What Are the 4 Levels of ELLs? Explained and Analyzed

English Language Learners (ELL) are individuals who’re in the process of acquiring English as their second language. These learners vary in their proficiency levels, which can range from beginner to native speaker. However, in order to understand their progress and tailor instruction accordingly, educators and language practitioners have divided ELL levels into four distinct categories. These categories include beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, and upper intermediate. It’s crucial to recognize these levels, as they allow educators to effectively support and challenge ELLs in their language acquisition journey, ultimately facilitating their overall academic and socio-cultural integration.

What Does ELD Level 4 Mean?

ELD Level 4 represents a stage in English language development where students are considered to be in the early advanced phase. At this level, students have acquired a solid foundation in English and are building upon their language skills to reach a more advanced level. They demonstrate proficiency in a range of language skills and are able to understand and use English in various contexts.

They’re able to follow lectures and presentations, extract key information, and understand the main ideas and supporting details. They also have the ability to interact in English with fluency and confidence, participating actively in group discussions and collaborative tasks.

Students at this level demonstrate a strong command of the language and are on their way to becoming proficient users of English in academic and professional settings. They continue to refine their language skills and expand their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, preparing themselves for the challenges of higher education and the workforce.

English Language Proficiency Levels Our ENL students are provided with a unique and individualized program according to their English proficiency. The program is designed to support students as they progress through five distinct levels: Entering (Level 1/Beginner), Emerging (Level 2), Transitioning (Level 3), Expanding (Level 4), and Commanding (Level 5). Each level builds upon the skills and knowledge gained in the previous level, allowing students to gradually develop their English language proficiency.

What Are the 5 ENL Levels?

Our ENL students are provided with a unique and individualized program according to their English proficiency levels. The first level, Entering, is for beginners who’ve very limited English language skills. These students may have just started learning English and need significant support in all areas of language learning. They may struggle with basic vocabulary, sentence structure, and pronunciation.

The second level, Emerging, is for students who’re starting to develop their English language skills. They can understand and use simple language in familiar contexts and are able to communicate basic information. However, they still require assistance and support to fully understand and participate in more complex language tasks.

The third level, Transitioning, is for students who’re making progress in their English proficiency. They can comprehend and produce more complex language, although with some difficulty. They may still struggle with more advanced vocabulary, grammar, and communication skills, but they’re beginning to demonstrate more independence in their learning.

The fourth level, Expanding, is for students who’re becoming more proficient in English. They’re able to understand and use a wide range of vocabulary, grammar structures, and communication strategies. They can participate in academic discussions, comprehend complex texts, and express their thoughts and opinions more confidently.

The fifth level, Commanding, is for students who’ve reached a high level of English proficiency. These students are able to engage in critical thinking, analyze and evaluate information, and express themselves fluently and accurately.

We recognize and celebrate the unique learning journey and progress of each individual student, ensuring they’ve the necessary skills and support to succeed in their academic and social endeavors.

How Are ENL Students Assessed for Their English Proficiency Level?

Assessment of English proficiency levels in English as a New Language (ENL) students involves evaluating their language skills and abilities. This typically includes assessing their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as their understanding of grammar and vocabulary. Various methods are used for assessment, such as oral interviews, written exams, and standardized language proficiency tests. Additionally, teachers may observe students’ classroom participation, engagement, and written assignments to gauge their overall language proficiency. The assessment process aims to determine students’ current language abilities, identify areas for improvement, and inform instruction and support to help them progress in their English language learning journey.

ESL 4, also known as English-as-a-second language level 4, is a course designed to help high-intermediate ESL students develop their language skills further. In this level, students focus on responding to multi-step directions and effectively communicating using both formal and informal language in a variety of situations. Through the course, students engage with written instructions, narratives, graphical materials, and even practice writing and editing well-structured paragraphs. ESL 4 aims to equip learners with the necessary language tools to navigate complex tasks and express themselves fluently.

What Does ESL 4 Mean?

ESL 4 is an advanced level English-as-a-second language course designed to equip students with the necessary skills to understand and respond to multi-step directions. In this course, students are exposed to a wide range of instructional materials that require critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Through practicing with written instructions, students learn how to dissect complex sentences, identify key steps, and execute tasks accurately. This enhances their ability to comprehend and perform various tasks that involve multiple steps.

It equips students with the skills needed to understand and respond to multi-step directions, communicate effectively in various contexts, interpret diverse types of texts, and write organized paragraphs. Through this course, students can significantly enhance their English language proficiency.

The Importance of Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Abilities in Language Learning

  • Enhances communication skills
  • Develops analytical thinking
  • Improves problem-solving skills
  • Aids in understanding complex concepts
  • Encourages independent learning
  • Fosters creativity and innovation
  • Promotes self-reflection and self-improvement
  • Inspires curiosity and a thirst for knowledge
  • Empowers learners to be active participants in their own education
  • Prepares individuals for the challenges of the future job market

Source: ESL 074 – English as a Second Language (ESL) Level 4


In conclusion, it’s crucial to recognize that language proficiency among English Language Learners (ELLs) isn’t a one-size-fits-all spectrum. ELLs encompass a diverse range of language abilities that can be categorized into different levels. While the four commonly identified levels include beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, and advanced, it’s important to acknowledge that there are additional levels such as upper intermediate and native speaker proficiency.

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