ACCESS for ELLs® & the WIDA Consortium


Contact Information

Robin Holbrook
(307) 777-5217
Robin.Holbrook@wyo.gov

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and corresponding state statutes currently mandate that states administer a standards-based English language proficiency test annually to all English Learners (ELs) in kindergarten through grade twelve in public schools.

In order to comply with the NCLB requirement of an annual English Language Proficiency Assessment, Wyoming joined the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium in 2009. The WIDA consortium’s goal is to provide research based assessments, standards and professional development to its member states. The WIDA consortium is dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English learners.

WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT®)

WIDA provides Wyoming with a placement test called the W-APT® (WIDA ACCESS Placement Test) the W-APT® is an English proficiency screening assessment that is based upon the ACCESS for ELLs®. Its purposes are the following:

  1. To identify students who may or may not be candidates for English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or bilingual services.
  2. To determine the academic English language proficiency levels of students new to a school of to the U.S. school system in order to assign appropriate levels and amount of instructional services.
  3. To accurately assign students identified as ELs to one of the tiers for ACCESS for ELLs®.

ACCESS for ELLs® (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners)

ACCESS for ELLs® is a large-scale test which addresses the academic English language development (ELD) standards at the core of the WIDA consortium’s approach to instructing and evaluating the progress of English learners. All identified English learners in Wyoming participate in this testing program. This secure, annual assessment gives educators, parents and guardians information about the English Language Proficiency level of English learners (ELs) in kindergarten through grade 12 in the skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It also contains social and academic language contexts. For Title III accountability, ACCESS for ELLs® measures annual gains in English language proficiency – Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs).

button2014-2015 ACCESS for ELLs test Schedule

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®

The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® is an assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for students in grades 1-12 who are classified as English learners (ELs) and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; 2001) requires that all students identified as ELLs be assessed annually for English language proficiency, including students who receive special education services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) also mandates that students with disabilities participate in state-wide and district-wide assessment programs, including alternate assessments with appropriate accommodations, when it is documented in their Individualized Education Programs (IEP). For this reason, WIDA created the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® to meet federal accountability requirements and to provide educators with a measure sensitive to English language proficiency growth of ELs with significant cognitive disabilities.

In order to receive meaningful information from the test, it is very important that only students who meet all three criteria below participate in the assessment. Other ELs should continue to take the existing ACCESS for ELLs® assessment, with appropriate accommodations as necessary. Participation should be decided by the student’s IEP team.

Participation Criteria:

  1. The student has been classified as an EL.
  2. The student has a significant cognitive disability and is eligible for special education services under IDEA.
  3. The student is in an alternate curriculum aligned with Wyoming’s academic standards and is participating in the state’s alternate accountability assessment, PAWS-ALT.

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