Every February and March I have teachers ask me “What is WIDA and ACCESS? Are they one and the same?" Good questions! ACCESS and WIDA are two very different things and are used for two different reasons in the EL world.
WIDA is a consortium of 36 states and Minnesota is one of its member states. WIDA’s mission is “Wida advances academic language development and academic achievement for children and youth who are culturally and linguistically diverse through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional learning for educators.” WIDA has developed standards and assessments that assist English Learners in developing their academic language.
EL teachers use WIDA’s English Language Development Standards to increase English language development and academic language. Some of the essential pieces within the English Language Development Standards are:
Now you know a little bit about WIDA, but what is ACCESS? ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is the standardized assessment to monitor students’ growth in academic language and English language development. It assesses ELs each year during the months of February and March. Every student in kindergarten through twelfth grade who has been identified as an English Learner must take this assessment. The results provide teachers a language level. The language levels are:
If you are wanting to know about your English Learner’s levels and their needs, please seek out the EL teacher at your building or myself. We are happy to help you meet the needs of the ELs in your classroom. If you would like to know more about WIDA or the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment, please see the WIDA website.
This post brought to you by Katie Miller, K-12 EL Implementation Associate
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