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Dual Language Learners Program Assessment (DLLPA): Users' Guide

A Coordinated Approach Across Management Systems and Program Services 

Dual language learner (DLL) means a child who is acquiring two or more languages at the same time, or a child who is learning a second language while continuing to develop their first language. The term "dual language learner" may encompass or overlap substantially with other terms frequently used, such as bilingual, English language learner (ELL), Limited English Proficient (LEP), English learner, and children who speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE). Terms, 45 CFR §1305.2

The Dual Language Learners Program Assessment (DLLPA) assists Head Start, child care, and pre-K program assess their management systems and services to ensure the full and effective participation of children who are DLLs and their families. In Head Start, this comprehensive management structure is referred to as a coordinated approach (Management system, 45 CFR § 1302.101(b)(2)). A coordinated approach is not new to Head Start as this informs both management systems and program service delivery. The DLLPA helps programs promote school readiness for children who are DLLs and the engagement of their families.

The DLLPA can also help your program ensure the integration of culturally and linguistically responsive practices for all children. For Head Start programs, it is necessary to respect and incorporate families' cultures and languages into management systems and services provided. All program services need to actively promote the development of a positive cultural and individual identity for all children and their families. Program staff are also members of cultural groups that need to be acknowledged. These imperatives are woven into the Multicultural Principles for Early Childhood Leaders.

Most Head Start children who are DLLs speak Spanish at home. However, more than 140 languages are spoken by Head Start children and their families (Office of Head Start – Services Snapshot: National All Programs (2016–2017))

The dual purposes of the DLLPA—to assess systems and services for children who  are DLLs and their families and to integrate culture and language for all children and families—makes this an invaluable tool for all Head Start and early learning programs.

To help you better understand the DLLPA, this guide addresses:

Take the DLL Program Assessment

Select the links to download the User's Guide and full DLLPA.

Topic:Culture and Language

Keywords:Bilingual children, Self-assessment

Resource Type: Article

National Centers: Office of Head Start

Last Updated: August 1, 2018