English Language Learners » English Language Learners

English Language Learners

What is ELL?

The English Language Learners (ELL) Program helps students whose first language is not English. Assistance is given only until the student is able to perform at their grade level. This program is supported by Title III of NCLB. The goals of our ELL program are to develop the ELL student's communicative competence in the English language that will allow the student to function academically, socially, and culturally with peers and to monitor student progress once reclassified as proficient in English.


Who is in ELL?

In Hawaii, 10% of the students in public schools use ELL to help them learn English. Many ELL students come from Asia, Puerto Rico, and the South Pacific. The ELL program in Hawaii provides English language support for approximately 18000 students statewide. 

ELL students at Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School comprise 7% of the student population. They speak a number of different languages including Spanish, Tagalog, Kosrean, Korean, Mandarin, German, Japanese, Marshallese, Polish and French.


Why is my child in ELL?

All students who list foreign languages when they enroll in a public school are tested for proficiency in English. New students who pass this proficiency test do not have to be in this program. Those who need help are taught by an ELL teacher to improve their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Also, students can be selected by their teachers to be tested for English language proficiency. The results of the evaluation are shared with parent(s) and teacher(s) of the student. 

  • WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) (VIEW)
    • 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 the HCPS III and WIDA ELP Standards

How can my child leave the program?

All ELL students are encouraged to improve their English language proficiency. They are able to leave the program with passing test scores and passing grades. Students are tested annually, as mandated by the federal government, usually in January-February on the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs test.   This test evaluates social and academic English skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. 

  • ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) (VIEW)
    • Beginning with the school year 2009-10, ELL Program students are annually tested using the Hawaii Department of Education adopted WIDA English language proficiency assessment, the ACCESS for ELLs. The ACCESS for ELLs test is used to determine a student’s language progress and proficiency in developing English.

Parents and guardians do have the right to decline participation in this program.


Hawaii is a member of WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), joining in 2009. WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners which offers states programming for identifying and annually assessing the English language development of its English learners.




The annual English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment window for School Year 2018-19 is open from January 15, 2019 to February 26, 2019. The online ACCESS for English Language Learners (ELLs) is required for all identified English Learners (ELs) in grades K-12.  Results will be sent home later in the spring.