Center for Language and Early Child Development

English Language Learning

Assessment Resources

What's New? (11/3/15)

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Writing Domain Field Testing Announcement new

    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 or (608) 265-0601 for more information.

  • The purpose of this survey is to verify that the drafted descriptors are age, language level and Key Use appropriate. This is an opportunity to see the Can Do Descriptors in advance of publication, get a feel for what they offer, and share your thoughts with us. Surveys are linked to the Can Do Descriptors page of the WIDA website. You can click on the links that match your area of expertise.

    You may participate for as many age/grade levels as you are comfortable reviewing. Your feedback, along with that of educators from across the country, will be analyzed and will support the development of this new educator resource. The survey webpage will be active until mid- November.

    For questions about the Can Do Descriptors or this survey opportunity, contact Rhonda Stravinski at

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Updates(11/3/15) updated
  • ACCESS Tier Assignment Guidance
  • New "proficiency" definition for identifying English Learners in Illinois Schools as of January 1, 2014 PDF format (6/13)

 Screening for English Language Proficiency & Screeners

 2015-2016 ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 (11/3/15) updated

  • 2016 ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Calendar PDF format (7/31/15)
  • 2015-16 Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Participation Guidancenew
  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines and Resources
  • For 2015-16, the regular ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 testing window will be from January 11, 2016, to February 12, 2016.
  • School Year 2015-16 will be the first operational year for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. It will be administered primarily via computer. A paper version of ACCESS will be available for accommodated administrations and/or where local circumstances make online testing impractical at this time. The following portions of ACCESS will continue to be paper-only:
  • Kindergarten ACCESS
  • Alternate ACCESS
  • ACCESS Writing Test in grades 1-3
  • Important note – The speaking portion of ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 requires that a microphone be provided for each student. The microphone may be either a stand-alone unit or part of a headset.
  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Fall Webinars
    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 Technology Coordinator Webinars posted at WIDA AMS
  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Updates - 2015 Bilingual Program Directors’ Meeting Presentation PDF format (9/15)

  • 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.
  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Material Ordering Window is Open Until Nov. 13, 2015

    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,, 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).

    If you need assistance accessing your WIDA-AMS account, you may contact Barry Pedersen at ISBE (866-317-6034, or DRC Customer Support (855-787-9615,

  • What is WIDA-AMS?PDF format
  • Clarifications about WIDA Accounts regarding ACCESS for ELLs 2.0
  • 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

    • 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,

    Questions or Help: Contact Barry Pedersen at ISBE (866-317-6034, or DRC (855-787-9615,

  • 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.

  • W-APT Training for EL Screening – a new WIDA training module

    There is a new training module in webinar format at 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
  • FAQs
  • Technology
  • Implementation Resources
  • WIDA-AMS Website

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 ACCESS for ELLs FAQs (10/15)

School districts must annually assess the English language proficiency, including aural comprehension (listening), speaking, reading, and writing skills, of ALL children of limited English-speaking ability in kindergarten and any of grades 1 through 12  (Section 14C-3 of the School Code) using the English language proficiency assessment prescribed by the State Superintendent of Education.
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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:

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Who can administer the ACCESS for ELLs, W-APT Screener, and WIDA MODEL assessment?

  7. 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,

  8. Training for W-APT:
    Educators who desire training for the W-APT should thoroughly review the W-APT webinar at Logging into a user account is required to access this webinar. There is no quiz associated with it, and its completion is not recorded anywhere. Anyone who trained to administer ACCESS for ELLs prior to 2015-16, does not need to re-train to administer the W-APT. Note that training for the W-APT does not qualify someone to administer ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.

  9. Training for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online:
    The ACCESS 2.0 in online format is new for 2015-16. Anyone who desires to administer ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online must complete the four training modules. They are less than 10 minutes each. They do not have a quiz to pass. Certificate is awarded upon completion of each module.

  10. Training for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 in Paper:
    It is quite similar to the ACCESS for ELLs administered in 2014-15 for the domains of Listening, Reading, and Writing. Re-training for those domains is not required. Anyone training for the first time to administer these domains should use the new ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 training modules for the paper format. These modules do not have an associated quiz. A certificate is awarded upon completion of each module and its completion is recorded at However, the Speaking domain in the paper format is significantly different for 2015-16. Anyone who intends to administer the ACCESS 2.0 Speaking test will need to complete the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 speaking module to be released in October 2015. The average time to complete the training is 90 minutes, but could be a long as 2 hours, depending upon the number of grade clusters. This speaking training module requires passing a quiz for completion, and a certificate of completion will be issued upon passing. Completion of the Speaking module will be recorded at
  11. *Note that completion of ACCESS training modules is no longer tracked in ELIS or any other ISBE data system.

  1. 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.

  2. What is the procedure for the ACCESS/Alternate ACCESS administration when an EL Transfers in/out before or during the ACCESS testing window?

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PARCC Assessment Resources for ELLs 

 ACCESS for ELLs Assessment Archive

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