During the 1969-1970 school year, the Chicago Public Schools began implementing bilingual education programs in two elementary schools and one high school. These programs were supported with federal funds provided under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title VII Bilingual Education Act. The State of Illinois participated in the growth of bilingual education programs by funding five projects in the 1970-1971 school year. During the next few years, the number of bilingual programs continued to expand and on October 1, 1973 the Illinois General Assembly adopted Article 14C of The School Code of Illinois.
Article 14-C of The School Code of Illinois mandates all public schools to identify students who come from a non-English language background as part of their enrollment process. Once a student is identified as coming from a non-English language background, the student is administered an English language proficiency test. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has identified the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test™ (W-APT™) as the state-prescribed English language proficiency screener.
W-APT™ is designed to measure a student’s English language proficiency in all four language domains – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The student’s English language composite proficiency level determines if the student is identified as an English Language Learner (ELL) and therefore eligible for services. ISBE has set a cut-off composite proficiency level score of 4.0. Students scoring below this cut-off score on the W-APT™ are designated as ELLs and placed in the Transitional Bilingual Education Program.
Chicago Public Schools Transitional Bilingual Education Programs must comply with federal and state mandates and Chicago Public Schools policies. All bilingual education instructional programs are standards-based and follow the grade level Illinois Learning Standards and the Illinois English Language Proficiency Standards.
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