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The enrollment of any new student to the district must include a Home Language Survey. Potential ELs must be screened and placed in EL services if they qualify. Additionally, all ELs must take the annual English language proficiency assessment (ACCESS). Districts must make annual placement determinations for ELs based on the ACCESS scores.​

 Identifying and Screening of EL's

​​​How do you know if a student enrolling in your district is an English Learner (EL) and is eligible for language support services?

Follow these steps:

  1. Administer a Home Language Survey to ALL students (Preschool - Grade 12) newly registering in your district. Sample Home Language Surveys are available on the ISBE website in English and forty other languages. 
  2. Assess the English language proficiency of all students whose parents answered "yes" to one or both of the Home Language Survey questions, "Is a language other than English spoken in the home?' and "Does the student speak a language other than English?"
  3. If the student is identified as English Learner (EL), provide services as required based on the individual student's needs.

Annually report identified EL​ students on the Student Information System (SIS)​

 Why is an English language proficiency test required?

The Illinois Administrative Code, Part 228PDF Document, Section 228.15 indicates districts shall administer an individual language proficiency assessment to each student identified through the home language survey. This assessment shall take place within 30 days of the student's enrollment in the district, for the purpose of determining the student's eligibility for bilingual education services.​​​

 Screener Update for 2017-18​​

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year the WIDA Screener is the new English language screening tool for the 2nd semester of 1st grade-12th grade in Illinois.  For these grades, the WIDA Screener replaces both the MODEL and the W-APT screening tool.

The WIDA screener, in online and paper format, is a newly developed placement test aligned to WIDA's standard setting.  The online version will function similarly to the online version of ACCESS 2.0, using the WIDA AMS website and DRC software components. However, the online system will only score the listening and reading domains. Writing and speaking will be scored by local district staff. The online WIDA Screener is available at no cost to IL districts. The paper version is available for purchase in the WIDA Store​. Information about trainings for the WIDA screener can be found at https://www.wida.us/Assessment/Screener/.

Illinois will continue to use the WIDA MODEL for screening in Kindergarten and the 1st semester of 1st grade.  

See a table below for grade specific information about the screener. 

​Grade ​2017-2018
Cut Score
​1st semester of Kindergarten ​WIDA MODEL (listening and speaking) 5.0 oral language proficiency
​2nd Semester of K-1st Semester of 1st grade ​WIDA MODEL (all four domains) ​Overall Composite 5.0 & Composite Literacy 4.2 (reading/writing)​
​2nd Semester of 1st grade - 12th grade WIDA Screener (online or paper)
Overall Composite 5.0

Screening for English Language Proficiency

 Screening Preschool-Age Children

  • Prescribed Screening Instrument(s)

    The Pre-IPT Oral English Language Proficiency Test is the recommended screener for children entering Preschool, ages 3 to kindergarten enrollment age as defined in Section 10-20.12 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.12] to determine students’ English language proficiency and to identify students eligible to receive ELL services.

  • Using Scores to Determine Placement 

    Districts should use the guidance included in the pre-IPT Oral for purposes of placing students.  All potential ELs screened with the Pre-IPT Oral that qualify for EL services need to be rescreened with the WIDA MODEL upon entering Kindergarten.

  • Training to Administer the Pre-IPT Oral

    Online training for administering the Pre-IPT Oral is available at www.ballard-tighe.com.

  • Ordering the Pre-IPT Oral

    For information about ordering the Pre-IPT Oral assessment, please contact Melissa Cortez at mcortez@ballard-tighe.com or at 800-321-4332 ext. 203.​​​​​​​

 Screening Kindergarten Children

  • Prescribed Screening Instrument

    Measure of Developing English Language (MODEL)
    The WIDA MODEL must be used as a screener for students entering Kindergarten and the first semester of first grade to determine students’ English language proficiency and to identify students eligible to receive ELL services.

  • Using Scores to Determine Placement

    As of January 1, 2014, any child entering the first semester of kindergarten who is administered the MODEL and who scores below a 5.0 oral language composite (speaking/listening) proficiency level is considered an English Learner (EL) and is eligible for EL services. A student entering the first semester of kindergarten who achieves a 5.0 oral language composite (speaking/listening) proficiency level is considered English proficient. See the chart below to determine eligibility for children in their second semester of kindergarten and the first semester of first grade.

CHART FOR DETERMINING ELL ENGLISH PROFICIENCY FOR KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS

SCREENER AGES
DOMAINS AS​SESSED
Cut-score for English Language Proficiency
Listening Speaking Reading Writing
MODEL Kindergarten (1st Semester)
X
X


Oral language proficiency level is 5.0
MODEL Kindergarten (2nd Semester)
X
X
X
X

Overall composite proficiency level is 5.0 and the composite literacy (reading/ writing) level is 4.2

MODEL First Grade (1st Semester)
X
X
X
X

Overall composite proficiency level is 5.0 and the composite literacy (reading/ writing) level is 4.2

  • Training for MODEL Test Administration
    The MODEL is to be administered by certificated instructional personnel (teachers including bilingual teachers and ESL teachers) and certificated non-instructional personnel (coordinators, program directors, school psychologists, speech and language therapists, assistant principals, principals, assistant superintendents and superintendents) who have completed the new Kindergarten Component of the ACCESS for ELLs Training, passed the online quizzes and meet certification requirements to administer ACCESS for ELLs.
  • Ordering WIDA MODEL
    Information about ordering and administering the WIDA MODEL is available at www.wida.us/assessment/MODEL/.​​

 Screening Children Grades 1-12

  • Prescribed Screening Instrument 
    • Beginning June 30th, 2017, the screening tool for 1st grade, 2nd semester through grade 12 is the WIDA Screener. The W-APT has been retired, and the MODEL is now only for use at Kindergarten and 1st grade, 1st semester.​
  • Using Scores to Determine Placement 
    • When administering the WIDA Screener, the EL placement criteria is 5.0 for the Overall Composite score. There are no individual domain requirements.
  • Training for W-APT or the MODEL Test Administration
    • The WIDA Screener is to be administered by certificated instructional personnel (teachers including bilingual teachers and ESL teachers) and certificated non-instructional personnel (coordinators, program directors, school psychologists, speech and language therapists, assistant principals, principals, assistant superintendents and superintendents) who have completed the WIDA Screener training and passed the online quizzes.​
  • How to get the WIDA Screener
    • The WIDA Screener is available either online or on paper. The WIDA Screener Online is used via WIDA AMS. It is built into ACCES 2.0 software, and functions similarly. That software may be downloaded, at no cost, from the WIDA AMS website. An account is required. A paper version of the WIDA Screener may be purchased from the WIDA Store​.

For information about ordering and administering the WIDA MODEL see Screening Kindergarten Children above.​​

 Do parents need to be notified of screening results?

Yes, if a student is determined to be limited English proficient (LEP), the district must inform parents in writing of the results of the assessment and the program placement recommendations, describing the services that are available to assist the student to become English language proficient. Sample parent notification letters are available in English and 40 ​other languages on the ISBE website.​​​

 Can parents refuse services even if their child tested as limited English proficient (LEP)?

Yes, to refuse language support services, parents must provide the district with a signed, written statement that they are refusing services. However, this parental statement does not relinquish the district from its obligation to provide a meaningful education to the student and to continue to annually assess the student’s language proficiency with the ACCESS for ELLs.​​

 ACCESS/Screener FAQs

  1. WIDA FAQ INDEX
  2. WIDA Screener FAQ
  3. Who can administer the ACCESS, WIDA Screener, WIDA MODEL, and/or Pre-IPT?
  4. Updated Procedure for ACCESS 2.0 Student Transfer during the Testing windowPDF Document

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