Resources available to support transition to computerized English language proficiency assessment

In 2015-2016, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, a computerized assessment, will replace the current paper-based version of ACCESS for ELLs for Grades 1-12. The paper-based assessment will continue to be available as an accommodation and for districts that do not have the technology to administer the assessment online. Kindergarten is not included in the changes and will remain an interactive, paper-based kit for the near future.

Like ACCESS for ELLs, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 will allow educators, students and families to monitor students’ progress in acquiring academic English in the domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing, and will be aligned with WIDA’s English Language Development (ELD) Standards.

Both the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Summative Assessment and Screener will be computer-delivered. In addition to standardizing the test-taking experience for all students, it is expected that the multimedia and improved dynamism of a computer-delivered assessment will more readily engage students.

Language and cognition develop quickly in younger children, broadening in depth and breadth as they mature. In order to better measure younger students’’ language development, ACCESS 2.0 will include a separate test form for Grade 1. Grades 2-3 will form a new grade cluster, as will Grades 4-5. The two remaining test forms will assess the proficiency of middle school (Grades 6-8) and high school (Grades 9-12) English language learners.

To minimize the planning burden on districts, the technical requirements match Smarter Balanced requirements whenever possible. A headset with microphone will be required. To help prepare educators for the transition to the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 online assessment, WIDA has scheduled a webinar on Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. to provide a brief overview of the online ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 operational test and provide an opportunity for district staff to ask questions. The webinar can be accessed online here or via audio connection at 650-479-3207 (meeting number 190 048 358). Please note, WIDA encourages participants to watch the new ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 overview webinar recording  prior to this webinar. Additionally, this webinar will be recorded and posted to the WIDA/ASSETS Project website.

The following table provides an overview of additional preparation resources and their website location for the transition to the online test.

Communication

Purpose and Website Location

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Implementation Section (ASSETS Website)
Technology Requirements for the Operational Test
Recommendations for Purchasing Headsets (document)
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0: Key Implementation Strategies for the Operational Test (document)
What’s New in ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 (flyer)
What’s New in ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 (recorded webinar)

Additionally, to aid in the transition and to become familiar with the computerized testing, Maine will participate in the Field Test for the Listening domain of the updated ACCESS for ELLs 2.0., beginning in January.  WIDA has scheduled a webinar on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. to provide information about participating in the field test. The webinar can be accessed online here or via audio connection at 650-479-3207 (meeting number 194 517 845). This webinar will be recorded and posted to the WIDA/ASSETS Project website. An online test administration manual for the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Field Test is also being developed.

For more information contact WIDA ASSETS Project Manager Meredith Alt at mlalt@wisc.edu or Maine DOE Director ESL/Bilingual Programs Nancy Mullins at nancy.mullins@maine.gov or 624-6788.