ESL Exit Forms and Criteria

State Required Reclassification Criteria for Pennsylvania’s English Language Instructional Programs for English Learners

Every LEA must include the state-required English learner (EL) reclassification criteria in the LEA’s program for ELs. The reclassification criteria represent valid and reliable evidence of a student’s English language proficiency and ability to access academic standards without specialized language supports. These required criteria ensure consistent measures across LEAs for reclassifying students from active EL status to former EL.

LEAs must assure implementation of the reclassification criteria within the Federal Programs’ Monitoring/Consolidated Program Review and the LEP System Review.

Reclassification of current ELs to former ELs takes place annually between June and September. The EL status of students for the 2016-2017 school year must be determined by September 30, 2017 and reported in the PIMS October, 2017 District and School Enrollment Collection. Students reported as current ELs in the PIMS October District and School Enrollment Collection cannot be reclassified during the period from October, 2017 until June, 2018.

Under new federal rules, measures of academic achievement may no longer be used for EL reclassification decisions. As a result, the PSSA and/or Keystone assessment achievement criteria that were previously included in reclassification criteria have been removed for the 2016-2017 school year. The criteria outlined in this document will be used only for the 2016-2017 school year (including students who will be reclassified in September, 2017). New reclassification criteria will be published for the 2017-2018 school year and will take effect in June, 2018.

A single test score should not be used to make high-stakes decisions for students including reclassification from active EL to former EL status. Therefore, to be reclassified as former ELs and removed from the districts language instruction educational program (LIEP), students must meet the single required criterion and at least one of the additional criteria listed below.

Required Criterion:

1. For kindergarten students—overall composite proficiency level score of 5.0 on an ACCESS for ELLs Kindergarten assessment (accountability score).

For grades 1-12 students—overall composite proficiency level score of 5.0 on a ACCESS 2.0 Grades 1-12 assessment.

NOTE: Cutoff score flexibility is available for students in grades 1-12 in the following Special Circumstances:

  • Following the grade and score criteria in the table below, the Wida Screener may be administered after July 1 to students who scored below the minimum cutoff for program exit on the January administration of the ACCESS in order to demonstrate sufficient progress to justify exit.

Revised April 2017

NOTE: The W-APT or WIDA Screener may only be administered to a student once in any school year.

Grade Level ACCESS 2.0 Score Required W-APT/Screener Scores*

K Cut-off score flexibility is not allowable for Kindergarteners

1-5 4.6-4.9 5.0 in each domain

6-8 4.7-4.9 5.0 in each domain

9-12 4.8-4.9 5.0 in each domain

NOTE: A student must score 5.0 in each domain (listening, speaking, reading and writing). A composite proficiency score will not be used.

Additional Criteria:


    •  Recommendations from at least two core content area teachers who have taught the students during the 2016-2017 school year and who have a functional knowledge of the WIDA performance definitions and ELD Standards.*


    •  Writing sample that demonstrates proficiency at the Expanding level and speaking at the Bridging level as measured using the WIDA writing and speaking rubrics scored by an ESL teacher

    * A recommendation form is provided in Appendix A. Districts are free to use this form or develop their own form, but the recommendation process must be standardized across the district and documented in some way.

    ELs with Disabilities (taking the ACCESS for ELLs®)

    An EL with a disability may be considered for reclassification if:

    1. The student has an IEP, AND

    2. The student has been continuously enrolled in an ESL/bilingual education program for at least four years, AND

    3. The student’s overall composite proficiency level score on the ACCESS for ELLs® has not increased by more than 10% at any point or total over the three most recent testing cycles, AND

    4. The IEP team, with input from an ESL/bilingual education professional, recommends reclassification. The recommendation criteria may be different than those used for ELs without disabilities.

    ELs with Disabilities (taking the Alternate ACCESS for ELLS®)

    ELs who are eligible for and take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® may be considered for reclassification when:

    1. they achieve a score of at least P2 on two consecutive administrations of the test OR achieve the same score for three consecutive administrations of the test, AND

    2. the IEP team, with input from an ESL/bilingual education professional, recommends reclassification. The recommendation criteria may be different than those used for ELs without disabilities.

      ELA Exit Criteria-
      ESSA requires that Exit Criteria accompany the ELA Placement and Title III Refusal of Supplements notices upon program entry. In order to qualify to leave the program, all Exit criteria must be met before the Exit Recommendation will be approved.
      Reclassification Criteria   

      ESL EXIT Form
      ESL Reclassification Recommendation

      Notification of Exit from English Language Acquisition

      This letter fulfills our legal obligation to notify parents when a student has met the criteria for EXIT from the ELA program to Monitor Status.

      Post Exit Monitoring Form (Elementary) (Middle/Secondary)
      During the 2-year monitor status, this quarterly PDE checklistis completed with input from the mainstream teacher at the end of each marking period.One set is for elementary, and the other isfor monitors in departmentalized, secondary classes. The student may return to the ELA program at any point in time, iflittle progress is demonstrated.
      Parent Notification of Monitor Release
      Send this letter home to inform parents of the termination of the student's ELA history. Record the sending date on the ELA screen of eSchool Plus. File the completed Monitor Checklist with the ELA teacher's signature in thestudent's ELL folder and submit it to the ELA ADMIN office.
      Notification of Release from ELA Monitor Status