a 5.0 required for the composite proficiency level. The composite score is made up of 35% reading, 35% writing, 15% listening, and 15% speaking proficiency levels. 
MIS01 Guidance

MIS01 Fall Report Guidance - English Learner (EL) Program

All districts must complete this section.

For questions regarding the EL program section, please contact the EL Programs Office.

Federal Civil Rights Law and North Dakota Century Code (NDCC Chapter 15.1-38) have specific requirements regarding the education of ELs. The EL Program section of the MIS01 Fall Report in the STARS is where ALL districts submit information to meet some of the requirements.

Reporting Requirements for All Districts (including those with no EL Students)

  1. District EL Policy - Each district in North Dakota must verify they have a current EL policy in place meeting the provisions of NDAC and NDCC and approved by the school board. The North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) has a sample EL Policy (GABAA) used by many districts in North Dakota. Districts are encouraged to review the policy at least every five years. Districts must:

    • Check the box assuring the district has an EL policy approved by the school board.

      • Validation Error will occur if the box is not checked.

    • Enter the date the policy was approved by the school board. This date should align with the board meeting date and minutes in which it was approved.

      • Validation Error will occur if not date is reported.

  2. EL Program Director - All districts must designate an EL Program Director who provides administrative oversight of the EL program in compliance with Federal civil rights laws and ND state laws. The Program Director must hold an administrative credential and have the authority to allocate district resources to support the program. When EL students are enrolled in the school district, the director must show evidence of resources committed to the language instruction educational program (LIEP) for ELs. This person will be included in the EL distribution list and will receive EL-related correspondence from the NDDPI. The report requires:

    • Contact information of the EL Director

      • Validation Error will occur if this field is not completed.

    • ESPB license number and Administrative Credential

      • Validation Error will occur if this field is not completed.

      • Validation Warning will occur if the license holder does not have a valid North Dakota Administrative Credential (AD, SP, EP).

  3. EL Coordinator/Teacher/Test Administrator - All districts must assign an EL Coordinator, EL Teacher, or EL Test Administrator. This person must hold a North Dakota teaching license including the EL or bilingual endorsement or have a plan of study on file to complete the endorsement within two years. Be sure the person you are listing in this section is in agreement with the role and responsibilities, as the NDDPI will send out an approval of assignment. To fulfill this requirement, some districts have an agreement with nearby districts or other service providers such as an REA to ensure, in the event a potential EL student registers for school, the district knows who to call for help in administering the EL screener assessments (MODEL, WIDA Screener). The EL Coordinator/Teacher/Test Administrator must complete online training and quiz requirements for the WIDA assessments they administer. Once the teacher license number is entered, STARS will verify that the teacher has an EL or Bilingual Endorsement or a current plan on file. This person will be included in the EL distribution list and will receive EL-related correspondence from the NDDPI. The report requires:

    • Contact information of EL Coordinator/Teacher/Test Administrator

      • Validation Error will occur if this field is not completed.

    • ESPB license number (a ND teaching license with an EL endorsement is required)

      • Validation Error will occur if this field is not completed.

      • Validation Warning will occur if no EL or Bilingual Endorsement or plan of study is found.

  4. Additional EL Contact(s) - The additional EL contact(s) is an optional field. This is for staff who would like to receive EL-related correspondence. Anyone can be listed (EL teacher, administrator, para-professional, individual contracting with a district) in this field. Many districts enter their additional EL teachers or principals in this area to ensure EL-related communications are sent directly to key EL staff. The report requests: 

    • Contact information of additional staff

      • Validation Warning will occur if no additional contact is listed - this is just a reminder.

  5. EL Student Identification Plan - All districts must submit a plan (steps the district takes and staff responsible) to identify potential English Learners. The procedures cannot be used only for students who look or speak differently. It must be equitably implemented for ALL students as to not discriminate. The plan must be documented annually in the MIS01 Fall Report in STARS and must incorporate the North Dakota ESSA statewide identification criteria and procedures including: 

    • The process for collecting the North Dakota Home Language Survey (HLS) completed by a parent for each student enrolled (the Office of Civil Rights has determined this cannot be one question on the district enrollment form),

    • The process (including staff responsible) for reviewing the HLS for a language other than English,

    • The process (including staff responsible) for reviewing the student's academic performance (if available) to determine difficulty with academic content in English,

    • The process (including staff responsible) of administering the North Dakota English language proficiency (ELP) screener (currently WIDA Screener for grades K-12) and the criteria for eligibility, and

    • The process (including staff responsible) to identify the student as an EL in PowerSchool and STARS if the student qualifies.

      • Validation Error will occur if no identification plan is written.

    • EXAMPLE: The following is an example EL Student Identification Plan. If the district uses this plan, be sure to change the parentheses items to district-specific information.

      • Students will be eligible for EL services based on the federal definition. Students will be identified for eligibility within 30 days of the first day of school or within 2 weeks throughout the year. The district will require the ND Home Language Survey for all students as part of the registration process.

        • The (school secretary) will receive all registration packets and review the HLS for a language other than English. All HLS forms will be maintained in the students' cumulative file.

        • If another language is present, (the secretary) will gather historical academic information and forward to the EL Teacher/Coordinator.

        • The EL Teacher/Coordinator will review the HLS and academic information to determine if the ELP screener assessment will be administered. 

        • If applicable, the ELP screener is administered by the EL Teacher/Coordinator.

        • The EL Teacher/Coordinator will complete and send the Parent Notification of Eligibility for each student who participated in the screener.

        • If a student meets the eligibility criteria, the EL Teacher/Coordinator will complete the EL information in PowerSchool and establish a language support team for the student including at least the principal, classroom/content teacher(s), and EL teacher. 

        • The EL Teacher/Coordinator will collaborate with the language support team to design the language instruction educational program (LIEP) for the student and create the student's Individualized Language Plan (ILP).

  6. EL Student Assessment Assurances - All districts must submit assurances indicating the district will screen potential EL students, annually assess English language proficiency of all identified ELs and ensure all ELs participate in the ND State Assessment.

    • Check each of the three boxes indicating district assurance.

      • Validation Error will occur if assurances are not acknowledged by checking the indicator boxes.

  7. EL Certificate of Compliance - All districts must certify they will fulfill the requirements listed for the current school year.

    • Check the indicator box to certify.

      • Validation Error will occur if box is not checked.

  8. Professional Development - Districts with identified ELs must report the type of EL-related PD offered and the number of participants who participated.

    • Check the box in front of the professional development topics related to EL the district offered to all staff. 

      • If "other" is selected, be sure to explain in the comment box.

      • If someone participates in more than one type of topic, they may be counted more than once.

    • If any PD offerings were paid with Title III funds, check the box "Paid by Title III."

MIS02 Guidance

Coming Soon

MIS03 Guidance

Coming Soon

PER02 Guidance

Coming Soon

STARS EL Enrollment Guidance

Coming Soon

EL Coordinators

District EL Coordinators are district personnel responsible for the management and documentation of the EL program. The NDDPI provides the following resources specific to district EL Coordinators:

  • EL Coordinator Team - The NDDPI has created a Microsoft Team to provide a secure space to share and collaborate. The NDDPI posts updates, guidance, professional development opportunities, and other information regularly.
  • The NDDPI offers EL Coordinator Collaboration Time on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9:00am and 3:45pm through the Teams platform.

If you are an EL Coordinator and would like to be a member of the SharePoint/Team, please contact the EL Programs Office.

EL Educators

EL Educators are educational personnel involved in the instruction of English Learners. The NDDPI has created a Microsoft Team to provide a secure space to share and collaborate. The NDDPI posts updates, guidance, professional development opportunities, and other information regularly.

If you are an EL Educator and would like to be a member of the SharePoint/Team, please contact the EL Programs Office.


ND ELPAC Membership and Term Guidelines

The North Dakota Century Code authorizes the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish and appoint members to the English Learner Program Advisory Committee (ELPAC). The goals of the ELPAC are to: 1) advise the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) in matters affecting the education of English learners, and 2) promote educational opportunity and improve the quality of education provided to English learners in North Dakota.

  • The committee will be comprised of up to 15 participants who represent at least one of the designated stakeholder groups below.
  • Each member will serve a one-year term and, if in good standing, will be invited to continue the following year. Members of ND ELPAC may receive a professional fee and reimbursement for necessary mileage, meals, and lodging as per state guidelines. Members will not be paid or reimbursed if being paid or reimbursed by their employer.  
  • New members will be invited upon a current member resignation and selected primarily based on the alignment of their current role and the unfilled representation areas and secondarily based on previous experience.
  • We anticipate the committee will meet face-to-face approximately twice throughout the year (if it is safe to do so) and may include virtual meetings at various time throughout the year.

The ELPAC will strive to include the following representation:

  • Educators of English learners
    • Elementary EL Teacher
    • Secondary EL Teacher
    • Early Childhood Teacher
    • District EL Teacher/Coordinator
    • Native American EL Teacher
    • Adult EL Educator
  • General Educators with EL Populations
    • REA EL Specialist
    • Elementary Teacher
    • Secondary Teacher
    • Early Childhood Teacher
    • Special Education Teacher/Coordinator
    • Administrator
  • Other
    • Higher Education (preference to EL teacher prep)
    • Refugee Services
    • EL Student (grade 6-12)
    • Parent of an EL
    • Social Services
    • Technology
    • Business/Industry
    • Civic Leader (holds an office)
    • Law Enforcement or SRS

2020-2021 ND English Learner Program Advisory Committee Members

  • Dakota Breen - Secondary EL Teacher, West Fargo Public Schools
  • Krista Bussman - EL Teacher/Coordinator, Colony Schools, Milnor Public School District
  • Jillian Dietchman - REA EL Specialist, Roughrider Education Services Program
  • Renee Gerard - Adult EL Educator, Williston Adult Learning Center
  • Lallaine Hauser - Adult EL Educator, Dickinson Public School District
  • Arliss Koski - Special Education Teacher/Coordinator, Mandan Public School District
  • Lucia Shelley-Maluy - Adult EL Educator, Mandan Public School District
  • Karen Moore - Data & Assessment Manager, Data & Technology, Parent, Fargo Public School District
  • Lori Nappe - EL Teacher, Refugee Services, Fargo Public School District
  • Wendy Sanderson - District EL Coordinator, Post Secondary Education, Bismarck Public School District
  • Travis Thorvilson - Principal/EL Coordinator, Administrator, Grand Forks Public Schools
  • LeAnne Tracey - Adult EL Educator, EL Teacher/Coordinator, Spanish Teacher, Williston Public School District
  • Kerri Whipple - REA EL Specialist, Parent, Civic Leader, South East Education Cooperative
  • Assistant Director, Office of Indian/Multicultural Education, NDDPI
  • Assistant Director, Office of Assessment, NDDPI
  • Administrative Staff Officer, Office of Indian/Multicultural Education, NDDPI
EL Parent & Family Resources

If you would like to request a document that is not available through a link, please contact the EL Programs Office.

ESSA and Accountability
High School Courses for English Learners

High School Courses for English Learners

Partnership between the NDDPI and Fargo Public Schools

Scholarships are available!

To support North Dakota school districts and EL learners across the state, Fargo Public Schools’ EL Department will be offering Zoom distance high school courses for credit for EL students in North Dakota. 

These virtual classes are delivered in real-time and are interactive with in-person students and virtual students.  Zoom classes will be taught by content area teachers who are also certified EL teachers.  The number of available EL Zoom seats will vary each semester based upon high school enrollment within Fargo Public Schools and registered Zoom students.

Courses available in the 2021-2022 school year include:

  • Intro to English (elective)
  • English I
  • English II or English II Block
  • English III
EL Math Courses
  • Math 1
  • Math 2
  • Algebra 1 Block
  • Geometry
EL Science Courses
  • Intro to Science (elective)
  • Physical Science3
  • Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Forensics
EL Social Studies Courses
  • Intro to Social Studies (elective)
  • Western Civilization
  • US History
  • Economics
  • Government

For more information, please contact Mr. David Burkman at Fargo Public Schools. 

For scholarship information, please contact the NDDPI EL Programs Office.



  • District Test Coordinators must manage the WIDA online file of all Test Administrators to ensure permissions and trainings are up-to-date for the current testing year's staffing and trainings.
  • District Test Coordinators must submit a verification of accounts to the NDDPI by September 30 of each year.
  • To obtain a WIDA AMS or WIDA Secure Portal account, contact your District Test Coordinator or the EL Program Office at NDDPI.

AMS (Assessment Management System)

The secure online system of the administration of the WIDA Screener Online and ACCESS for ELLs suite of assessments. The WIDA AMS User Guide provides assistance in the use of features and functionality within the AMS system.

ELD Standards Framework 2020 Edition

The WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition serves as a resource for planning and implementing language curriculum, instruction and assessment for multilingual learners.

Educators can use the 2020 Edition to:

  • Promote and guide systematic, explicit, and sustained language development
  • Support and frame collaboration among educators to plan for content and language integration in culturally and linguistically sustaining ways
  • Monitor multilingual learners’ language growth
  • Provide standards-referenced feedback to students and families

North Dakota webpage

Contains state-specific information and resources, including ND’s ACCESS for ELLs Checklist, Identification and Placement Guidance document, and testing requirements. 

Secure Portal

Manage your WIDA account, complete training courses, and gain access to resources only available to WIDA members. The WIDA Secure Portal User Guide provides a quick overview of some of the most frequently used features of the WIDA Secure Portal, as well as step by step instructions for accessing these features.

Test Preparation and Training

  • North Dakota requires that all personnel who come into contact with the WIDA assessments must complete ANNUAL training(s) for all tests being administered.
  • For specific training requirements, see the ND State Page of the WIDA website.