ACCESS

Wyoming Department of Education > For District Leadership > Assessment – State System > ACCESS

Contact Information

Assessment Consultant–At-Risk Populations
Rebecca Velikaneye
(307) 777-6804
rebecca.velikaneye@wyo.gov
EL/Foreign Language Consultant
Antoinette Hallam
(307) 777-5217
antoinette.hallam@wyo.gov

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY ASSESSMENT

An English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) assesses students’ progress towards attaining English proficiency. English learners are required to participate in an ELPA once per year. An alternate ELPA is also available for English learners who also have significant cognitive disabilities. Wyoming has approved the ACCESS for ELLs® and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® for this assessment requirement. 

Assessment Links:

ASSESSING ENGLISH LEARNERS

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. In Wyoming, English learners may be exempt from the English Language Arts portion of the statewide annual assessment during their first year as an English learner. Starting their second year, English learners must participate in all content areas of the statewide annual 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 Screener Test

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten or WIDA Screener

Wyoming uses the WIDA Screener for Kindergarten to identify English language learners (ELLs) in Kindergarten and WIDA Screener for Grades 1-12. These screeners are used upon enrollment for the following purposes:

  • 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.

WIDA Model

Wyoming also uses WIDA MODEL to identify English language learners (ELLs) in Kindergarten. This screener is used upon enrollment for the following purposes:

  • 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 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®

Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners, also known as, ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale online and paper-based English language proficiency assessment. It is administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs) during the annual testing window, which typically lasts from mid-January through late February. It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs 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 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.

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.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 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 Extended Standards (WYES) and is participating in the state’s alternate accountability assessment, WY-ALT.

Purpose and Usage of Assessment 

The purpose of the English language proficiency (ELP) assessment is to help educators make decisions about their students’ English academic language and to facilitate their language development. 

Wyoming uses these test results for accountability purposes under the WAEA, as a measure for educators to make decisions about individual student supports and programs, and to support decisions about placement and progress in an English learner program. 

Helpful Links:

ACCESS for ELLs Technical Report

Please contact Cat Palmer, WDE Assessment Supervisor, at 307-777-8568 or catherine.palmer@wyo.gov for a copy of the ACCESS for ELLs Technical Report.