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Title III - English Language Acquisition


School systems and educators have a legal responsibility to provide for the needs of limited English proficient (LEP) children. They also have the educational responsibility of ensuring that every child can achieve the level of knowledge and skills they need to be productive citizens who participate in all areas of our society.

If Limited English Proficiency (LEP) is suspected, the school must identify and test the students.

If there is at least one LEP student, the school must use a well thought out pedagogic approach based on sound educational practice and theory for each and every student.

The school must provide sufficiently qualified human resources, bilingual material, and appropriate programs and methodologies which will ensure the learning of English and the curriculum to the same extent as native English speaking students.

The school must evaluate the program to verify that it is providing effective instruction, similar to that of students without limitations in English.

After the evaluation, schools should amend programs to correct any deficiencies in meeting the educational needs of LEP students.

Provide reasons why your child is in need of bilingual education.
Communicate the nature of bilingual programs.
Inform parents of their rights.
Let parents know the educational objectives.
Provide progress reports.
Provide information for LEP parents in their native language.


AMAOs are performance targets that include:
1. Making progress toward English language proficiency as measured by the state English language proficiency (ELP) assessment; and
2. Attaining English language proficiency as measured by the ELP assessment; and
3. Meeting AYP as measured by the state content assessment (Dakota STEP).
To measure student’s development and attainment of English proficiency while meeting challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards required by section 1111(b)(1). Title III 20 USC 6842 (a)(1)


*AMAO Targets
All new and re-enrolling students grades K-12
  Percent of LEP Students Making Progress in Acquiring English Language Proficiency
Percent of LEP Students Attaining English Language Proficiency
2008-09 80% 50%
2009-10 50% 4%
2010-11 52% 5%
2011-12 55% 6%
2006-07 65% 50%
2012-13 58% 7%


Limited English Proficient (LEP) students are students with a home language background other than English, whose English language skills are not yet well enough developed for them to be able to participate successfully in classrooms where all academic instruction is provided in English. Numerous acts, laws, court decisions, and guidelines have been written over the years for those students. They combine to create and clarify the current legal responsibilities of all United State school districts for the education of LEP students. The following acts, laws, and other legal references are presented, either in brief summaries or through quotes, so that parents, guardians, and school personnel will be more familiar with the school district’s obligations in the education of LEP students.

1) 1868 - Fourteenth Amendment - "No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

2) 1964 - Civil Rights Act, Title VI -"No person in the U.S. shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

3) Bilingual Education Act (Amended in 1974 and 1978) - "The Congress declared it to be the policy of the United States, in order to establish equal educational opportunity for all children, (a) to encourage the establishment and operation, where appropriate, of educational programs using bilingual educational practices, techniques, and methods; and (b) for that purpose, to provide financial assistance to local education agencies, and to State education agencies for certain purposes, in order to enable such local educational agencies to develop and carry out such programs in elementary and secondary schools, including activities at the pre-school level, which are designed to meet the educational needs of such children; and to demonstrate effective ways of providing, for children of limited English speaking ability, instruction designed to enable them, while using their native language, to achieve competence in the English language."

4) May 25, 1970, Memorandum, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare - This memorandum interpreted the Civil Rights Act. It delineates the responsibility of school districts in providing equal education opportunity to national origin minority group students whose English language proficiency is limited. The following quotes discuss some major areas of concern with respect to compliance with Title VI and have the force of Law:

"Where inability to speak and understand the English language exclude national origin minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students."

"School districts have the responsibility to adequately notify national origin minority group parents of school activities which are called to the attention of other parents. Such notice, in order to be adequate, may have to be provided in a language other than English."

"School districts must not assign national origin minority group students to classes for the mentally retarded on the basis of criteria which essentially measure or evaluate English language skills; nor may school districts deny national origin minority group children access to college preparation courses on a basis directly related to the failure of the school system to inculcate English language skills."

5) 1974 - Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) - "No state shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex or nation origin, by ... the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs."


The legal rationale stated previously provides only one part of the reason that special instructional programs for limited English proficient (LEP) students are necessary. Equally, if not more, important, is that fact that these types of programs are consistent with best educational practices. Both research and experience have proven that they provide the most valuable educational opportunities for LEP students.

In reviewing what is known about learning a second language, in this case, English, for LEP students, it is important to keep in mind some of the following in providing service to these students.


LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT – The term ‘limited English proficient’, when used with respect to an individual, means an individual - -
1. who is aged 3 through 21;
2. who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;
3. (i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English;
(ii) (I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and
(iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where language other than English is dominant; and
4. whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual - -
(i) the ability to meet the State’s proficient level of achievement on State assessments described in section 1111(b)(3);
(ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or
(iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society.

Prior to testing, the district should determine each LEP student's need for special accommodations that are most likely to yield accurate and reliable information on what students know and can do in the subjects tested. Such determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis and, when possible, should be made by LEP teams comprised of teachers, counselors, and administrators with specific knowledge of the student involved. Factors for LEP teams to consider include:

* The student's ability to comprehend and follow standard instructions delivered in English (whether oral or written) as compared to another language.
* The student's ability to comprehend and appropriately respond to standard test items written in English.
* The language that will best allow the student to demonstrate his or her proficiency in the in the skill(s) being tested.
* Timing or pacing variations that may assist in English comprehension.
* Responsive variations that may minimize English language limitations.
* Encoding or decoding assistance including interpreters or translators.

If it is determined that an LEP student can participate with accommodations, the team making that decision must specifically indicate the type and extent of accommodations that will be provided.

Since every student is different and language abilities and needs vary widely, any testing accommodation made available to students will not be applied universally. A student's LEP team must consider the individual needs of the student in daily instructional settings as well as the additional needs that arise in a secure testing environment.


If you have questions, please contact the Title III Office at the South Dakota Department of Education at 605-773-6400.