Two reports authored by analysts with the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy provide a framework for the most critical steps early childhood systems should take to identify, understand, and track language development of young Dual Language Learners (DLLs), as well as a national scan of the procedures some state and local Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs use to identify DLLs. An accompanying data tool provides state-level data on DLLs and a host of socio-demographic information on their families.
Ending the Invisibility of Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Systems: A Framework for DLL Identification offers a framework describing the most critical elements that should be included in standardized, comprehensive DLL identification and tracking processes for early childhood systems, based on program and policy needs.
The key elements of this framework are:
- identifying young children who have exposure to a language other than English in their home environment;
- collecting comprehensive information about DLLs’ language environment and experiences;
- obtaining in-depth information about DLLs’ individual language and preliteracy skills in English and in their home language(s); and
- making these data and other relevant information accessible to programs and policymakers across early childhood and K-12 systems.
Taking Stock of Dual Language Learner Identification and Strengthening Procedures and Policies examines the extent to which federal agencies, states, and localities have procedures or guidance in place to identify DLLs in major early childhood programs. The report discusses the obstacles and substantial costs of failing to identify DLLs and taps into the literature on identification and classification of English Learners in the K-12 sector for potential lessons relevant to identification efforts of early childhood systems. The report also explores the innovative strategies several states and localities have taken to improve DLL identification and concludes with a discussion of opportunities to advance more comprehensive DLL identification policies and practices.