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OSSE Home Language Survey


Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Home Language Survey is used to determine if the student is eligible to take an English language proficiency screener. The screener score determines if the student is identified as an English learner or not an English learner. Students who are identified as English learners have the right to participate in the English language instructional program at school. Federal law requires schools to offer eligible students an English language instructional program so they may attain English language proficiency and achieve academic success. ESSA sec. 1112 requires local education agencies using Title I or Title III funds to provide a language instruction educational program and not later than 30 days into the school year, inform parents of an English learner identified for participation or participating in such a program.

The Home Language Survey is not used to determine a family’s immigration status; a family’s residency status; or if the student is an English learner (this is determined by the English language proficiency screener).

How to Administer the Survey

  • Provide all families enrolling their child in a District of Columbia school for the first time the OSSE Home Language Survey. The form is in English, Spanish, Amharic, French, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • For LEAs that provide the Home Language Survey within their online enrollment form, be sure to provide the information for families in the grey box and the questions exactly as stated, including the translations into English, Spanish, Amharic, French, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • For re-enrolling students or students transferring within DC, check the Early Access to English Learner Data application to verify the student’s EL status and previous screening and/or ACCESS scores. It is not necessary to give this survey to families who are reenrolling their child in a District of Columbia school.
  • Reasonable efforts should be made to help the family understand the purpose of the survey and how to complete it. If needed, provide language support to families who may not be able to read or understand it.

How to Process the Home Language Survey Responses

  • If the response to question 1, 2 or 3 is a language other than English, refer the student to the appropriate LEA staff, e.g., English learner coordinator, for English language proficiency screening.
  • The screener must be administered within 30 days of the student’s first day attending the school (Stage 5 enrollment). OSSE’s Delivering Education Services to English Learners lists state-approved screeners.
  • If the response to questions 1, 2 and 3 is English only, the student is considered proficient and does not need to be screened.
  • The fourth question “For additional information only: What other languages are spoken in your home?” must not be used to determine screening. It is included to provide the school additional information about the student and family’s multilingual assets.