English Language Learner Assessments


South Dakota is a part WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners.


WIDA provides South Dakota with language proficiency assessments Grades K-12. One of the assessments provided by WIDA, known as the “screener,” W-APT, that stands for WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test™. This test is used by educators to measure the English language proficiency of students who have indicated another language other than English on a home language survey. The W-APT helps educators determine whether or not a child is in need of English language instructional services, and if so, at what proficiency level.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0® 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 language learners. ACCESS is taken annually by identified English language learners to measure their English proficiency.

What’s new? ACCESS for ELLs 2.0- Beginning in 2015-16

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, South Dakota's English Language Learners will be administered ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. The South Dakota Department of Education requires ELLs in grades 1-12 be administered the online version except in cases where online testing is not allowed. There are many benefits to the online testing, increased student engagement through the more dynamic testing experience, built-in accommodations, and accessibility features appropriate, to name a few. With the online version, multiple grades can be administered and finally, increased ease for TAs, who will no longer need to administer and score the Speaking test one-on-one. Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs continues to be paper-based and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs will remain the same. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 paper-based assessment will be available for districts that are not allowed online testing. The paper-based version will also be available as an accommodation.

What is different from ACCESS for ELLs?

• New Test Vendor
   - Data Recognition Corporation will serve as the operational test vendor for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, both online and paper
• Grade Level Clusters

• Changes by language domain:
   - https://www.wida.us/assessment/ACCESS20.aspx#whatsNew
• The use of technology allows for the following changes:
   - https://www.wida.us/assessment/ACCESS20.aspx#whatsNew (scroll down)

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Paper-Based Test

South Dakota Department of Education will allow a paper ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 form for grades 1-12 in cases where students need a paper accommodation, as outlined in their IEPs/LAP, or for districts that do not yet have the technology needed for online testing. South Dakota Department of Education still requires districts to test online, unless you are one of the districts stated above.

In cases where the paper test is necessary, administrators should note that grade clusters will change to the following clusters in 2015-16: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. They will be updated to have the same clusters as the online test in 2016-17. In addition, beginning in 2015, both Listening and Speaking will be media-delivered. For Listening, the test administrator will play the pre-recorded passages and students will respond in a test booklet, as is the case with the current test. For Speaking, the test administrator will play pre-recorded questions and score students’ responses. Paper-Based Test

WIDA will provide a paper ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 form for grades 1-12 in cases where students need a paper accommodation, as outlined in their IEPs, or for districts that do not yet have the technology needed for online testing. For 2015-16, the department of education in each WIDA state will determine a policy regarding whether schools will administer the online or paper test.

For more information on ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 please visit: https://www.wida.us/assessment/ACCESS20.aspx#about

ACCESS Criteria

Students who receive a 4.7 or higher composite score with no lower than a 4.5 in the domain of reading and no lower than a 4.1 in the domain of writing on the ACCESS assessment will be considered proficient.

Identification and Exit Criteria for ELLs
Home Language Survey Identification Criteria for ELLs Exit Criteria for ELLs

Technology Requirements
Technology Coordinator Checklist Supported System Requirements for WIDA ACCESS for ELL’s 2.0
Recommendations for Headset Specifications FAQ’s about Technology for ACCESS for ELL’s 2.0

Where do I download translated Student Individual Reports Where do I find Sample Letters to Accompany Score Reports
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Testing Schedule ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Update
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Test Administration Manual ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Webinars/ Q & A Sessions 2016-17
ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Accessibility and Accommodations Supplement ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Accessibility and Accommodations Descriptions
WIDA booklet 2012 Standards Understanding the WIDA Website and WIDA AMS
District and School Test Coordinator Manual
ACCESS for ELLs Kindergarten TAM WIDA Frequently Asked Questions
WIDA AMS (Assessment Management System) WIDA Website

ACCESS Test Administrator - Kindergarten Test ACCESS training, Kindergarten teachers
ACCESS Test Administrator – Group Test and Speaking Test
Preparation Resources for Test Coordinators, Tech Coordinators, and Test Administrators

Home Language Survey Identify & Assist ELL Students
Language Acquisition Plan Testing Security Agreement/Affidavit
Testing Irregularity Form Medical Emergencies Form


For more information, contact Yutzil Becker, (605) 773-4698zzz at the Department of Education.