ACCESS for ELLs & the WIDA Consortium

Contact Information

Jessica Steinbrenner
(307) 777-8568

Antoinette Hallam
(307) 777-5217

WIDA Portal

ESSA, and corresponding state statutes 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. States have to measure English learners’ progress toward English-language proficiency on statewide assessments given to all English learners annually.  In that first year, states may choose to excuse English learners from taking the reading/language arts assessment. Starting in their second year in U.S. schools, all English learners have to participate in all statewide annual assessments. But the number and kinds of tests depend on the grade level of the child.

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 Screener Tests

KW-APT (Kindergarten WIDA ACCESS Placement Test), WIDA Model or WIDA Screener)

Wyoming uses Kindergarten KW-APT or WIDA MODEL to identify English language learners (ELLs) in Kindergarten and WIDA Screener for Grades 1-12.

ACCESS for ELLs is given to all ELLs during the annual testing window, which typically lasts from mid-January through late February.  Its purposes are the following:

  • To identify students who may or may not be candidates for English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or bilingual services.
  • 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.
  • To accurately assign students identified as ELs to one of the tiers for ACCESS for ELLs.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0®

Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure large-scale online and paper-based English language proficiency assessment administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

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 2.0 for ELLs assessment. States must provide accommodations on these tests and list them in students’ IEPs or 504 plans.

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.

Only 1 percent of students can be given “alternate tests.” These tests are different from the state’s general education tests. Just a small number of kids with cognitive disabilities take these kinds of assessments. These tests aren’t usually for students with learning and attention issues.

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:

  • The student has been classified as an EL.
  • The student has a significant cognitive disability and is eligible for special education services under IDEA.
  • The student is in a curriculum aligned with Wyoming Content and Performance Standards – Extensions (WyCPSE) and is participating in the state’s alternate accountability assessment, Wy-ALT.

Important Dates

Deadline for Shipping Completed Test Materials to DRC 03/5/19

Test Materials Ordering via AMS10/16/1911/25/19
Load Pre-ID File into AMS11/25/1911/25/19
WIDA AMS Test Setup Available for Test Sessions12/2/1902/25/20
Districts Receive Test Materials01/3/2001/6/20
Test Window01/21/2002/25/20
Additional Test Materials Ordering Window in AMS01/6/2002/18/20


English Language Learner Specialty Assessment Task Force

Materials Archive

DRC Provides 2015-16 Site Data08/15/1608/15/16
SEA Provides 2016-17 Site Changes to DRC08/16/1609/13/16
Test Materials Ordering Available in AMS (LEAs)10/19/1611/30/16
Pre ID Files to DRC (SEA)11/30/1611/30/16
WIDA AMS Test Setup Available12/05/1602/28/17
Districts Receive Test Materiala (On)01/09/1701/09/17
Test Window01/24/1702/28/17
Additional Test Material Window01/09/1702/21/17
Deadline for Shipping Completed Test Material to DRC03/07/1703/07/17
Pre-Reporting Data ValidationTBDTBD
All Test Material Received at DRC03/18/1603/18/16
Pre-Reporting Data Validation WindowTBDTBD
Post-Reporting Data Validation WindowTBDTBD
Final Data Available to StateTBDTBD

More information available here.

Training Opportunities

Will ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 be online or paper-based in Wyoming in 2016-17?

During the test ordering window, October 19 – November 30, 2016 schools will decide whether to administer the online and/or paper-based ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment for the 2017 administration of ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. Schools may select one of the following options:

  • All online (computer-based)
  • All paper-based, or
  • Combination of both formats.

Although schools may select either online (computer-based) or paper-based ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment, the Wyoming Department of Education strongly encourages schools to administer the tests online, because of:

  1. Increased ease of test administration
  2. No selection of test tiers ahead of time;
  3. Group test administration of multiple grades and test tiers together
  4. Small group, rather than individually-administered, Speaking tests, with centralized, rather than local, scoring (However, headsets will be required)
  5. Speaking test training and qualification would no longer be required

The following will continue to be a paper-based assessment:

  • Writing domain of the ACCESS for ELLs Test for Grades 1-3
  • Kindergarten ACCESS
  • Alternate ACCESS for students with disabilities who have been so designated by their IEP teams, or who have this listed in their 504 plans

Will 4th and 5th grade ELLs on the Writing test respond by handwriting or keyboarding?

Wyoming’s default for grades 4-5 Writing test is keyboarding. However, districts have the option of changing to handwriting if they feel this best meets their students’ needs.

What type of training is available for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 for the three roles of those participating in delivery–Test Administrators, Test Coordinators, and Technology Coordinators?

All training materials will be available virtually through web-based modules and online resources. Training information for the three ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 roles (Test Coordinator, Test Administrator, and Technology Coordinator) is available on the ACCESS 2.0 Preparation Resources webpage. Users may select their role (or all roles) to see currently available and upcoming resources.