The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction's English Language Program Advisory Committee (ELPAC) has reviewed the exit criteria for the state English Learner Program and made some changes to the ACCESS English language proficiency scores needed to exit the program. These changes will be effective as of the 2021-22 school year:
New Composite Proficiency Level (CPL) Minimum
- Minimum ACCESS proficiency level scores of 4.5 composite and 3.5 in each domain
- The language proficiency team will decide whether a student who scored a 4.5 composite and at least a 3.5 in each domain (except for speaking, which can be lower than 3.5) on the 2020-21 ACCESS test should be exited from the program. This process is called a request for reclassification, and should be discussed at fall parent-teacher conferences.
Bismarck Public Schools uses an on-line student registration process. You may access the on-line system at www.bismarckschools.org
If you do not have Internet or computer access, you may also come in to the Central Registration Office at 806 N. Washington St., Door #2, to complete on-line registration there. If you need an interpreter to help you with this process, you may call BPS Central Registration at 701-323-4110 or the English Learner Program office at 701-323-4143 (se habla español). Tell us the language you speak, and the time and date you would like to come. We will make sure an interpreter is available to help you at that time.
Please have the following documents ready when you register:
Parent Identification (valid picture ID, tribal ID, or passport)
One primary proof of residence (lease or rental agreement, home mortgage statement or purchase agreement, homeowner's insurance policy, or Burleigh County property tax statement)
One secondary proof of residence (current gas, electricity, water, cable TV or Direct TV bill, or Department of Social Services documentation)
One proof of birth of the student (passport, child's picture ID with birth date, birth certificate, hospital record, baptismal record, or school record with proof of age)
The student's recent immunization records
The North Dakota English Learners Program Advisory Committee (ELPAC) has recommended that all ND school districts administer an English language proficiency screener to incoming students who have a language other than English spoken in their home, unless the student's prior school records show overwhelming evidence of academic success.
Bismarck Public Schools currently uses the computer-based WIDA Screener to determine 1st-12th grade students' English language proficiency levels. Kindergarteners are given the WIDA MODEL paper test. We try to schedule this testing at the same time as your registration appointment. Testing may take from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the age and English proficiency level of the student.
Entering kindergarten students are tested in speaking and listening. Grades 1-12 students are tested in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each student receives an overall score between 1.0 and 6.0. To be eligible for services from the BPS English Learner Program, students must score less than 5.0.
Within two weeks of initial testing, you will receive a letter from the BPS English Learner Program that will tell you your child's English language proficiency score, and whether or not your child qualifies for the EL Program.
A BPS English Learner Program teacher will be assigned to your child. This teacher will provide services at your child's school. You will be asked to be part of the Language Support Team that creates an Individual Language Plan (ILP) for your child. Once this document is completed, you will receive a copy of it. The ILP will be updated every year until your child exits the EL Program.
The EL teacher assigned to your child will work on developing your child's English language proficiency, both for social interactions and the more academic language of the classroom. The length of time students spend in the EL program while developing these language skills can range from just a few months up to eight years, depending on many factors. The EL teacher will keep you informed of your child's progress.
Once a year, North Dakota requires districts across the state to test their EL students' proficiency. The test that is used is called the ACCESS 2.0, and it is given between January and March. Students in kindergarten take a paper version, while students in grades 1-12 use a computer to take this test. Test results are received by districts in May, and students who earn an overall score of 5.0 (with no sub-score less than 3.5) exit the program in June. Parents are notified of their child's score before the end of the school year in which the test was administered. Students who exit are monitored by the EL teacher assigned to their school for two years to ensure that the student is experiencing success in the classroom.