ELL Assessment Update: Release of ACCESS for ELLs Test Results

To:Principals, District ELL Program Directors, ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, and ACCESS for ELLs Technology Coordinators
From:Dan Wiener, Administrator of Inclusive Assessment
Bridgette Kelly, Educational Specialist
Date:May 12, 2017

Release of 2017 ACCESS for ELLs Test Results

On May 31, schools should anticipate receiving their shipment of the following 2017 ACCESS for ELLs printed reports:
  • Individual Score Reports (ISR)-two copies: one for the student's file and one to be sent by the school to the student's home
  • Student Roster Report
  • School Frequency Report
Districts will receive the following printed report:
  • District Frequency Report
ACCESS results will be posted electronically to WIDA AMS on May 31. ACCESS results will be posted electronically to the Department's Security Portal, as follows:
  • DropBox Central - During the week of June 12
    • Student roster (PDF)
    • Student data file (CSV)
  • Edwin Analytics - On or about June 26
    • ACCESS for ELLs District and School Summary (EL327)
    • ACCESS for ELLs Student Roster (EL627)

WIDA AMS-Available Materials

Schools and districts will be able to view, download, and print score reports (see below) as well as a student data file in WIDA AMS as of May 31. Instructions for accessing these documents can be found in the WIDA AMS User Guide #3 on the WIDA website. DRC will send an email shortly with additional directions. You will be able to access the following reports in WIDA AMS, under Student Score Reports > Test Results:
  • Kindergarten Parent Reports
  • Individual Score Reports (ISR)
  • Student Roster Report
  • School Frequency Report
  • District Frequency Report
  • Student Response Files

Reports Sent to Parents

Schools must send Individual Score Reports (ISR) and Kindergarten Parent Reports to the home of each student with an appropriate translated report. Printable copies of translated student reports containing actual student data are available in 47 languages and can be generated in WIDA AMS under Student Score Reports > On Demand. Districts may also download sample letters to parents in the language of the home (where available) to accompany the reports. Letters should be copied onto school or district letterhead and signed by the appropriate school or district official.

Important Information About Score Changes in 2017

Based on WIDA's development of the new ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 tests, and a "standard setting" process that reset the scores required to attain each ACCESS proficiency level, ELL students generally will need to demonstrate higher-level English language skills in 2017 to achieve the same proficiency level scores they received in previous years. This means that:
  • Some students' ACCESS scores may go down in 2017, and fewer students overall may qualify to exit their status as "ELL."
  • 2017 scores will more accurately reflect the language skills an ELL student will need in order to be successful after they exit English language support programs.
  • Although students may receive somewhat lower scores in 2017, they still may have made progress in learning English since last year. Progress indicators will be made available during summer 2017.
  • We expect that students in upper grades and at higher proficiency levels will be most affected by the score changes
  • In each subdomain, Speaking expectations have increased the most, followed by Reading and Writing, with fewer changes in Listening.
  • You may use either the Department's "Concordance Table" or the WIDA Score Lookup Calculator to determine what last year's scores would have been with the new score scale applied. Educators can then compare scores from 2016 to 2017 on the same scale and determine where students made progress.
  • Districts may want to consider notifying teachers, parents, and students of the likely score changes. WIDA has made available parent handouts (translated) on their Score Changes web page. Teacher handouts are also available to inform staff of these changes.

Additional Score Report Resources

Clarification on the use of the WIDA Screener, W-APT, and MODEL assessments

WIDA Screener

WIDA recently developed the WIDA Screener as an English language proficiency screening tool to assist educators in identifying incoming students in grades 1-12 as English language learners (ELLs). (Note: the MODEL assessment described below is the preferred tool for identifying students in kindergarten as ELLS.) The WIDA Screener is aligned with the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 tests and is available either as a paper-based or online assessment that takes about 70 minutes to administer in the domains of Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The online version of the Screener will be available at no cost to Massachusetts educators. If the paper version of the Screener is preferred, this is available for purchase through WIDA. Training materials for both versions of the WIDA Screener are available to educators with WIDA personal accounts (access to Screener materials must be added by a district coordinator). Additional information is available on the WIDA Screener web page.


The current school year (2016-2017) will be the final year the W-APT will be supported by WIDA. The Department encourages districts to adopt the new WIDA Screener for the initial identification of students who are English learners.


In addition to the WIDA Screener (online and paper) and W-APT, districts may use the WIDA MODEL to identify students as English learners in kindergarten through grade 12. MODEL can also be used as an interim or formative assessment, where the results of prior and later MODEL administrations are compared to informally determine a student's progress in learning English. However, MODEL results should not be compared with ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 results, since the scores needed for each ACCESS proficiency level have recently changed. Thank you for your attention to this important information. Please contact the Department at 781-338-3625 if you have questions.

Last Updated: May 31, 2017

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