What is ACCESS?

  • ACCESS is a federally and state mandated assessment. Local schools must adhere closely to the guidelines for administration of such assessments. The administration of the ACCESS must be approached with the same care and diligence as all other state-mandated assessments.

    All ELLs who are enrolled during the test window MUST be administered the ACCESS. Participation on the ACCESS is an AYP accountability measure for the district.

    ACCESS for ELLs® stands for Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners. This large-scale test addresses the academic English language proficiency (ELP) standards at the core of the WIDA Consortium's approach to instructing and evaluating the progress of English learners. To alleviate any confusion, the WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT)™, more aptly known as a screening tool, has a different purpose and format from the ACCESS test. To understand the relationship between the two tests, see Comparing W-APT™ and ACCESS for ELLs®.

    From the WIDA Consortium, this large-scale test first and foremost addresses the English language development standards that form the core of the WIDA Consortium's approach to instructing and testing English language learners. These standards incorporate a set of model performance indicators (PIs) that describe the expectations educators have of ELL students at four different grade level clusters and in five different content areas.

    The grade level clusters include PreK-K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There are five content areas of the standards. The first is called social and instructional language (SI), which incorporates proficiencies needed to deal with the general language of the classroom and the school. The others are English language arts (LA), math (MA), science (SC), and social studies (SS).

    For each grade level, then, the standards specify one or more performance indicators for each content area within each of the four language domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

    The WIDA framework recognizes the continuum of language development within the four domains with six English language proficiency levels.

    These levels describe the spectrum of a learner's progression from knowing little to no English to acquiring the English skills necessary to be successful in an English-only mainstream classroom without extra support. This final, exit stage for EL status is designated Level 6 (formerly ELL). Within each combination of grade level, content area, and language domain, there is a PI at each of the five points on the proficiency ladder, and the sequence of these five PIs together describe a logical progression and accumulation of skills on the path to full proficiency.