Individualized Language Plans: Promises and Pitfalls

Sara E.N. Kangas, María Cioè-Peña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the United States, individualized language plans (ILPs) have gained traction across K–12 schools. Much like the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) used in special education, ILPs outline individualized goals, accommodations, and services for multilingual learners for their language development; however, unlike IEPs, ILPs are developed at the local level with no federal oversight or guidance. While scholars have recently called for the implementation of ILPs as a mechanism for promoting systemic change, there is a scarcity of scholarship that critically discusses or examines ILPs. In response to this gap, in this Teaching Issue article, we draw upon a combination of prior research, policy guidance, and our own review of ILP templates mandated or recommended in various states across the United States, to identify the characteristics, affordances, and constraints of ILPs. After discussing the promises and pitfalls of large-scale implementation of these tools, we close this paper with two recommendations for teachers and policymakers who may consider adopting ILPs: to emphasize instructional support and a multiplicity of data and voices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-536
Number of pages15
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


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