Are IEPs different for English language learners?

If you have recently moved from another country to the U.S., and your child’s teacher thinks your child may have reading issues, the teacher may suggest testing to see if your child qualifies for an (). If your child gets an IEP, you may be wondering if it will be very different from an IEP for a native English speaker, and if there are any services that are commonly included to help with the language difference.

An IEP should be individualized. This means it should spell out the services that are needed to address your child’s unique challenges. But here are a few things that are often included in IEPs for English language learners (ELLs).

(ESL): If your child qualifies for an IEP, the plan will note how much time your child will spend each week receiving ESL instruction. The IEP will detail how much ESL help will be provided in a small group outside of the classroom and how much, if any, will be provided as push-in support inside the classroom.

in one or two languages: The IEP will make clear which supports and services will be provided in English and which ones will be provided in the language your child speaks at home. For example, if your child has , the IEP will specify whether a bilingual reading specialist is required.

Testing : Talk with your child’s IEP team about how to help your child show what they know on tests. Common accommodations for ELLs include things like having the directions on a math test read in the child’s . Other types of tests, like a reading-comprehension test, may be provided in the student’s first language. Be sure to discuss extended time and other testing accommodations that aren’t specific to English language learners.


Explore related topics

Read next