The Minnesota Language Survey (MNLS) is used as the first step to identifying a student as an English Learner. It must be completed by parents/guardians for each student upon initial enrollment in Minneapolis Public Schools and must only be completed once. Completion of the survey is MANDATORY under state and federal law for all students. 


Administer the MN Language Survey - Webinar

April 19, 2018


Enter the MN Language Survey Data into Discovery

Frequently Asked Questions

To view each answer, click on the questions below:

+ What if the survey responses include more than one non-English language?

If more than one non-English language is listed (i.e. both Spanish and Quechua), one language may be entered in the Primary language field, and the other in Home language field. Which language is entered where may be left up to individual judgement or parent preference, keeping in mind that the language entered as the home language is what will be included on most demographic reports.

+ What about responses that include English dialects or creoles?

If survey responses include English dialects or creoles such as Liberian English, Nigerian English, Guyanese, etc., then English (Dialect) or English (Creole) should be entered in the Home language field on Discovery, and that student should be referred to an ESL teacher or the New Family Center for screening.

+ What about responses that include American Sign Language (ASL)?

ASL (Sign Language) may be entered as a student’s home language in Discovery for both hearing students with ASL as a home language and deaf students with hearing parents or guardians. However, these students should not be referred for EL screening unless an additional language besides English is included in survey responses (such as a student who uses both ASL and Somali).

+ What about a response that doesn’t match any of the languages available in the Discovery drop-down menu?

If the family reports a language that is close to but doesn’t exactly match an option in the drop-down menu, confirm with the family whether that option is correct before entering it. If there is no matching option, you may try asking the family whether there are any other names or alternate spellings for the language they reported. If you are unable to determine which option in Discovery is correct, leave home language field as is, and contact the Multilingual Department for guidance as soon as possible at or (612) 668-0174.

+ What if a mistake is made on the survey, or families ask to change their student’s home language?

If a mistake is made while the family is still completing the survey, that can be corrected on the form. Errors should be clearly crossed out so that there is no confusion over which response is correct, or the family may start over with a new form. However, after the initial survey completion (or for students previously enrolled in the district), student’s Home language as entered in Discovery should not be changed at any point in the future, and must reflect survey responses at the time of a student’s initial enrollment. If a family reports that their student’s home language as recorded in Discovery is incorrect, they must complete a new MNLS. The corrected MNLS must be submitted to the Multilingual Department at for changes to be made in Discovery as appropriate. Changes to the home language field should not be made by sites after initial survey completion. Site staff may, however, change the Primary language field in Discovery so that it reflects the language a student uses at home, or the language that parents which to receive school communications in.

+ What about non-verbal students?

In some cases, a student with a disability may be non-verbal and so parents will respond that their child does not speak or use any language. In this situation, the parents’ language should be recorded on the survey with a note explaining the situation, and that language should be entered in Discovery as the child’s home language. If the parents’ language is a language other than English, The site’s Lead ESL teacher should be notified to determine, along with Special Ed teachers, whether EL services are appropriate.

+ Do International students complete the MNLS?

The MNLS should also be completed for international students and may be completed by parents, guardians, or host families. However, students on J-1 visas do not need to be screened for English Learner services, regardless of home language. This does not apply to international students on other visas, such as F-1 visas.

+ What about students enrolling in Pre-K?

Student enrolling in Pre-K will also complete the MNLS. However, Pre-K students with a home language other than English are not screened for EL services. Students who continue in the district for kindergarten will be screened at that point based on survey responses provided during Pre-K enrollment.

+ What if parents refuse to complete the MNLS?

Parents have the right to decline to respond to the MNLS. In this situation, the top part of the MNLS should be filled out with the student’s information, and a note added to indicate that parents declined to respond. The MNLS should then be filed as usual, and the Multilingual Department should be notified at or (612) 668-0174 in order to follow-up with the family.