English Learner FAQs


  • English Learners enrolled in US schools for less than one year do not need to take the English portions of the SBA.
    • Students not testing on testing day are not allowed to stay in the classroom.
  • All 3rd - 8th students are required to take the Math portion of the SBA.
    • Read below regarding supports that may be provided during math testing.

Who should make decisions about EL Designated Supports?

Teachers and Principals lead the process while reviewing the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines.  Decisions should consider the following:

  • The student’s characteristics and needs
  • Supports that the student has been using during instruction and for other assessments
  • In some cases, student input particularly for older students
  • Some supports may be a distraction for a student or no help at all, therefore, it is important to consider each student's individual needs

Designated supports which might be considered for English learners include: 

  • Embedded glossaries (math items only)
  • Non-embedded glossaries (math items only)
  • Translated test directions (math items only)
  • Text-to-speech (items only)

Please note that an English glossary is an embedded universal tool available to ALL students for certain items on the ELA and math portions of the test.  Encourage English learners to use this support while exploring the training and practice tests.  To learn more, view the Universal Tools Training Video.

If a team of educators believes a designated support would benefit an RFEP student, that support may be provided.

After the team decides which supports are needed, Misty and SPED department will review the recommendations from the Principal and the Designated Supports will be documented and designated in TOMS.

Glossaries:  Embedded Math Items ONLY

English learners may benefit from using a Translation Glossary for mathematics tests. These students should have the Translation Glossary option selected in TOMS for the appropriate language. See the Translation Glossaries section in the Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines  for information regarding how to determine if this support is appropriate for particular students.

The EMBEDDED Glossary designated support is available as a language support provided for selected construct-irrelevant terms for mathematics tests only.

Students can be assigned: 

  • No Glossary at all 
  • English glossary only (default) 
  • One second-language glossary only 
  • English and one second-language glossary

    English Glossary (default available to ALL students)

    Spanish Glossary

    Arabic Glossary

    Cantonese Glossary

    Mandarin Glossary

    Filipino Glossary (Ilokano & Tagalog)

    Korean Glossary

    Punjabi Glossary (Eastern & Western)

    Russian Glossary

    Ukrainian Glossary

    Vietnamese Glossary

    English & Spanish Glossary

    English & Arabic Glossary

    English & Cantonese Glossary

    English & Mandarin Glossary

    English & Filipino Glossary (Ilokano & Tagalog)

    English & Korean Glossary

    English & Punjabi Glossary (Eastern & Western)

    English & Russian Glossary

    English & Ukrainian Glossary

    English & Vietnamese Glossary

Using Embedded Glossaries Handout