Seattle Public Schools

WIDA Annual Assessments for English Learners

Summary: The 2024 English language proficiency test for multilingual students who are learning English will take place January 29 - March 22.

Annual Assessment for Multilingual Students

Each year, students in English learner programs take an English language proficiency test. This test is called the WIDA ACCESS.  

The test measures academic language skills for students in Washington state who are learning English.

The test will not affect student grades, but it can help determine whether the student will continue in the English language development program at school. 

This year, WIDA testing will take place during the school day between January 29 and March 22.

How does a student qualify for English Learner (EL) services?

1. Home Language Survey

When a child enrolls in a Washington state school, the family fills out the Home Language Survey as part of the online enrollment process. This survey is available in many languages.

2. Placement Screener

If the answer to question #2 (the language your child first spoke or understood) or question #3 (the language your child uses most at home) on the Home Language Survey is a language other than English, the student is given an English language placement screener within 10 days of attendance. The screener assesses listening, speaking, reading and writing.

3. Results of Placement Screener

Students in grades K and 1 must achieve an overall score of 4.5 and a minimum of a 4 in each domain (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) to be determined ineligible for services.

Students in grades 2-12 must achieve an overall score of 5 and a minimum of a 4 in each domain to be determined ineligible for services.

Parents will be notified by letter if their child qualifies for EL services.

How are language skills monitored?

Each year, students in English learner programs take the ACCESS for ELLs assessment (WIDA) to measure their English knowledge and skills. The test measures academic English language proficiency for students learning English in our district and throughout our state.

The test will not affect your child’s grades, but it can help determine whether your child will continue in the English language development program at school. Teachers in our school use this information to help them make decisions about instruction for your child. Teachers also use these test scores to monitor the progress your child makes toward English proficiency.

Your child does not need to study for this test. The test is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they understand and can communicate in English.

Testing will take place during the school day between January and March each year. Please contact your child’s school for more information.

How do students exit the program?

For students to exit from English language services in Washington state, they must reach these levels on the WIDA ACCESS, annual assessment:

  • Kindergarten-1st grade students must score 4.0 overall
  • 2nd-12th grade students must score 4.7 overall
    • 3rd – 12th who score 4.3-4.6 on the WIDA ACCESS test may exit EL services if they also score a 3 or 4 on the state required SBA ELA content assessment

Students who score proficient on the annual assessment will not continue to receive EL services the following school year. Students will be monitored for two years to ensure they are meeting standards.

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