ML Identification & Data

Please note: The terms on this page may alternate between "English Learner" (EL) and "Multilingual Learner" (ML). As of March 21, 2022, NCDPI shifted to using "English Learner" for policy and legislation purposes and "Multilingual Learner" for all other purposes. See this letter or watch this video for more details.

EL Identification, Data Collection, and Reporting

PowerSchool (PS) serves as the authoritative source for EL student data and therefore serves as the official system for verifying student EL status. EL functionality is managed at the state level by the NCDPI ML/Title III Team and locally by program coordinators and designees. EL data collection and reporting through PowerSchool includes:

  • EL Identification: Home Language Survey
  • EL Identification (WIDA Screener scores)
  • EL Headcount
    • The Headcount of English Learners is used to determine the distribution of PRC 054 state funds and LEA/Charter school eligibility for the federal Title III PRC 104 Language Acquisition Grant. In accordance with SL 2003-284, Section 7.15(b), the Department of Public Instruction is required to prepare a headcount of all English Learner students and report it to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by December 15 of each year (22-23 EL Headcount).
  • Immigrant Headcount 
    • The Headcount of Immigrant students is used to determine the distribution of PRC 111 federal funds and Public School Units (PSU) eligibility for the federal Title III PRC 111 Language Acquisition (Significant Increase) Grant.
  • ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
    • Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs) is North Carolina’s required annual assessment that complies with Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015)(ESSA) legislation.
    • The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is the alternate assessment for the ACCESS for ELLs test. The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is for students in grades 1–12 who are classified as ELs and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs test.
  • ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Data Validation
  • EL PD Survey

The following documents are available as a guide for EL program coordinators/designees, school administrators, testing coordinators, and data managers:

Out-of-NC-Public School Transfers

In order to support Public School Units (PSUs) with properly placing and supporting out-of-NC-public school transfer students in NC Public Schools, we developed a document to provide clarity and guidance for out-of-NC-public-school transfer students as they relate to the following areas:

  • Transcripts
  • GPAs & Grade Scale
  • Academic Placement
  • Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)
  • Testing
  • Cohort Graduation Rate

This document also includes guidance for out-of-country transfer students, especially those from wartorn areas. View the document.

Language Diversity Briefing

The Language Diversity Briefing provides information about the number of primary home languages and the number of different languages other than English spoken in homes across North Carolina (NC). This briefing is based on the PowerSchool data report of the K-12 student population. It also includes information about the language development programs available in NC.

Program Quality Review (PQR)

The Program Quality Review (PQR) is for Public School Units (PSUs) that are charged with ensuring the program quality of a school and its implementation of practices that support multilingual learners (MLs). ML Stakeholders may use the PQR tool to reflect upon, develop, and/or improve EL Data. Sections 1 (Student Identification, Placement, and Exit) and 3 (Instructional Programs and Assessment) can assist PSUs with identifying areas of success and areas that may need to be addressed.  

2021-2022 EL Data Training

The EL Data training sessions include topics such as the HLS process, screening tools, adding data to PowerSchool, EL and Immigrant headcount, Record Change Requests (RCRs), resources, and Q & A time. Program coordinators and designees should contact Susan Walz at to get access to the webinar archives.

Information and Resources

For more information, visit our subpages below or on the side-rail:

Program Quality, Program Compliance, Legislation & Policy, Professional Learning, and Resources.

To receive announcements, periodic newsletters, and other updates, sign up at NCDPI Email Updates. Add your email address and select these listservs: Dual Language/Immersion (DL/I) Educators, NC LinguaFolio, and Teachers of Multilingual Learners.