February 18, 2009

ISBE DELL e-Broadcast 2009.149 - Home Language Survey

The Home Language Survey (HLS) is part of the enrollment process for all students newly enrolling in a school district.  The HLS may appear on the enrollment form or on a separate form.  

The HLS consists of two multi-part questions.  The first multi-part question has been revised to read:  “Is a language other than English spoken in your home?”  If the answer is yes, the parent is then asked to identify what language is spoken.  

The second multi-part question has not been changed.  It reads: “Does your child speak a language other than English?”  If the answer is yes, the parent is then asked to identify what language the child speaks.  If the answer to either of the questions is “yes,” the law requires the school to assess the child’s English language proficiency.

Districts should update the wording on their HLS to match the new text. Districts may include additional questions, but the first two provided by the State Board must be worded exactly as posted on the English Language Learning (ELL) website. 

The new English and Spanish versions of the Home Language Survey are posted on the ELL website at www.isbe.net/bilingual and are ready for district use. Versions in 39 additional languages should be available by the end of February and in time for early kindergarten registration this spring. Districts must complete the survey for every student who enrolls for the first time.

The survey is important to districts and the state because the information collected is used to count the students whose families speak a language other than English at home. It also helps to identify the students who need to be assessed for English language proficiency.

Districts can find the definition of Home Language in the Illinois Administrative Code, Section 228.10 and Identification of Eligible Students in Section 228.15.

For additional information, contact Robin Lisboa, English Language Learning, at rlisboa@isbe.net.