English Language Learning
A letter from Dr. Tim Boals in WIDA to Illinois’ school districts acknowledging the challenges that IL educators are experiencing while administrating ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test. WIDA is working collaboratively with DRC to address these issues with the goal to improve the testing experience for all.
Paper testing materials for the ACCESS for ELLs assessment will not be shipped to Illinois districts and schools as originally scheduled due to data system complications. You should now expect paper ACCESS materials to arrive by January 19th, 2016. The testing window is being adjusted accordingly.
The standard testing window for all districts using paper materials is now January 25th to February 26th, 2016. The date by which to have materials picked up for return to the vendor (DRC) is March 4th, 2016. Please, note the following provisions that apply only to the 2016 ACCESS testing cycle.
- ACCESS testing with paper materials may actually begin earlier than January 25th. If you have materials and are ready, it’s not necessary to wait until January 25th.
- For online ACCESS testing, there is no schedule delay. It may begin as originally scheduled for your district (as early as January 11th), but it may now continue until February 26th. This is to accommodate districts that are using both the online and paper formats.
- The window for ordering additional paper materials still begins on January 6th, but now extends to February 19th.
This schedule adjustment is not expected to delay the availability of preliminary ACCESS results for data corrections, currently scheduled for May 9-27, 2016.
ISBE apologizes for this late change in the ACCESS testing cycle. If you have questions, feel free to contact Barry Pedersen in the Division of Student Assessment, 866-317-6034, or email@example.com.
If any school districts currently scheduled to administer ACCESS on paper are interested in switching to the online format, wholly or partially, DRC is more than happy to work with them toward that end. They may be reached at 855-787-9615, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Writing Domain Field Testing Announcement
WIDA is inviting school districts with ELs to participate in a field test for ACCESS Writing. The Writing domain field test for the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online assessment is set for Jan. 4 through Feb. 12, 2016. Only students who have completed their operational ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment via the online format are eligible to participate in this field test. Contact Alex Bauer at email@example.com or (608) 265-0601 for more information.
- ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Updates(11/3/15)
- ACCESS Tier Assignment Guidance
- New "proficiency" definition for identifying English Learners in Illinois Schools as of January 1, 2014 (6/13)
- 2016 ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Calendar (1/6/16)
ISBE is no longer using paper forms for this process. For districts wanting to choose an alternate testing window for ACCESS 2.0, please check the SIS webinar that explains how to request alternate testing dates. No reason for the request needs to be entered, but if the number of waiver requests is very large, districts may be asked to provide additional information regarding their request.
- Updated Procedure for ACCESS 2.0 Student Transfer during the Testing (1/16)
- 2015-16 Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Participation Guidance
There are a number of ACCESS 2.0 accommodations available to English Learners who are IEPs. The following five accommodations need to be arranged prior to testing. Those accommodations for paper should be ordered in WIDA-AMS during the test materials ordering window. The online accommodations can be turned on in WIDA-AMS any time prior to the test administration after ISBE has uploaded the Pre-ID file to DRC. Note that test tickets for the online format should be created after selecting these accommodations in WIDA-AMS.Paper FormatOnline Format
- Large Print
- Extended Time for Speaking Response (ES)
- Manual Control of Audio (MC)
- Repeat Item Audio (RA)
Other support options are available for ACCESS 2.0. Some require an IEP, others do not. The following links have more information.
Beginning Sept. 23, 2015, WIDA will be conducting a series of webinars to help prepare school districts for this year’s ACCESS administration. Click here for announcements and resources about the transition to ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.
- ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Updates - 2015 Bilingual Program Directors’ Meeting Presentation (9/15)
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Site File setup via SIS- due Sep. 30, 2015
Data Recognition Corp. (DRC), the new material vendor for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, requested that schools and districts in Illinois that will be participating in the ACCESS 2.0 and ordering materials provide a Site File by Sept. 30, 2015.
- The Site File identifies contact information for key staff who will facilitate the assessment.
- ISBE will use the Student Information System (SIS) to collect this information and will transfer the Site File to DRC on Oct. 1, 2015.
- DRC will create district accounts in its online administration management system called WIDA-AMS.
- District coordinator(s) reported in the SIS Site File will be notified by email once those accounts are ready to use.
- Schools and districts are recommended to view the SIS webinar “Planning for School Year 2016” showing the Site File setup and how to submit information.
For 2015-16, the ACCESS for ELLs test is available in either electronic or paper format. The window for ordering paper materials is now open. The last day to place orders is Nov. 13, 2015.
The new ACCESS vendor, DRC, has issued user accounts for its new website, www.wida-ams.us, where materials are ordered and electronic test sessions are set up. For each district that participated in ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS testing during 2014-15, at least one account was issued. The default user is the district superintendent unless alternate contact information was entered into SIS during September (refer to the announcement for ACCESS 2.0 Site File Set Up via SIS above).
Additional ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test materials ordering window: January 6 - February 5, 2016(12/22/15)
The Additional ACCESS test material ordering is available for IL from January 6 to February 5. District must use their WIDA-AMS account for test materials ordering. Please use the overage materials that have been sent before ordering additional materials. For more in-depth instructions on ordering, please refer to the WIDA AMS User Guide Part 1, which is available on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Training Course on the WIDA website (www.wida.us). The Test Administration Manuals also provide an overview of the steps for the ordering and receiving materials process.
Please do not hesitate to contact DRC Customer Service with any questions at WIDA@datarecognitioncorp.com or 1-855-787-9615.
For districts that completed the test materials ordering via WIDA AMS by November 13, 2015, the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test materials will be delivered to districts on or before Tuesday, January 19, 2016. For questions regarding delivery, please call DRC Customer Service at 1-855-787-9615.
The WIDA Assessment Management System (WIDA-AMS) Test Setup window for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 will take place beginning Monday, December 7, 2015 through the end of the testing window. District test coordinators will have the ability to view students in the system as well as to view and modify test sessions. If districts are testing ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online, they must make sure that students are entered in appropriate test sessions.
For more in-depth instructions on Test Setup, please refer to the Manage Students and Test Session Creation modules and/or the WIDA AMS User Guide Part 2, which are available on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Training Course on the WIDA website (www.wida.us).
Please do not hesitate to contact DRC Customer Service with any questions at WIDA@DataRecognitionCorp.com or 1-855-787-9615.
- What is WIDA-AMS?
WIDA-AMS is a companion website to www.wida.us. It is managed by the new ACCESS vendor DRC. You will use it to order paper materials, and manage the online testing process for your district. Once your WIDA-AMS user account has been set up, you will receive an email with a link to WIDA-AMS (www.wida-ams.us) and instructions for signing-in. Someone with a District Coordinator user account in WIDA-AMS can add users and assign permissions to user accounts.
Training and reference materials for using WIDA-AMS are available on the WIDA website (www.wida.us). Log-in and click on “My Account and Secure Portal” at the top right. Select the training course for “Online Grades 1-12” to open the “Online Test Administrator Checklist”. As part of the checklist, you will be able to review the WIDA-AMS User Guide Part 1and Part 2, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Online Test Administration Manual, and the following WIDA-AMS training modules:
WIDA User Account WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS) Account Required to access for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 training and other resources related to test administration.
Must log in with your personal WIDA user account at www.wida.us.
Required to order tests and manage test administration.
Note: This is a different user name and password than the personal WIDA user account log-in.
Questions or Help:
For account set up or questions about training, contact district test coordinator or WIDA client services center (866-276-7735, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Questions or Help:
Contact Barry Pedersen at ISBE (866-317-6034, email@example.com)
DRC (855-787-9615, firstname.lastname@example.org).
ACCESS Re-training requirements summary(12/22/15)
ACCESS for ELLs Re-training requirements for test administrators who previously certified ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 paper
Re-training is not required for listening, reading and writing, but need to complete the training and quiz for Speaking. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online
All administrators are required to complete trainings for four domains. There is no quiz for the online test training. Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs Re-training is not required. Alternate ACCESS (Grade 1-12) Re-training is not required.
- Anyone training to administer test for the first time must complete all required trainings.
- More information about trainings can be found from “How do I get trained to administer the ACCESS for ELLs, W-APT Screener, and WIDA MODEL?” under ACCESS for ELLs FAQs at http://www.isbe.net/bilingual/htmls/access.htm
- The District Coordinator/Test Administrator checklists below cover most of the important training materials.
Online Test Administrator/Coordinator Checklist at https://www.wida.us/ACCESSTraining/Online/index.aspx. Paper Test Administrator/Coordinator Checklist at https://www.wida.us/ACCESSTraining/paper.
W-APT Training for EL Screening – a new WIDA training module
There is a new training module in webinar format at www.wida.us for those who are interested in being trained to administer the W-APT for EL screening. The training for the annual ACCESS for ELLS assessment formerly was considered to be sufficient for the W-APT as well. That is no longer the case.
- Now that the ACCESS 2.0 listening and speaking domains will be administered from an audio recording, a separate training module created specifically for the W-APT is more appropriate.
- Those who have already passed the ACCESS for ELLs training do not need to retrain to administer the W-APT.
- Anyone training for the first time to administer the W-APT should use the new module, which covers all four domains.
- The new W-APT training module does not conclude with a quiz or award a certificate of completion. Also, completion of the new W-APT module is not tracked or recorded by either ISBE or WIDA.
- Note that completing the new W-APT module does not qualify someone to administer ACCESS 2.0 for the annual state assessment. Training modules for ACCESS 2.0, both on paper and online, will be released soon.
- Training to screen at the kindergarten level remains the same as in the past. If you have questions, contact ISBE at (866) 317-6034.
- ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Overview
- Implementation Resources
Why is an annual assessment of English Language Proficiency required?
An annual English Language Proficiency test is required under No Child Left Behind legislation passed in 2001. NCLB indicates that all K-12 English language learners must be assessed annually for English proficiency growth (Title III) and academic progress (Title I). School districts receiving Title III grant resources will be held accountable under the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) provision of NCLB. In addition, the Illinois Administrative Code, Part 228, Section 228.15(e) and 228.25(c) outlines detailed information regarding the English language proficiency required in Illinois.
What is ACCESS for ELLs?
ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English language learners' social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. The secure full-scale ACCESS for ELLs assessment will be distributed at no cost to public schools.
What is the difference between ACCESS for ELLs, W-APT screener and MODEL?
The W-APT and MODEL are modeled after the ACCESS for ELLs®, but their purposes differ in important ways. The W-APT and MODEL are screening instruments designed to assess English language proficiency primarily to determine eligibility for and placement within an ELL program. The ACCESS for ELLs is an annual assessment designed to assess student progress in achieving English language proficiency. For more information on how these tests differ visit: http://www.wida.us/assessment/comparing.aspx.
Who needs to take ACCESS for ELLs?
All public school districts are required to assess annually all identified English Language Learners (ELLs)/Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in grades K-12 using the ACCESS for ELLs assessment until the students test as English language proficient. This includes all identified students whose parents have refused language support services. All LEP students must be tested until they achieve the state prescribed minimum score to be considered English language proficient.
What proficiency level score does a student have to obtain to be considered English language proficient?
As of January 1, 2014, students who obtain an overall composite proficiency level of 5.0 as well as a reading proficiency level of 4.2 and a writing proficiency level of 4.2 on the annually administered state approved English language proficiency test, ACCESS for ELLs, are to be considered English language proficient.
Districts with additional questions regarding the determination of English language proficiency are encouraged to call the Division of English Language Learning at 312-814-3850.
How do I get trained to administer the ACCESS for ELLs, W-APT Screener, and WIDA MODEL? (10/15)
Each school district in WIDA’s user account system has a District Test Coordinator (DTC). The DTC’s roles include creating new WIDA training accounts for district staff and monitoring that district staff have completed WIDA training modules. If you need assistance with a WIDA account, contact WIDA Client Services, 866-276-7735, email@example.com.
*Note that completion of ACCESS training modules is no longer tracked in ELIS or any other ISBE data system.
Are private schools required to give ACCESS for ELLs? (10/15)
The Local Educational Agency (LEA) is required to consult with private schools regarding Title III, Part A specifically to determine how their ELL/LEP students will be identified and served. The LEA is responsible for assessing the English language proficiency of private school students and may be able to use Title III Part A funds to pay for initial LEP assessments for these students. (Please note: funds cannot supplant other federal, state and/or local funds.)
Private schools are NOT required to use ACCESS for ELLs as recipients of Federal Title III program services. However, private schools seeking Title III program services, through their Local Educational Agency (LEA), must demonstrate that the English language proficiency of all students they report to their LEAs is assessed annually and that each student is limited English proficient. Private schools can identify students in need of EL services by using a WIDA ACCESS™ Placement Test (for grades 1-12) available free of charge at the WIDA website. Kindergarten students must be screened using the WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten, which is purchased from WIDA. Private school staff administering the screener must be trained to administer and score the W-APT Screener and/or WIDA MODEL.
District Training Resources
- PARCC Resources for ELLs
- PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, 3rd edition (p. 44-48 about Accommodations for ELs)
- Word-to-Word Bilingual Dictionaries for EL students during PARCC testing
- PARCC Translated Directions - In left-hand column - select "S" - Scripts (Language Translations)
ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 2014-2015
ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 2013-2014
ACCESS for ELLs 2012-2013
Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 2012-2013
ACCESS for ELLs 2011-2012
ACCESS for ELLs 2010-2011