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Graduation Guidelines - English Learners (EL)

Implementation Strategies and Promising Practices

English Learners

In a recent update to the Menu of Options (October 2021), “English” and “Math” were more clearly defined as, “Reading, Writing, and Communicating” and “Mathematics."  Because accommodations for Graduation Guidelines for English learners are locally determined, districts and LEPs have chosen to outline specific accommodations in policy and/or in students’ ICAPs, IEPs, and other formal plans.  Some of the examples of EL accommodations include:

The guidelines for English Learners on state assessments are determined by federal rules under the U.S. Department of Education.


Introduction and Data 

Secondary schools in Colorado strive to raise graduation rates, reduce dropout rates, and provide a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to be college and career ready.  In order to reach these critical goals and include English Learners, it is often tempting to immediately jump to structural changes.  Although schools must change the way they offer courses and schedule English Learners, Salazar (2009) suggests there is a more critical component that must come first: “the relentless belief in the potential of culturally and linguistically diverse youth” to achieve academically.

There are no simple solutions or one-size fits all formulas for fostering success for secondary English Learners. Every school must consider the particular needs of its own community. Even if a given English Learner population appears on the surface to be relatively homogenous, assessment will reveal that those students have all sorts of differing educational backgrounds and unique needs.

Graduations rates vary widely from state to state.  To see how Colorado matches up, click here.

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