WIDA logo

Spotlight


Learn more about ASSETS, the next-generation, technology-based language assessment system for English language learners in Grades K-12.

Featured Resources

The WIDA MODEL

The WIDA MODEL (Measure of Developing English Language) is a series of English language proficiency assessments for Kindergarten through Grade 12. MODEL can be used by educators as an identification/placement assessment for newly enrolled ELLs or as an interim progress monitoring assessment.

Learn more about the WIDA Model.

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.

Projects

The WIDA Consortium and the Center for Applied Linguistics collaborate on a variety of projects with the goal of enhancing opportunities for language learners. This page outlines the suite of assessment activities which represent the foundation of CAL’s work with WIDA, along with additional activities focused on professional development for educators.

CAL is the assessment partner for the WIDA Consortium, playing a critical role in providing standards-based assessments for English language learners, most prominently on the Consortium’s assessment of English language proficiency, ACCESS for ELLs®, the development of computer-delivered English language proficiency assessments through the ACCESS 2.0 project, and developing PODER, a test of Spanish academic language for students in Grades K-2 based on the newly developed WIDA Spanish language development standards.

Click on each title below to learn more.

Current Projects
ACCESS 2.0
ACCESS for ELLs®
Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®
PODER

Recent Projects
CLIMBS
ONPAR
The MAGIC Project
W-APT
WIDA MODEL

Current Projects

ACCESS 2.0
Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems

WIDA and CAL are collaborating on the development of computer-delivered English language proficiency (ELP) assessments. Through the recently funded grant titled Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems or ASSETS, CAL is developing a next-generation, comprehensive, and balanced technology-based assessment system for English language learners, anchored in WIDA’s English Language Development Standards. CAL serves as the primary assessment implementing partner, to develop, pilot test, field test, and finalize the ELP assessments that use technology for more authentic language assessment tasks, compatible with the content-driven state standards and, in particular, the Common Core State Standards.

The primary components of the assessment system to be developed under the ASSETS grant are ACCESS 2.0 and the ACCESS 2.0 Screener, which are computerized versions of ACCESS for ELLs® and the W-APT, respectively. Another component of the ASSETS assessment system, the Interim Assessments, will build on extensive knowledge gained through the ONPAR project’s representation of innovative item types. The ASSETS project affords CAL the opportunity to refine the theoretical definition of academic English language and carefully document how this definition is operationalized on assessments. CAL has completed the initial phase of developing the assessment framework and a test and item design plan for ACCESS 2.0 and the ACCESS 2.0 Screener, and work has begun on a series of academic papers.

Visit the ASSETS website to learn more about ACCESS 2.0.

ACCESS for ELLs®
Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners

The primary focus of CAL’s WIDA work is the Consortium’s English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs.® CAL’s work is divided into three main areas:

W-APT stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test. It is an English language proficiency "screener" test given to incoming students who may be designated as English language learners. It assists educators with programmatic placement decisions such as identification and placement of ELLs. The W-APT is one component of WIDA's comprehensive assessment system.

Learn more about ACCESS for ELLs on the WIDA website.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®

In addition to CAL’s exciting work developing technology-based assessments of academic English language proficiency, CAL has also delved into English language proficiency assessment for English language learners who have significant cognitive disabilities.

In the spring of 2012, CAL delivered the first iteration of Alternate ACCESS for ELLs, an assessment geared toward ELL students in grades 1-12 who have significant cognitive disabilities and for whom participation in the general ACCESS testing is not possible. Considerations in the test design included built in accommodations to facilitate students’ access to the test items, and future work will comprise further investigation of ways to best assess the academic English language proficiency of this population.

Visit WIDA’s website to learn more about Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®.

PODER
Prueba Óptima del Desarrollo del Español Realizad

CAL is developing PODER, a test of Spanish academic language for students in Grades K-2 based on the newly developed WIDA Spanish language development standards. The project is funded by an Enhanced Assessment Grant awarded to the state of Illinois. By the end of the project, CAL will have developed, piloted, field-tested, and put into operation a test aimed at English learners whose first language is Spanish. The test can also be used with students who receive content-area instruction in Spanish regardless of their first language.

Learn more about PODER and WIDA’s Spanish Academic Language Standards.

Back to top

Recent Projects

CLIMBS
In addition to serving as the assessment development arm of WIDA, CAL has collaborated with WIDA in its professional development activities. The largest project was the initial development of CLIMBS, a hybrid online professional development course that focuses on helping teachers of English language learners combine the WIDA English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards with the principles and practices of sheltered instruction.

Visit WIDA’s website to learn more about CLIMBS.

ONPAR
CAL worked with the WIDA Consortium to develop a science and a math test for beginning English language learners that can be used to meet state accountability requirements for content testing in these domains. The tests will be computer-based and will consist of items using the dynamic and interactive capabilities of the computer to reduce the use of English, while still maintaining the content rigor and cognitive complexity of parallel items on traditional tests of science and math. Science tests are being developed for 4th and 8th grades and math tests for 4th and 7th grades.

Visit the ONPAR website to learn more.

The MAGIC Project
In coordination with the WIDA Consortium at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, CAL provided a one-semester professional development course for educators of English language learners.

W-APT
WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test
W-APT is an English language proficiency "screener" test given to incoming students who may be designated as English language learners. It assists educators with programmatic placement decisions such as identification and placement of ELLs. The W-APT is one component of WIDA's comprehensive assessment system. The cost of the W-APT is included within the cost of the ACCESS for ELLs assessment for Consortium members.

Learn more about W-APT.

WIDA MODEL
CAL developed a valid, reliable, on-demand, and teacher-administered and-scored assessment of English language proficiency aligned with the WIDA English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards and modeled after the Consortium’s ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. Known as WIDA MODEL™, the test is used by states within and outside of the WIDA Consortium to identify English language learners and to accurately place them into one of the five proficiency levels defined in the WIDA ELP Standards. The test is designed for students in Grades K-12.

Learn more about WIDA MODEL™.

Back to top