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Harrisonburg High School

Laura Feichtinger McGrath, High School ESL Program Specialist

Language Support Program

Understanding, Supporting, and Reaching English Language Learners, a resource for teachers 

Determining a Student's Level

Students take English Language tests when they enroll and at the end of each school year. These language tests determine a student’s English Language Proficiency in the four language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The results of these assessments determine a student’s English Language Proficiency Level.

Level 1 & 2

Entering and Beginning

·         Limited oral proficiency and/or significantly below grade level in reading and writing in English.

Level 1 students who have recently arrived in the United States are placed in the Newcomer Intensive English Program. 

Level 1 and 2 students may take academic classes taught by ESL or content teachers.

Level 1 students also take electives taught by electives teachers, and math classes taught by math teachers.  Students who have more extensive experiences in US schools and remain on this level will be placed as appropriately as possible to provide both academic and language support. 

 Level 3 & 4 Students

Developing and Expanding

·         Intermediate oral proficiency and/or one to three years below grade level in reading and writing.

Level 3 and 4 students may take Full Year English with additional support in reading.  HCPS offers sections of History and Science which explicitly target language and literacy, in addition to content for students at these levels. Not all students at this level are enrolled in these courses. 

Level 5 Students


·         Advanced oral proficiency and one or less years below grade level in reading and writing.

While most students at this advanced level do not receive additional language support, students are monitored for progress. These students continue to take English Language Proficiency assessments and are still offered accommodations on required Standards of Learning tests.  

Level 6 Students


Level 6 students have demonstrated English proficiency on the Annual English Language Assessment.  They have been exited from the ESL program and are no longer counted as LEP. At this level accommodations are no longer available for Standards of Learning assessments.

* Services for students with disabilities will be addressed in the students’ IEP (Individualized Education Plan).