ELPS Instructional Tool

ELPS Instructional Tool splash screen

The purpose of this tool is to support and outline how to plan focused, targeted, and systematic instruction to meet the linguistic needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) identified at the beginning and intermediate proficiency levels in grade 3 or higher, as well as explore the language development process.

Below is an image of the table of contents for the ELPS Instructional Tool. Review the sections. Note that this resource is organized by the same sections.

ELPS Instructional Tool-Table of Contents graphic


ELPS Instructional Tool icon

Click the icon at left to download the ELPS Instructional Tool.





Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, §74.4

In 2007–2008, the State Board of Education approved the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) as the second language acquisition curriculum necessary for the success of English language learners. In accordance with the ELPS, Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, §74.4, requires school districts to




"provide intensive and ongoing foundational second language acquisition instruction to ELLs in Grade 3 or higher who are at the beginning or intermediate level of English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and/or writing as determined by the state’s English language proficiency assessment system. These ELLs require focused, targeted, and systematic second language acquisition instruction to provide them with the foundation of English language vocabulary, grammar, syntax and English mechanics necessary to support content–based instruction and accelerated learning of English."



The ELPS are the second language acquisition curriculum necessary for the success of ELLs.

Second Language Acquisition

ELPS Second Language Acquisition circle graphic

Texas educators must provide intensive and ongoing foundational second language acquisition instruction to beginning and intermediate ELLs in grades 3 or higher in order to support content-based instruction and the accelerated learning of English.

Second language acquisition is a process of learning a second language or target language, and it is an interdependent process.

Second language acquisition depends on

  • a progression of skills in the four language domains;
  • the receptive skills necessary for comprehension and attainment of language;
  • the expressive skills needed to express and share ideas; and
  • instructional tasks that implement a multitude of learning interactions that promote the development of receptive and expressive skills simultaneously.

The foundation of the English language is necessary for ELLs' development and attainment of TEKS-based content. It's important to understand students' language proficiency levels to linguistically accommodate academic and essential vocabulary, allow students to practice oral and written forms of grammar and syntax during cooperative and independent tasks, provide students with a linguistic platform to build on in order to advance to the next proficiency level, and include elements of the four language domains during content-based instruction.

The beginning and intermediate level of English language proficiency in ELLs require focused, targeted, and systematic second language acquisition instruction to provide them with the foundation of English language vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and English mechanics necessary to support content-based instruction and accelerated learning of English.

Language Development Process

Language development planning and content-based instruction involve an ongoing process in which teachers of ELLs must identify and respond to the linguistic and academic needs of individual ELLs.

Review the instructional process for the design and delivery of language development and how it provides guidance for making decisions to foster a supportive language-learning environment for ELLs to reach their full academic potential.



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Review pp. 10–11, Language Development Process.





Use the bullet titles from the graphic below to answer the following questions which are intended to generate reflection regarding the language development process, emphasizing the progress, performance, and attainment of the English language for ELLs.

ELPS Language Development Process graphic for reflection
  • How do/does _____move ELLs toward the attainment of English language proficiency?
  • What is the effect on ELLs’ progress if _____ is/are not addressed?
  • What is the relationship between the performance of ELLs and _____?
  • How is the English language proficiency of ELLs affected when _____is/are not addressed?


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Review the Language Development Process on p. 12.




ELPS-TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors

ELPS-TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors image of teacher and ELL students

States are required annually to assess the progress of K–12 ELLs in the language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

For the State of Texas, this assessment is the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), which is aligned with the ELPS Cross-Curricular Student Expectations.

Students are assessed using the ELPS–TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs) in each language domain. Each language domain has four levels of language proficiency: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high.

The PLDS used for TELPAS are the same as those located in 19 TAC §74.4(d).

Proficiency Level Descriptor table graphic

Language proficiency is the level of skills demonstrated when receiving messages (input) and expressing meaning (output). Students should be able to consistently and effectively demonstrate these skills across a variety of academic and social contexts.

Planning Linguistically Accommodated Instruction with the ELPS-TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors

Language development planning and content-based instruction involve an ongoing process in which teachers of ELLs must identify and respond to the linguistic and academic needs of individual ELLs. 

The ELPS-TELPAS PLDs provide the guidance for educators to design and deliver grade-level, content-based instruction in conjunction with providing ELLs with a foundation in the English language. 

It is important to take into account the ELPS Cross-Curricular Student Expectations and the PLDs and choose appropriate lesson activities, supplementary materials, and linguistic accommodations.

Familiarization with the PLDs allows educators to work efficiently within students’ current proficiency levels and assist students in developing the skills necessary to progress to the next proficiency level.



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Review pp. 15–20, ELPS-TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors.





Degree of Linguistic Accommodations by Language Domain

Level of linguistic accommodation graphic: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high.

This section provides an overview of the degree of linguistic accommodations by language domain (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).  Although each table includes all four levels of language proficiency, the focus is on beginning and intermediate examples of linguistic accommodations in accordance to 19 TAC §74.4b(4).

The graphic demonstrates how the level of linguistically-accommodated instruction decreases as students advance to higher levels of proficiency.

ELPS levels of linguistic accommodations

Review the Classroom Activity, Teacher Supports, and Student Outcomes for each of the language domains.



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Review pp. 21–25, Degree of Linguistic Accommodations by Language Domain, in the ELPS Instructional Tool.





Linguistic Processing Skills

Linguistic Processing Skills image

ELLs must be provided with multiple opportunities to employ a variety of grammatical structures. Some grammatical structures tend to be acquired more easily than others, and progression is often simple to complex.

Linguistic Processing Skills-Simple to Complex
Anxiety vs Content & Language Developoment

Linguistic processing tools, such as sentence frames and probing questions, can be adapted and/or scaffolded to support ELLs at varying levels of language.

Language development activities and student-learning tools need be rooted in classroom instruction to support the transition from one level of language proficiency to the next.  With time, ELLs will begin to acquire and attain the ability to apply these skills effectively in academic and social settings.

The goal is to increase the linguistic complexity necessary for beginning and intermediate ELLs’ participation in listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. 

Levels of content and language development will increase as students do not have to contend with context, grammar, and syntax simultaneously.



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Sentence frames provide students with the means to receive and express language while reducing their anxiety, pp. 28–33.