Teachers use data to check and understand where their students are in their learning and to plan what to do next. Effective analysis of student data helps teachers identify areas where students’ learning needs may require additional attention and development.

The EAL/D Learning Progression (PDF 397 KB) supports teachers to determine the current strengths and needs of English language learners. The Using the EAL/D Learning Progression (staff only) professional learning supports teachers in their understanding of this data tool, as does the short video below.

EAL/D learning progression


The EAL/D learning progression describes a progression of English language learning typical of students learning English as an additional language or dialect.

The EAL/D learning progression has been developed primarily for teachers who are not EAL/D specialist teachers, to assist with: firstly, understanding the broad phasing of English language learning that EAL/D students are likely to experience.

Secondly, identifying where their students are on the progression and the nature of their speaking, listening, reading/viewing and writing skills.

And thirdly, monitoring the linguistic progress of their EAL/D learners.

The EAL/D learning progression gives a broad description of learner characteristics for each of the 4 phases of English language learning.

The EAL/D learning progression describes the phases of English language learning for the 3 main stages of schooling: K to year 2, Years 3 to 6, and Years 7 to 10.

It is important to note that EAL/D students may enter NSW public schools at any stage of education, and at any phase on the EAL/D learning progression.

The 4 phases are: Beginning English, Emerging English, Developing English and Consolidating English.

Beginning phase students are unfamiliar with the English language. Some beginning phase students may have familiarity with print in their first language, while other students, a sub-category known as Limited Literacy Background, have limited or no experience of literacy in any language.

Emerging phase students have a growing degree of print literacy and oral language competency in English, and require significant support to access the curriculum and express their understanding.

Developing phase students still require language to be taught explicitly to fully access the curriculum, and have developing degrees of knowledge of print literacy and oral language competency in English.

As the term suggests, Consolidating phase students have a sound knowledge of spoken and written English, including a growing competency with academic English. They will require explicit teaching to develop their understanding of culturally laden topics of study.

EAL/D learners will move through the phases at different rates: some students may move through more than one phase in a school year, while others may take more than one year to move from one phase to another.

EAL/D learners may be at different phases across the language modes of listening, speaking, reading/viewing and writing. A student may be Developing English in reading while still at Emerging English in writing.

EAL/D learners who are not meeting age-related benchmarks when assessed against syllabus outcomes may not necessarily be ‘underperforming’, but rather achieving at levels commensurate with their English language learning phase. The EAL/D learning progression can assist in differentiation and scaffolding.

Transition from one stage of school to another may cause an EAL/D learner to plateau or slip.

The EAL/D learning progression assists us to differentiate our teaching and learning to support our English language learners achieve syllabus outcomes.

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Data drawn from both the EAL/D learning progression and the National literacy learning progression has been analysed to assist EAL/D learners to achieve the HSC minimum standard in this Illustration of practice.

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