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Visit the WIDA website to learn more about WIDA activities and resources.


WIDA's Can Do Philosophy
WIDA embraces inclusion and equity with its Can Do philosophy. Visit the WIDA website to read and download the Can Do Philosophy.

CAN DO Descriptors

The WIDA Can Do Descriptors are commonly used by ESL teachers in coaching general education teachers about differentiated instruction for English language learners (ELLs). They can also be used to plan lessons or observe students' progress.

Learn more about the CAN DO Descriptors.

About WIDA

In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act brought the academic achievement of the nation’s English language learners into the spotlight and recognized the need for new approaches to assessing the developing academic English language proficiency of the nation’s English learners. WIDA is born in 2002 after an Enhanced Assessment Grant was awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, WIDA's first home. WIDA originally stood for the three initial states submitting the grant proposal: Wisconsin, Delaware, and Arkansas. As the consortium grew to its present size, WIDA changed its name to World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment. Visit the WIDA website for information about WIDA’s history and to view the timeline.

WIDA's Mission
WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators.

Visit the WIDA website.

Spotlight on the WIDA Team

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Tim Boals, Ph.D.
Executive Director, WIDA
LADDER Principal Investigator

As the Executive Director, Tim Boals oversees operations at WIDA and long range planning efforts. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in curriculum with an emphasis in the education of English language learners.

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Elizabeth Cranley, Ph.D.
Associate Director, WIDA
Elizabeth Cranley has been with the WIDA Consortium since its beginning in 2003. She coordinates with subcontractors, committees, and SEAs; plans and implements professional development; and writes and edits WIDA publications. She has experience as an ESL teacher both in the U.S. and abroad and was senior lecturer in ESL at SUNY Buffalo before joining WIDA.

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Mariana Castro
Director of Academic Language & Literacy Initiatives
FLARE Assessment Framework Team

Mariana Castro helps states build capacity through trainings, workshops, the dissemination of information, and the implementation of language standards across their curricula. She also delivers professional development and represents WIDA at state and national conferences.

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H. Gary Cook, Ph.D.
Research Director
FLARE Principal Investigator

Dr. H. Gary Cook works as the Research Director for the WIDA Consortium and is the FLARE Principal Investigator. His recent research interests have focused on assessment alignment as well as applying value-added modeling techniques in urban settings to address key educational questions.

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Margo Gottlieb, Ph.D.
Lead Developer
Margo Gottlieb is nationally recognized in the field of English language learner education. She has led the design and development of the WIDA ELD Standards, authored the accompanying guides, and assisted in the development and realization of WIDA's comprehensive assessment system.

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Carsten Wilmes, Ph.D.
Director of Assessment
Carsten Wilmes oversees the development and operational implementation of WIDA's assessments, working closely with the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). Carsten holds a Ph.D. in foreign language testing and second language acquisition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.