January 21, 2008
DELL e-Broadcast 2008.89 - Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
and Students with Disabilities
Dear WIDA Educators and Administrators:
Consistent with our mission, the WIDA Consortium is
committed to meeting the educational needs of all ELL
students. As part of this commitment, WIDA has been working
on the development of the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs, which is designed to be a English language proficiency
(ELP) measure for use with ELL students who have significant
disabilities. As part of the development of the Alternate
ACCESS, we have also developed Alternate Model Performance
Indicators (AMPIs) for use with ELL students who also
have significant disabilities.
To date, there has been no research examining the participation
of ELLs with significant disabilities in ELP assessments.
In fact, at the present time, there are no existing alternate
ELP measures, nor has a framework been developed for
how to include these students in ELP assessments (Abedi,
2007). Instead, decisions regarding the participation
of ELLs with significant disabilities in assessment programs
are generally based on a piecemeal approach to research,
with information obtained separately from the ELL assessment
literature and the literature on students with disabilities.
A decision is typically made based on what is known about
how to include ELLs and how to include students with
disabilities, but not how to include ELLs with disabilities. We need to look specifically at ELLs with disabilities
to identify the best method for including these students
in language proficiency assessment programs and thereby
obtain valid, reliable, and useful information about
their educational and English language progress.
The proposed project will develop and examine alternate
ELP assessments that would be appropriate for students
who meet the required criteria for participation, which
are illustrated below.
We are now ready to conduct the full-scale Field Test
to validate the use of this measure. We are contacting
you to inquire about your interest in participating in,
or ability to facilitate the recruitment of, individuals
for participation in this Field Test. It is essential
that we have participants from as many states as possible
to ensure adequate representation of students within
the standardization sample.
For a student to be eligible to participate in the Alternate
ACCESS for ELLs Field Test, the following criteria should
Must be ELL and a student with a significant
Student’s prior participation in a state’s
alternate assessment for academic progress may
be an indicator for participation in the Alternate
ACCESS in some or all domains
Student’s disability precludes meaningful
participation in the ACCESS for ELLs even with
Student’s difficulty with linguistic demands
is primarily due to disability and not to related
factors typical in the second-language acquisition
Student requires extensive direct instruction
to accomplish the acquisition, application, and
transfer of English language skills
Access to the general education curriculum more
closely reflects alternate model performance indicators
(AMPIs) than age/grade appropriate benchmarks
Eligible for Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
We have outlined some the goals, benefits, and expectations
- To develop Alternate Model Performance Indicators
(AMPIs) for use with ELL students who have significant
- To validate an English language proficiency
for English language learners with significant disabilities.
The assessment is an alternate version of the ACCESS
for ELLs™ assessment system developed by the
WIDA consortium and that is currently used in 16 states.
- To evaluate the content, structure, psychometric
properties, and acceptability of the Alternate ACCESS
- To revise, as necessary, the assessment and
develop a final version of the Alternate ACCESS
for ELLs that produces
reliable and valid results for measuring English
language proficiency levels of ELLs with significant
Administrator/LEA Representative Role
- Identify ELL and/or special education teachers
with ELL students eligible for alternate achievement
- Provide researchers with the
contact information of these teachers no later than
February 8, 2008.
Participating Teacher Activities
- Distribution and collection of parent consent
forms for each participating student.
- Completion of the online Alternate ACCESS
for ELLs for each participating student, which involves
collection and analysis of work samples and other
forms of evidence of student performance based on performance
indicators across language domains and standards.
evidence-based collection approach is online and
the testing window will start February 15, 2008.
- Provision of participating students' IEPs,
if applicable, to the researchers. Teacher and student
names and student birthdates should be "masked' using
a black marker or whiteout on all of the IEP documents.
Please do not mask the other demographic information
(e.g., grade level, disability status).
- Completion of a brief, online questionnaire
regarding their feelings toward the structure and
content of the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs assessment
Participating Parent Activities
- Provision of written consent for their child's
involvement in the project.
- Total time for
parent participation is expected to be approximately
5 minutes and consent forms will
be translated into appropriate languages.
Benefits to Participating Schools
- Participating teachers will gain experience
with the assessment of English language proficiency
for ELLs with significant disabilities. The knowledge
can be used to monitor the progress of these students
and design instruction to best meet their needs.
- Participating teachers will be given the
opportunity to provide input into the development of
a new assessment
system that will likely be used by many of the states
who are members of the WIDA consortium.
Using the Data/Sharing the Results
- All materials collected as part of the study
will be strictly confidential:
- Students and teachers will be assigned code
numbers; names will be deleted from all materials.
- All submitted materials
will be kept in a secure, locked file cabinet during
the study; and destroyed
following the completion of the study, in a manner
- No identifying information about teachers,
parents, or students will be shared in any presentation
results of this study.
- Upon request, participating
schools will receive a summary of the results of
the study upon its completion.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or to
ask for more information (608-262-4586 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
For the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs to become a reality,
we really need assistance in recruiting participants.
If you are able to participate in the Field Test or know
of students who might meet the criteria for the Field
Test, please contact me at your convenience.
Craig A. Albers, PhD
School Psychology Program
University of Wisconsin - Madison
316E Educational Sciences
1025 West Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53706-1796
Phone (608) 262-4586
Fax (608) 262-0843
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Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777