Skip Navigation

Home Publications Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment

Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment

by Susan Henry, Daniel Mello, Maria-Paz Avery, Caroline Parker and Erin Stafford

Most state departments of education across the United States recommend or require that districts use a home language survey as the first step in a multistep process of identifying students who qualify for English learner student services. School districts typically administer the home language survey to parents and guardians during a student's first enrollment in a school or district to determine whether the student speaks a language other than English or whether parents or guardians speak a language other than English to the student in the home. Parents, educators, and the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights have raised concerns that existing home language surveys may not reveal accurate information about students' language skills or exposure to English language and literacy because of inconsistency in administering these surveys, among other reasons. Therefore, the home language survey may contribute to the misidentification of English learner students. Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands, in partnership with the English Language Learners Alliance, developed the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment to help state departments of education and school districts improve the quality of data collected through home language surveys and improve the identification of potential English learner students. The 44-item self-assessment is designed for state leaders who coordinate district programs to support students' English language acquisition and achievement, as well as for district leaders who oversee the process of identifying English learner students in schools. The self-assessment is designed to be used by state staff to gather information from district English learner program coordinators on four areas that affect the quality of data collected through home language surveys: purposes, policies, and guidelines about home language survey administration; data collection practices; personnel support; and data management. The self-assessment also prompts district staff to self-assess key practices in home language survey development and administration to improve high-quality data collection at the local level. This report presents the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment, along with instructions on how to administer it, and describes how to engage stakeholders--including state departments of education, district English learner program coordinators, school English learner specialists, parents, student enrollment/registration staff, and data managers--in analyzing and interpreting its results. Reflecting on the results at both the state and district levels can inform decisions that could contribute to more accurate data on English learner students and more accurate resource allocations for districts. The following are appended: (1) Developing the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment; (2) The data quality framework; (3) How items in the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment align with the data quality framework; and (4) Workshop protocol: Working with the results of the Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment.

Online Availability

Connect with REL Northeast & Islands