English learners (ELs) make up nearly 10 percent of the K–12 student population in the United States, and the number continues to grow. In the classroom, ELs often have unique needs and strengths, with differences in language, culture, and other factors. EL-related initiatives at IES include efforts to describe the EL population, understand their learning needs, and develop tools that will support their success.
The percentage of public school students in the United States who were English language learners (ELLs) was higher in fall 2015 (9.5 percent, or 4.8 million students) than in fall 2000 (8.1 percent, or 3.8 million students). In fall 2015, the percentage of public school students who were ELLs ranged from 1.0 percent in West Virginia to 21.0 percent in California. Learn more about the characteristics of English language learners in the 2018 Condition of Education, released by NCES in April.