ELL Assessment Update: Preparing to Order 2018 ACCESS for ELLs Test Materials and 2017 ACCESS Data Release

To:Principals, District ELL Program Directors, ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, and ACCESS for ELLs Technology Coordinators
From:Dan Wiener, Administrator of Inclusive Assessment
Alexis Glick, English Proficiency Assessment Coordinator
Bridgette Kelly, Educational Specialist
Date:October 13, 2017

Greetings! We are providing you with information on the upcoming ordering of ACCESS for ELLs test materials for your school, as well as other important updates.

Updated ELL Assessment Publications Now Available

The Massachusetts Principal's Pre-Administration Manual: ACCESS for ELLs Tasks to be Completed in Fall 2017 is now available which provides an overview of tasks to be completed by schools and districts before, during, and after ACCESS testing in January–February 2018.

Preparing to Order ACCESS for ELLs Test Materials

During the week of October 16, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the ACCESS for ELLs testing contractor, will send an email to school and district ACCESS test coordinators to remind them of the upcoming materials ordering window between October 23 and November 10. ACCESS test coordinators with WIDA AMS accounts for the 2017–2018 administration will receive their login and password information for WIDA AMS. ACCESS test coordinators who have received login and password information can and should create accounts for other individuals who will assist or replace them in that role. New district test coordinators, may email to get their accounts set up, and must complete the Test Materials Ordering training module prior to ordering their school's test materials on WIDA AMS. The WIDA AMS User Guide provides information on creating AMS accounts. This year, schools are strongly encouraged to:
  • move as rapidly as possible to administer computer-based, rather than paper-based, testing to all ELLs. with the exception of ELL "newcomers" and ELLs with disabilities who cannot use a computer;
  • take steps to limit additional materials orders to a single request from each school, if additional materials are required;
  • reduce or eliminate the use of handwriting booklets for Writing; and
  • reduce or eliminate the over-ordering of test materials.

Ordering Paper-based Test Materials

While the online (computer-based) test does not require the selection of test tiers, paper tests must be ordered by grade cluster and test tier (A, B, or C) for each ELL student using WIDA AMS. Therefore, for students taking paper-based tests, it will be important to determine beforehand the number of students to be tested in each grade cluster and tier. Instructions for assigning students to appropriate test tiers are provided in the Principal's Pre-Administration Manual for ACCESS for ELLs: Tasks to be Completed in Fall 2017. The WIDA Screener (grades 1-12) may also be used to determine the test tier, particularly for students who have recently entered the school.

Ordering Writing Test Materials

For those administering the computer-based test, DRC will automatically send paper-based Writing test booklets in a variety of tiers for all students in grades 1–3. Although keyboarding is the default Writing test format for students in grades 4–12 in Massachusetts, students in those grades have the option to hand-write their responses. Schools giving the computer-based tests must decide before the start of testing which students will hand-write their responses. Those students must be placed in a handwriting session in WIDA AMS and the test coordinator must place an additional materials order for handwriting booklets. If you will administer only the computer-based test, do not order paper tests as well, except for students requiring a paper-based test accommodation. For students who cannot take all four test domains online, such as those who are unable to use a computer, plan to have those students take all four domains on paper and order those materials accordingly.

WIDA Training Modules

WIDA training modules are now available for Test Coordinators and Test Administrators who can access the training modules and checklists through their WIDA personal accounts. Be sure to view only those that say updated for 2017-18. Technology Coordinators can access the training materials and checklists through on the Technology tab of the ACCESS for ELLs page of the WIDA website. Information regarding training requirements for these roles is provided in the Principal's Pre-Administration Manual for ACCESS for ELLs: Tasks to be Completed in Fall 2017.

Release of 2017 ACCESS for ELLs Test Results: Update

Schools and districts received their printed ACCESS reports last May 31. Electronic results are available in WIDA AMS. Additional resources and interpretive information are described in the Department's May 12 ELL Assessment Update. The Department has also recently released (or will soon release) the following information about the performance of ELL students on the 2017 ACCESS tests:
  • CSV data file in the Department's Gateway Portal (Drop Box Central - ACCESS Data 2017 folder): students' test status, scores, and proficiency levels, Student Growth Percentiles for ACCESS (SGPAs), Progress indicators (Yes or No), and Attainment indicators (Yes or No) for each student. This file also contains students' 2016 ACCESS overall scaled scores and proficiency levels based on the new ACCESS 2.0 score scale.

  • Student Rosters (EL627) and aggregate District and School Summaries, including participation rate (EL327), are available in Edwin Analytics in the Gateway Portal. (Note: The percent of students in the district making progress do not appear in this report.)

  • Coming in late November–early December: Reports on the percent of students in each district who have met their growth-to-proficiency targets.

The Commissioner's June 2017 memo on New Exit Criteria, Equivalent Proficiency Levels, and Recommended Amount of Language Instruction is available. Please contact Student Assessment Services with any questions about ACCESS for ELLs testing at or by phone at 781-338-3625. Thank you for your attention to this important information.

Last Updated: October 17, 2017

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