Understanding ELD Assessments

WIDA Screener
The WIDA Screener is an English language proficiency assessment that is given to incoming students who may be identified as English Learners (ELs). This test is required by the state and helps determine whether students are eligible for the ELD program. It is designed to measure the student's language proficiency level on the WIDA continuum.  This assessment also serves as a guide for placement within the ELD program.  It can be administered online or in paper form.

The ACCESS test is given annually to all students in Pennsylvania who are in an ELD Program. This assessment is used to monitor students’ English language proficiency levels as they acquire academic English in the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The assessment is delivered through an online format for most students in grades 1 through 12.  At the kindergarten level, a paper-based test is individually administered to students in a game-like, interactive format.

Federal guidelines require all students classified as ELs be assessed yearly for English language proficiency.

Alternate ACCESS
The Alternate ACCESS is a test similar to the ACCESS that assesses students’ English language proficiency levels in grades 1-12 who are already identified as English Learners (ELs). To qualify for the Alternate ACCESS students must have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent them from meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; 2015) requires all students classified as ELs to be assessed yearly for English language proficiency, even students who are in special education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) mandates that students with disabilities must participate in state and district assessments. These students may take alternate assessments with appropriate accommodations as documented in their Individualized Education Programs (IEP). WIDA created the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs for the above reasons. The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is designed to measure English language proficiency growth of students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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