Frequently Asked Questions - English Language Learners

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Background:

State and federal education laws require assessments of limited-English proficient (LEP) students—also known as English language learners (ELLs)—be conducted annually to determine students’ English language proficiency level. The following information helps schools identify and plan appropriate language support for their ELL students as well as determine placement on Assessing Comprehension & Communication in English for English language learners (ACCESS for ELLs)®, the ELP assessment used in Wisconsin.

Districts are accountable for the progress and attainment of English language proficiency (ELP) of their ELL students. ELL students also participate in Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) testing which includes the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD). For additional information about the development of the ELP assessments refer to: World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium.

Click on a main topic to search for your question:


Identifying English Language Learners (ELL):

Back to Top


ACCESS for ELLs® Overview

Q. What is the process for identifying a student as ELL?
A.
 

State and federal law requires districts to identify a student’s English Language proficiency (ELP) status within the first 30 school days. Bulletin 07.01Identification and Placement of English Language Learners (http://oea.dpi.wi.gov/files/esea/pdf/bul_0701.pdf) outlines the identification process which requires:

  1. Districts to ​administer a Home Language Survey (HLS) to all students to determine if a language other than English is used in the home or by the family.
  2. Students whose Home Language Survey indicates a primary or heritage language other than English should be assessed using the W-APT Screener  (http://www.wida.us/assessment/w-apt/index.aspx) to determine their level of English language proficiency.
  3. ELL designation is noted with an ELP code of 1-5 within the individual student information system (ISES). http://lbstat.dpi.wi.gov/lbstat_isesapp
Q. How are English Language Proficiency (ELP) levels defined?
A.
 
There are seven English language proficiency levels defined in WI administrative code. Limited-English proficiency is defined in ELP Levels 1-5; Level 6 is assigned to students who are fully English proficient and no longer require ELL services (exiting or “Formerly ELL”); Level 7 refers to students who were never classified as ELL (ELP 1-5).

The WIDA Performance Definitions for the Levels of English Language Proficiency and the Wisconsin ELP level definitions should serve as a guide.

For more information refer to the following document: Identification of Students as English Language Learners (Entry) (ESEA Information Update Bulletin 7.01).
 
Q. Who is required to take an English language proficiency screener?
A.
 
The English language proficiency screener is used as a preliminary evaluation for students who you believe may be ELL. The W-APT™ is the DPI’s recommended method of evaluation because it is aligned with the ELP standards and ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. However, it is a local decision which screener is used for placement of ELL students.
 
Q. When should the screener be administered?
A.
 
The screener should be administered as part of the enrollment process. Under Title III Parental Notification Requirements (section 3302) schools have 30 days to notify the parent(s) of a limited-English proficient (LEP) student that their child has been identified for participation in a language instruction educational program. For students who arrive after the beginning of the school, notification must occur within two weeks of the child’s placement in a language instruction program. Sample notification letter.
 
Q. Where is the W-APT™ available for download?
A.
 
The W-APT™ screener is available on the WIDA website. The W-APT™ is available through a secure site and to view/download the screening test materials, usernames and passwords are required. District Assessment Coordinator (DAC)may obtaina district level username and pssword from DPI at (608) 267-1072.
 
Q. What is the difference between the format of the Kindergarten W-APT™ and the WIDA Measure of Developing English Language (MODEL)™ for Kindergarten?
A.
 
The Kindergarten W-APT™ is available at no charge as a downloadable document at the WIDA website. This is an adaptive test, with components that can be administered to children in PreK, kindergarten, or first grade, depending on each child’s individual circumstances. PreK children would take only the Listening and Speaking components, which are combined in one test. A child entering in the second half of the kindergarten year may take all four components: Listening/Speaking, Reading, and Writing; or only the oral portions (Listening/Speaking). A child entering first grade will take all four components of the Kindergarten W-APT™. Whereas the oral portion will result in a score that lies along the WIDA ELP scale, the Reading and Writing portions are diagnostic tests, not proficiency tests. Results on the Reading and Writing portions of the Kindergarten W-APT™ will provide specific diagnostic information such as, “Can read/write simple phrases.”

The WIDA MODEL™ for Kindergarten is available to districts (for purchase) in a kit that includes interactive, hands-on activities. The MODEL™ screener uses integrated themes to assess students in the four language domains of: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, resulting in a composite proficiency level score (1-6) on the WIDA scale. This evaluation tool may aid in the identification and placement of English language learners, be used for interim evaluation during the school year, and/or be used as a summative measure of progress for reporting purposes. The WIDA MODEL™ will most commonly be used as an optional replacement to the W-APT™ screener test and is currently available for kindergarten, grades 1-2, and 3-5.
 
Q. How do the Kindergarten W-APT™ proficiency descriptions (low, mid, high, exceptional) convert to a numeric value representing a student’s ELP score?
A.
 
The Listening/Speaking portion of the Kindergarten W-APT™ results in a raw score that can be interpreted as an oral proficiency score rating of Low to High. The occasional student might score an Exceptional. WIDA has recommended that Wisconsin use: Low: 1-2, Mid: 3-4, High: 5, Exceptional: 6. The conversion process will include teacher judgment if a specific number is put in the score. The number or level (for the W-APT™) is just a place holder and information until the final ACCESS for ELLs® numbers are received and put in the Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES) as a final number.
 
Q. What is ACCESS for ELLs®?
A.
 
ACCESS for ELLs® is a large-scale test used to assess English language proficiency (ELP). It does not assess content area knowledge such as math or social studies. Four language domains are assessed: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. ACCESS for ELLs® composite scores are used to assign an ELP level as indicated:
 
ELP Level Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6
Description Entering Beginning Developing Expanding Bridging Reaching
Composite Score Range 1.0 - 1.9 2.0 - 2.9 3.0 - 3.9 4.0 - 4.9 5.0 - 5.9 6
Q. How is tier placement on ACCESS for ELLs determined?
A.
 
Test administrators should consider multiple measures, including teacher input, the W-APT™ screener, and the Criteria for Tier Placement for ACCESS for ELLs® as described below. The W-APT™ should be used to designate ELL status and to assist teachers in assigning new students their appropriate tier for ordering test materials. The W-APT™ can be used at any time throughout the year as students enter a new school or district. Returning students may be assigned to a tier according to their ACCESS for ELLs® scores from the previous year.

Test administrators should assign the tier that most closely reflects their students’ greatest strength. More information for placement can be found at http://wida.us/assessment/ACCESS/. For example, if a student seems stronger in reading than other domains, they should be placed in the tier most appropriate for their reading score. In Tier B, Reading and Listening are capped at 5.0 and could potentially create a “ceiling” on the student’s comprehensive score if incorrectly placed. In this instance, it would be better to place the student in Tier C.

If the student is on the borderline between Tier B and Tier C, and since the scores for Reading and Listening are capped at 5.0 for Tier B, the test administrator should lean toward giving the student the Tier C test. Giving the student the lower tier would put a cap on their Reading and Listening scores and therefore lower their comprehensive score. WIDA suggests placing up a tier when a student is on the border.

Criteria for Tier Placement for ACCESS for ELLs®:

TIER A is most appropriate for English language learners who:
  • have arrived in the U.S. or entered school in the U.S. within this academic school year without previous instruction in English, or
  • currently receive literacy instruction ONLY in their native language, or
  • test at the lowest level of language.
TIER B is most appropriate for English language learners who:
  • have social language proficiency and some, but not extensive, academic language proficiency in English, or
  • have acquired some literacy in English, though have not yet reached grade level literacy.
TIER C is most appropriate for English language learners who:
  • are approaching grade level in literacy and academic language proficiency in the core content areas, or
  • will likely meet the state’s exit criteria for support services by the end of the academic year.
ACCESS Tiers
 

 

Back to Top


Training for Test Administration:

Q. Who can administer ACCESS for ELLs® assessment?
A.
 
ACCESS for ELLs® test administrators are trained staff (including administrators, teachers) who are employed by the school or district. They may also include student-teachers who normally have responsibility for supervising students, or other individuals who have met the test administration qualifications and are temporarily hired by the district to administer ACCESS for ELLs®. Parent volunteers are not allowed to administer examinations.

Prior to assisting in administering the ACCESS for ELLs®, schools and districts should ensure that test administrators have received training and are certified. Test administrators must complete each online examination for the section of the ACCESS for ELLs® which they are administering. Test administrator should ensure that the certification s are up-to-date. To be certified the online quizzes must be completed through the WIDA website.
 
Q. How do I set up my account for ACCESS for ELLs® Test Administrator Training course?
A.
 
Your District Assessment Coordinator (DAC) will register you for an account on the WIDA website.  After the account is set up, WIDA will email you your the login username and password. Personal quiz grades are securely stored on the WIDA website and are available for DACs and the DPI. Districts who need to obtain authorization to access district-level quiz completetion data should contact DPI at (608) 267-1072. This allows the state to maintain a current list of ACCESS for ELLs® trained administrators.
 
Q. Do all test administrators need to take the online quizzes?
A.
 
Yes. Regardless of which training the test administrator participated in, they must take the corresponding quizzes that pertain to the sections for the test that they will be administering.

The DPI recommends that test administrators annually review the training, especially the speaking portion and the new listening assessment.
 
Q. Besides the online trainings, are additional training materials available?
A.
 
DACs may access additional ACCESS for ELL presentation materials on WIDA's secure portal.
 

Back to Top


Testing Students' English Language Proficiency (ELP)

Q. How do districts order ACCESS for ELLs® test materials?
A.
 
Test materials are ordered online through MetriTech, the ACCESS for ELLs® test contractor. District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) will receive an updated password in an instructional email from MetriTech mid-September before the ordering window opens in October. Each district will receive extra test booklets to use with ELL students who enroll after the test window opens. Districts should only order the number of test booklets needed.  Districts may contact Metritech through January to order additional test booklets for new students. Refer to: Important Dates for the ACCESS for ELLs® Test Administration calendar for the current school year.
 
Q. How do private school students in our district get ACCESS for ELLs® test labels from the vendor?
A.
 
Districts may send a separate data file to MetriTech for their private school students and then they will receive labels. If districts do not send a separate file, then all of the information will need to be bubbled on the test booklet. It is important that the correct DPI private school codes are used.
 
Q. What is the administration time of the ACCESS for ELLs®?
A.
 
ACESS for ELLs® is not a timed test; the times are approximate and vary slightly by grade level cluster, Tier, and levels of English language proficiency. A Tier A first grader, for example, may finish the writing section of the test within 20 minutes whereas an eleventh grade student taking a Tier C test might need 60 minutes to complete the writing section.

LISTENING: approximately 25 minutes (group administered)
SPEAKING: up to approximately 15 minutes (individually administered)
READING: approximately 35 minutes (group administered)
WRITING: approximately 60 minutes (group administered)

For all grade level clusters (1-12), the Tier B and Tier C Writing Tests have recommended timing guidelines for Parts A, B, and C of 10, 20, and 30 minutes, respectively. Sixty (60) minutes is still the time allocation for the entire Writing Test in these Tiers, with up to an additional five (5) minutes if needed for students to finish writing.
 
Q. In future years, is it possible to only test areas where students scored below the cut-off?
A.
 
There are students who have done very well on various sections of the test and yet have to repeat them because of a weakness in one area. Per Title III requirements, states must annually assess the English language proficiency of all LEP students in the five domains of listening, reading, speaking, writing, and comprehension for grades K-12 (4K students are NOT to be assessed with ACCESS for ELLs®; the Kindergarten W-APT™ or WIDA MODEL™ is the appropriate assessment tool). Title I also requires annual assessment of English language proficiency in the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In order to score a student's test and show annual growth, the student must be tested in ALL domains annually. The composite score is based on all four domains from the current year.
 
Q. How does a district decide to administer either the ACCESS for ELLs® or the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ for English Language Learners with disabilities?
A.
 
The student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is responsible for deciding annually whether students who are classified as EL and who have a significant disability will participate in (1) the ACCESS for ELLs® with or without accommodations, or (2) the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ with or without accommodations. The IEP team should include both Special Education and English Learner (EL) professionals. IEP teams should address each of the criteria outlined in the Individualized Education plan: Participation in the Statewide Language Assessment Checklist and Accommodations worksheet.
 
Q. Are accommodations available for students with disabilities?
A.
 
Allowable accommodations for either language assessment can be found in the test administration manuals or the matrices: the ACCESS for ELLs™ Accommodations matrix or the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ Accommodations matrix. Any accommodations used should be included in the student’s IEP plan on the Individualized Education plan: Participation in the Statewide Language Assessment Checklist and Accommodations worksheet
 
Q. May I use the same accommodations  for the ACCESS for ELLs as I do for other assessments like the ACT Suites or the WKCE?
A.
 
Both the ACCESS for ELLs® and the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ assess a student’s language proficiency in English. The accommodations used for these assessments may vary from those used on state content assessments including the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Exam (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) or ACT Suites.
 
Q. Can a student take parts of both the ACCESS for ELLs® and the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™. For example, the ACCESS for ELLs® speaking and listening tests and the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ reading and writing assessments?
A.
 
The ACCESS for ELLs® and the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ are designed and administered differently. Separate scoring systems are used for each. A student must take either the ACCESS for ELLs® or the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ in its entirety.
 
Q. Are there special requirements for administering the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™?
A.
 
It’s recommended that the test administrator be the licensed professional who works most closely with the student. Special Educators or ELL teachers may administer the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™. Test administrators must complete the Alternate ACCESS training. They may access this training via the WIDA website at www.wida.us.

To access the training modules, a username and password are required. District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) have access to these codes. DACs may contact Audrey Lesondak at the Office of Student Assessment to obtain the correct username and password. Contact - audrey.lesondak@dpi.wi.gov or 608-267-5153.
 
Q. How is the ACCESS for ELLs® test booklet marked for ELL students who have an IEP and are not able to take all four domains of the ELP test?
A.
 
Fill in the SPD (Deferred Special Education/504) code on the test booklet in the area labeled Do Not Score This Section for This Student. If any of the boxes are filled in for listening, reading, writing and speaking domains, the score for that domain will be suppressed, and the student will not receive an overall composite score.
 
Q. What options are available for ELL students who are deaf or hearing impaired?
A.
 
Some hearing impaired students are able to take all four domains of the test. This is dependent on the degree of hearing loss, use of amplifiers, ability to lip read, etc. If the student cannot hear or speak English or any other language, including sign language, listening and speaking cannot be tested. The student can only be assessed in reading and writing. For students who cannot access the media delivered Listening test, listening test scripts may be ordered from the test vendor.

If a student is unable to be assessed on one or more domains, report this on the student’s test booklet as SPD in the area labeled Do Not Score This Section for This Student. If the student is unable to participate in one or more domains of the ACCESS for ELLs®, the student is still identified as ELL and is still required to participate in subsequent annual testing.
 
Q. What options are available for ELL students who are blind or visually impaired?
A.
 

Some visually impaired students are able to take all four domains of the test. This is dependent on the degree of vision loss, the use of low vision aids, or use of a magnification device. If a student is unable to be assessed on one or more domains, report this on the student’s test booklet as SPD in the area labeled Do Not Score This Section for This Student. If the student is unable to participate in one or more domains of the ACCESS for ELLs®, the student is still identified as ELL and is still required to participate in subsequent annual testing.

 

Beginning 2013-14, the test vendor will provide ACCESS for ELLs test booklest in uncontracted Braille (also know as Grade 1 Braille or alphabetic Braille) for Tier B in grade clusters 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 in the domains for Reading and Writing.  Districts should contact the test vendor directly to order the Braille edition.  IN addition to the Braille test, the testing materials for REading and Writing will include tactlie gaphics and written descriptions of graphics whiere appropriate as well as test administration instructions.  For scoring purposes, student responses on the Brailled form will need to be transcribed into a regluar ACCESS for WLLs test booklet. 
 

Q. Do we need to give ACCESS for ELLs® to our High School foreign exchange program students?
A.
 
Foreign exchange students come to a U.S. school to be educated in English. They generally do not participate in the state English language proficiency examination because they are considered English proficient when they come to a Wisconsin school. However, if a district believes this to be inaccurate and they will end up serving a foreign exchange student in their ELL program, then the school may assess the student’s ELP level. Any student who is not an ELL is considered at ELP level 7. Exchange students should have access to all services and programs available to all other students and may receive support as needed.
 
Q. Is there an opt-out /parental refusal for ACCESS for ELLs® testing?
A.
 
No, there is no parent opt-out for the ACCESS for ELLs®. All ELL students are required to be tested even if parents are refusing language education services. ACCESS for ELLs® is not an achievement test; it is used to make decisions about students’ educational needs and measure a student's growth in English proficiency.
 
Q. How can ACCESS for ELLs® scores help to inform instruction and instructional placement?
A.
 
Test scores are only a part of the whole picture of a student’s language proficiency and achievement. Test scores do not necessarily describe how achievement happens. Instructional decisions must be made based on a variety of information, such as knowledge of the student’s previous schooling experience, portfolio of student work throughout the school year, formative assessment results, and the types of scaffolds or instructional strategies that are necessary in order for the student to be successful.

With this in mind, ACCESS for ELLs® helps to determine the student’s proficiency level and teachers take this information along with the previous ones mentioned and establish the types of instructional interventions and classroom testing accommodations that are best suited for the individual student. As a reminder, teachers have the best cumulative information on the student’s daily performance and achievement. The ACCESS for ELLs® test score, then, is only a small part of this decision-making process. For additional information review the ACCESS for ELLs Interpretive Guide for Score Reports that shows the minimum and maximum composite ranges for each grade and tier level.
 
Q. How are ACCESS for ELLs® Pre-ID labels generated?
A.
 
A demographic data file is created by the DPI using school/district submitted information from the Wisconsin Student Locator System (WSLS) and the Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES). The test contractor (MetriTech) creates the labels using these data.

If a new student has not yet been tested on ACCESS for ELLs®, the initial English language proficiency (ELP) code derived from the W-APT™ must be included in ISES by the third Friday in September count date to automatically generate a label for the ACCESS testing window. The ELP code in ISES is also used to determine the number of ELL students enrolled in a given year.

District testing coordinators or test proctors should place the Pre-ID label on the front outside cover of the ACCESS for ELLs® test book in the space provided, and fill in the “School Use Only” fields on the back cover of the ACCESS for ELLs® test book for every student.
 
Q. What do I do with an ACCESS for ELLs® Pre-ID label that has incorrect student demographic data?
A.
 
The Pre-ID label should be used unless the demographic data are wrong (Wisconsin Student Number, First Name, Last Name, Birth Date, and Gender). To correct the demographic data, discard the label, and bubble-in the correct information in the appropriate boxes on the front and back covers of the student test booklet. The optional data file provided by MetriTech will incorporate the student data from the Pre-ID label unless otherwise corrected.
 
Q. Is an English language proficiency assessment available for use in private schools?
A.
 
A. The ACCESS for ELLS® may be used for assessing the English language proficiency of students in private schools. Private schools may order booklets directly from MetriTech, the ACCESS for ELLs® distributor, at no charge and must agree to abide by confidentiality and security policies. English language proficiency assessments for private school students are qualifying expenses under Title III. If a private school elects to use an English language proficiency test other than ACCESS for ELLs®, the school must work with the local school district to provide notification of ELLs tested and the assessment used. This information must be received by the Office of Educational Accountability by the week ACCESS reports are shipped to districts. Additional information can be found at http://esea.dpi.wi.gov/files/esea/pdf/bul_0301.pdf
 
Q. Do charter school students participate in ACCESS for ELLs testing? 
A.

Yes, charter school students are administered the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. Publicly-funded charter schools are expected to comply with state assessment and NCLB requirements including the administration of an English language proficiency assessment for ELLs.  Schools are expected to have a protocol for identifying ELLs and once identified, must offer instructional program support that meet individual needs of ELL students.

 
Q.

Do virtual school students participate in the ACCESS for ELLs testing?

A.

Yes, virtual school students are administered the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment. Virtual schools are considered publicly-funded charter schools and are expected to comply with state assessment and NCLB requirements including the administration of an English language proficiency assessment for ELLs.  Virtual schools are expected to have a protocol for identifying ELLs  and once identified, must offer instructional program support that meets individual needs of ELL students. Since these students may reside anywhere within the state, schools must arrange for test administration in an appropriate setting, with trained licensed professionals serving as test proctors.

 
Q.

Are charter school and virtual school assessment results used in AMAO accountability?  

A. Yes, publicly-funded charter schools and virtual school assessment results are included in AMAO accountability for the districts in which these schools are located. 

Back to Top


Early Childhood (Pre-K) and Kindergarten Students

Q. What is the Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs®? 
A.
 
The Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs® is a standards-based, criterion referenced assessment used to meet federal accountability requirements.

Since much of kindergarten learning takes place through hands-on activities, the new kindergarten language proficiency test incorporates the use of picture cards that allow for a variety of new test item types including matching, identifying, and describing activities. The interactive nature of the tests encourages all students to accurately demonstrate their level of English language proficiency.

Research supports that PreK-Kindergarten (PreK-K) English language learners are developmentally distinct from ELL students in grades 1 and 2. For this reason, the 2007 Edition of the WIDA English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards includes a separate PreK-K grade level cluster for the first time. This mirrors Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL’s) ELP Standards (2006). The new assessments are aligned to the model performance indicators of the new PreK-K grade level cluster.

Features of the Kindergarten assessment:
  • High-interest, age-appropriate stories
  • Centered around engaging, child-friendly graphics
  • Thematically integrated throughout the language domains: listening, speaking, reading, writing
  • Improved item types involving the use of manipulatives
  • Result in a composite proficiency level score (1-6) on the WIDA scale
  • Require approximately 30 minutes per student

Back to Top


Student Mobility During Testing

Q. What do we do if an ELL student moves to a different school within our district during the ACCESS for ELLs® testing window?
A.
 
If a student moves from one school to another within your district, the student test booklet should be sent to their new school if portions of the test remain to be tested. The second school completes the test and sends it to MetriTech. If the test has already been completed at the first school, it should be sent to MetriTech from the first school.
 
Q. What do we do if an ELL student moves out of our district to another district during the ACCESS for ELLs® testing window?
A.
 
If a student moves from one school to another within your state, the student test booklet should be sent to their new school if portions of the test still remain to be tested. The student’s new school will complete the test and send it to MetriTech. If the test has already been completed at the first school, it should be sent to MetriTech from the first school. If the student moves out of state, shred their test booklet. Results/reports will be sent to the district that returned the test book to MetriTech. If the student completes parts of the tests in separate test-books in different districts, the both districts should clip a completed Student Transfer Form to both student test booklets. (Do not staple or tape)  https://www.metritech.com/userfiles/file/WIDA%20-%20Student%20Transfer%20Form.pdf) The forms will let MetriTech know where the student should be reported, and returning the books under this form alerts them to be looking for each portion of the book so that they may combine them and score as a single book.

The state is only charged for test booklets that are scored. If a student is tested twice (or takes parts of the assessment in two booklets) they will receive two scores, the state will be charged twice, and school/district reporting and accountability will be affected.
 
Q. What if a new ELL student moves into the district during the ACCESS for ELLs® testing window?
A.
 
If student records do not indicate that any portions of the ACCESS for ELLs® test have been taken, the ACCESS for ELLs® coordinator in the district from which the student moved should be contacted (contact OEA). Consider asking the student if he or she has taken any of the tests. When in doubt, give the student the entire test so that ELP levels for state and federal reporting are generated. If the student is either from a non-WIDA state or did not complete the ACCESS for ELLs® in their previous district, complete all of the ACCESS for ELLs® and return it to MetriTech.
 
Q. Do test administrators still have to test new ELL students if they arrive at the end of the ACCESS for ELLs® testing window?
A.
 
Yes, if a student is either from out of state or did not complete the ACCESS for ELLs® in their previous district, do what you can to get the test completed. If a student arrives after the window closes, use the W-APT™ or other ELP assessments to determine an English proficiency level for the student.
 

Back to Top


ACCESS for ELLs® Contact Information:

Q. Who can I contact with ACCESS for ELLs® problems and questions?
A.
 
For additional ELL assessment related questions contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Office of Educational Accountability:

Audrey Lesondak by phone: (608) 267-5153, or email audrey.lesondak@dpi.wi.gov

For WIDA specific questions which may include:

  • How to use the WIDA Training Site
  • Questions about Test Constructs
  • Interpreting Test Results
  • Professional Development
Contact the WIDA helpline by phone: (866) 276-7735 or email: help@wida.us, or on the website: www.wida.us.

For MetriTech, Inc. specific questions which may include:
  • Ordering Test Materials (including Alternate ACCESS for ELLs)
  • Label Information
  • Printing and Distribution of Test Materials
  • Scoring and Reporting
  • Student Data Correction
Contact MetriTech by phone: (800) 747-4868 (ask for WIDA Support), or email: wida@metritech.com, or on the website: www.metritech.com.
 

Back to Top


Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES)

Reporting & Coding ELL Data:

Q. Is it possible to create a mechanism for obtaining newly enrolled students’ ACCESS for ELLs® scores from other WIDA states?
A.
 
If a student comes to Wisconsin from another WIDA state, the Wisconsin district may contact the previous district to find out the student’s English language proficiency (ELP) level. In this case, the district does not need to conduct a screener (W-APT™).
 
Q. When and how do ACCESS for ELLs® scores get entered into ISES?
A.
 
If the Wisconsin Student Number (WSN), student first and last names, and date of birth match in ISES, then the MetriTech data file will provide an ACCESS for ELLs® composite score, which in turn is used to calculate ELP codes in ISES. Typically, this occurs in July-August.
 
Q. How can the uploaded ISES ACCESS for ELLs® results be verified?
A.
 
DPI receives a file from MetriTech with the test results from ACCESS for ELLs®. The DPI uploads the composite ELP score from the ACCESS for ELLs® data into the ISES data collection. If a composite ELP score is uploaded correctly, the English proficiency level code will be calculated (rounded-down to the nearest whole number). Click on the following link for further information on how the English Proficiency Level will be calculated. Districts are required to submit an ELP code for students without a correctly uploaded composite score. Refer to the ISES Interface specifications and the timeline for creation of pre-ID labels for WSAS and ACCESS for ELLs®. The website will be updated with any additional changes. Districts should submit a correct ELP code for all students in their ISES data submissions. The district-submitted ELP codes will be used for students without valid ACCESS for ELLs® composite scores and for students who should be reclassified as a composite score of 6.
 
Q. Where do I find the Native Language codes that are used for ACCESS for ELLs® test booklets and Pre-ID labels?
A.
 
A list of the language codes can be found on the LEP Data section of the Bilingual/ELL webpage. This three-digit alphanumeric code identifies the native language or dialect first learned by an individual or first used by the Parent/Guardian with a child. This term is often referred to as primary language.
 
Q. For the ISES data element, how do I determine if an ELL student is “served” or not?
A.
 
The student is considered “ELL served” if an English language learner (English language proficiency code 1-5) is served in an English language instruction educational programs designed for English language learners or served by an English language instruction program funded by Title III.

ELL Served Code Description/Comments
No N The student is NOT served in English language instruction educational programs designed for English language learners.
Served - No T3 S The student is served in English language instruction educational programs designed for English language learners, this is not a Title III program.
T3 Served T The student is served in English language instruction educational programs designed for English language learners, some Title III funding
Data Not Required X Valid only for Parentally Placed Private students.

 
Q. What should a district do when ACCESS for ELLs® did not create an English Language Proficiency code in ISES?
A.
 
Districts should check their ISES Year-End and Count-Date collections to verify that ELL students’ ACCESS for ELLs® composite scores are calculated at each student’s most current English language proficiency (ELP) code. For ELL students with no composite score on ACCESS for ELLs® or with hand-coded information that doesn’t match their WSLS/ISES records, an ELP code should be submitted as soon as the student has been classified as an ELL student.

Students who are to be reclassified to ELP 6 (or Former ELL) and who did not take the most recent ELP exam should have their correct ELP code uploaded to ISES. If a student was not available during the testing window, the W-APT™ score can be used as a placeholder until the following year’s ELP exam administration of ACCESS for ELLs® (the screener can only be used once per student). Refer to the ISES Interface Specifications.
 
Q. What should a district do when a new student enters the district?
A.
 
Districts should upload the estimated ELP level into their Student Enrollment System fall Count-Date records for new ELL students so labels can be generated for their ACCESS for ELLs® testing. Students entering the district after the label file is generated should have their demographic data bubbled onto their test booklet. The Wisconsin Student Number (WSN), first and last name, and birth date must accurately match the record entered into the WSLS system.
 
Q. What should I do if an English speaking student was inappropriately coded as ELL?
A.
 
Each year there are a few students who participate in ACCESS for ELLs® testing in error. The district (ISES coordinator) may remove the ACCESS composite score and enter the correct ELP code in ISES. This can only be done during the ISES Year-End and ISES Count Date Submission Window.

Schools and districts that discover this problem should complete the District Request & Certification of Change Form (removal of ACCESS Composite Score from ISES). This (rare) correction is only a request to inactivate the composite score so the district can enter the corrected ELP code for the student.

It is very important that data is checked for accuracy. ELL students are included in accountability measures for Title I and Title III (AMAOs) and correct data ensures the most accurate results.
 
Q. How can we correct incomplete or incorrect English Language Proficiency codes?
A.
 
Schools and districts that discover inaccurate ELP codes used to identify ELLs should upload corrected ELP codes during the ISES Year End and ISES Count Date submission windows.
 
Q. What ELP Code should be assigned for a pre-school or 4K student have since ACCESS testing is not available or appropriate?
A.
 
Every student must be evaluated (formally or informally screened) for an ELP code in ISES. In the absence of a more complete assessment, districts are encouraged to assess potential ELL pre-kindergarten students using an informal English language inventory. Performance levels in the WIDA ELP Standards Book can be used as a guide. Results of the inventory can be used to estimate a student’s English language proficiency code. Use ELP 7 only for kindergarten students who are determined to be English speaking.

See the available resource, Language Development Profile for Preschool ELLs and information in Assessing English Language Development in 4-Year-Olds. Additional information is located on page: http://ell.dpi.wi.gov/ell_prek-connections
 
Q. When is the clean-up window for correcting errors?
A.
 
The clean-up window for correcting errors is as follows:
  • At the end of the test window, before submitting test booklets, verify that the WSN, Student First and Last Names, and DOB match those in ISES.
  • During the online demographic data validation window (late March). Refer to: Online Demographic Data Validation on the OEA website.
  • During the posted clean-up period and immediately upon receipt of student reports, contact MetriTech (late April – May).
  • If a data error causes the district to miss their accountability targets there is an appeal period during which the district can submit documentation if it changes the AMAO results.
Q. Can an ACCESS for ELLs® composite score for a non-ELL who was mistakenly administered the ELP exam be disabled?
A.
 
Yes, there is a procedure to manually override the score in ISES, which will revert the ELP level back to non-ELL status (ELP 7). Schools and districts that discover that an English speaking student received an ACCESS for ELLs® score in error should complete a request for and certification of the necessary correction. To correct this rare test administration error, the Certification of Change form is available during ISES data collection, approximately June-September. The Certification of Change form should be completed only in rare circumstances.
 
Q. How should one report a preschooler’s English Language Proficiency level in ISES collections?
A.
 
Neither NCLB nor state law requires assessment or services for ELLs at grade levels earlier than Kindergarten. If students at earlier grades are assessed, then their English language proficiency codes should reflect the results of the assessment used. Students who are not assessed cannot be counted as ELL/ELP (codes 1-5). DPI recommends using a mix of qualitative data, including language samples gathered in different environments and during varying activities and routines, observations in different environments and during varying activities and routines, extensive language history gathered from parents and other caregivers, and quantitative data in order to come up with an accurate picture of a student’s language development. The WIDA ELP Performance Definitions can also be used as a guide.
 
Q. In ISES, what ELP code should be given to ELL students who also have an IEP and were not able to take all four domains of ACCESS for ELLs® because of their disability?
A.
 
When a student is unable to complete a portion of the ELP test due to his or her disabilities, the available subscale proficiency levels should be used along with other evidence collected by the teacher, including parent input, to determine the student’s ELL proficiency level and ELP code. That ELP code should be entered into the district’s data submission for ISES. The ACCESS for ELLs® composite score is only provided when all four domains are completed. Only students with a composite score have an ELP code automatically generated in ISES.
 

Back to Top


Exiting ELLs: Former Limited English Proficient (FLEP) Students:

Q. What is the definition of a former ELL?
A.
 
Former ELL or limited-English proficient (FLEP) students meet the definition for ELP level 6. A student shall be classified level 6 if all of the following criteria are met: (a) The student was formerly limited-English proficient and is now fully English proficient. (b) The student reads, writes, speaks and comprehends English within academic classroom settings.

Refer to the Criteria for Reclassification of English Language Learner Students as Fully English Proficient - Exiting. (ESEA Information Update Bulletin 7.02) for guidance on how to exit ELLs from the ELP program.

FLEP Level 6 students must be monitored for the first two years after they are exited from ELL services. For more information refer to the Required Two-Year Monitoring for Former English Language Learners (ESEA Information Update Bulletin 8.01).
 
Q. Is there a way to exit an ELL student who functions as fully English proficient in their academic work, and who is completing grade-level work in a regular classroom without accommodations, but who has not scored a 6.0 on ACCESS for ELLs®?
A.
 
A district may consider reclassification of an ELL student as fully English proficient by applying the criteria and evidence outlined in the Criteria for Reclassification of English Language Learner Students as Fully English Proficient - Exiting. (ESEA Information Update Bulletin 7.02). ELL students who are at a minimum Level 5 and grade 4 or older may be reclassified or exited to ELP 6. This information must be uploaded to ISES by the district. Review the guidance carefully on how to reclassify ELLs who are fully English proficient.
 

Back to Top


Accountability for ELLs & Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs):

Q. What are the accountability requirements for English Language Learners (ELLs)?
A.
 
The reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) inaugurated major changes in the expectations placed on state and local education agencies regarding assessment of and accountability for limited-English proficient (LEP) students – also known as English language learners. Specifically, NCLB Title III requires states to:
  • establish English language proficiency (ELP) standards aligned to state academic content standards, yet suitable for students learning English as a second language;
  • annually assess the English language proficiency of each ELL student using a valid and reliable assessment of English language proficiency aligned to ELP standards;
  • define annual measurable achievement objectives to measure and report on progress toward and attainment of English proficiency and academic achievement standards; and
  • hold local education agencies (LEAs) accountable for meeting increasing Annual Measurable Achievement Objective targets for English language proficiency over time (NCLB 2002, Public Law 107-110, 115 Statute 1425).
Q. What are annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs)?
A.
 
Three specific Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) have been established under Title III:

  • AMAO 1. Progressing in English language acquisition: annual increases in the number or percentage of students making progress in learning English.
  • AMAO 2. Reaching English language proficiency: annual increases in the number or percentage of students attaining English language proficiency by the end of each school year.
  • AMAO 3. ELL-Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO): meet AMO for the English language learner (ELL) subgroup (under Title I) for grade-level academic achievement standards in English Language Arts (reading) and Mathematics.
Q. Have annual measurable achievement objective (AMAO) calculations changed?
A.
 
AMAO 1 (progress) calculations were revised to comply with federal regulations for the 2010-11 school year. AMAO 2 (proficiency) and AMAO 3 calculations are unchanged. See Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives on the Office of Educational Accountability web page: http://dpi.wi.gov/oea_ellamao Calculations are described in the questions and answers below.
 
Q. What are Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives?
A.
 
Three specific Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) have been established under Title III:
  • AMAO 1. Progressing in English language acquisition: annual increases in the number or percentage of students making progress in learning English.
  • AMAO 2. Reaching English language proficiency: annual increases in the number or percentage of students attaining English language proficiency by the end of each school year.
  • AMAO 3. ELL-Annual Measurable Objectives): meet annual measureable ojectives for the English language learner subgroup (under Title I) for grade-level academic achievement standards in English Language Arts (reading) and Mathematics.

 
Q. How is Annual Measurable Achievement Objective 1 (progress) calculated?
A.
 
Districts meet annual measurable achievement objective 1 (AMAO 1) if the percent of students achieving a gain of at or above 0.4 in composite English language proficiency (ELP) level score in the current year, or the pooled percent for the current and prior year, meets the target progress rate. An increase in composite ELP level score is determined by comparing current ACCESS for ELLs® composite scores with scores from prior years. All English language learners with two ACCESS for ELLs® composite scores are included in calculating progress.

The percent of students achieving a 0.4 gain in composite ELP score is the number of students with a difference in current and prior composite ELP level scores at or above 0.4 divided by the number of students with two scores. A 95% confidence interval is applied to account for variability in sample size.
 
Q. Is there a minimum number of English language learners (ELLs) required for an annual measurable achievement objective 1 (progress) determination?
A.
 
A district must have a minimum of 20 ELLs (each with two ACCESS for ELLs® scores) in both the current and previous school year to receive an annual measurable achievement objective 1 (AMAO 1) determination.
 
Q. Are English language learners (ELLs) at English language proficiency (ELP) level 5 held accountable on AMAO 1 (progress)?
A.
 
All ELLs with two ACCESS for ELLs ® test scores, including ELP level 5 students, are included in the calculation for annual measurable achievement objective 1.
 
Q. How is progress calculated for English language learners (ELLs), such as migrant students, who have only taken the ACCESS for ELLs® test one year?
A.
 
Migrant students who are present on the third Friday in September count date are included in the count of the ELL students enrolled in the district. Progress in learning English is calculated by comparing current ACCESS for ELLs® composite test scores with previous years’ test scores. Test scores do not need to be from consecutive years in order to determine progress. Districts are to evaluate every ELL student using ACCESS for ELLs® each year until the student is re-classified to ELP 6 or scores a 6.0 on ACCESS for ELLs®.
 
Q. Is Annual Measurable Achievement Objective 1 (progress) calculated for English language learners (ELLs), such as new students or migrant students, who have only taken ACCESS for ELLs® test one year?
A.
 
Progress is calculated for every student that has two ACCESS for ELLs® composite test scores. Progress cannot be calculated for students who do not have two ACCESS for ELLs® composite test scores. Test scores do not need to be from consecutive years in order to determine progress.
 
Q. Do exited students (ELP 6) count under annual measurable achievement objective 1 (progress)?
A.
 
Yes, newly exited students count for annual measurable achievement objective 1 (AMAO 1) if they have two ACCESS for ELLs® test scores.
 
Q. How is annual measurable achievement objective 2 (proficiency) calculated?
A.
 
Districts meet annual measurable achievement objective 2 (AMAO 2) if the percent proficient in the current year, or the pooled percent proficient for the current and prior years, meets the target proficiency rate established for the current school year. All English language learners (ELLs) enrolled in the district at the third Friday in September count date are included in the AMAO 2 denominator. See Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives on the Office of Educational Accountability web page: http://oea.dpi.wi.gov/oea_ellamao.

Students who obtained a composite score of 5.0 or greater on the ACCESS for ELLs® test are included in the AMAO 2 numerator. The proficiency rate is the number of ELLs who have attained a composite English language proficiency (ELP) level score of 5 or higher, divided by the number of ELLs enrolled. A 95% confidence interval is applied to account for variability in sample size.
 
Q. Is there a minimum number of English language learners (ELLs) required for an annual measurable achievement objective 2 (proficiency) determination?
A.
 
A district must have a minimum of 20 ELLs enrolled at the third Friday in September count date in both the current and previous school year to receive an AMAO 2 determination.
 
Q. Is there a minimum number of English language learners (ELLs) required for an Annual Measurable Achievement Objective 2 (proficiency) determination?
A.
 
A district must have a minimum of 20 ELLs enrolled at the time of ACCESS for ELLs® testing in both the current and previous school year to receive an AMAO 2 determination.
 
Q. How does a district get credit for annual measurable achievement objective 2 (proficiency) if they reclassify or manually exit students as Fully English Proficient to become a former English language learner (FLEP) student (ELP 6)?
A.
 
If a student receives a composite score of 5.0 or greater on the ACCESS for ELLs® they are counted as proficient that year for annual measurable achievement objective 2 (AMAO 2). If that student is subsequently reclassified and exited they will no longer be considered an ELL student and will not be included in AMAO calculations the following year.
 
Q. How is Annual Measurable Achievement Objective 3 (AMO) calculated?
A.
 
Accountability determinations are completed under state and federal accountability reporting. Decisions on districts’ Accountability regarding the English language learner (ELL) subgroup are replicated for annual measurable achievement objective 3 (AMAO 3) reporting.

Districts that make adequate progress in reading and mathematics for the ELL subgroup meet AMAO 3. The same students are included in both accountability and AMAO determinations.
 
Q. Are consortia held accountable for Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives?
A.
 
All districts are held accountable individually rather than in consortia.
 
Q. Are Pre-K students included in Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives?
A.
 
Pre-K students are not included in Title III AMAO students. The ELP assessment requirement under Section 1111(b)(7) applies to grades K-12. Pre-K students do not need to be annually assessed for English language proficiency; however, the effectiveness of Title III, Part A services for Pre-K students should be assessed.
 
Q. Where can additional information about Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives be found on the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website?
A.
 
Additional information is available on the following pages:

Back to Top

For questions about this information, contact osamail@dpi.wi.gov