Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

EL Assessment Update: Now Open - ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Online Test Setup

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:December 4, 2017

This update provides guidance to schools administering the online ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test in January and February 2017.

Pre-ID Upload of Student Data

The Department will preload student data into the WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS) for students who were reported as ELs in your district's October 2017 SIMS report. Test Coordinators will be able to review and edit this information between December 4, 2017, and February 7, 2018. During this time, you will be able to:
  • manage students by entering accommodations and student information for those who arrived after the October SIMS submission;
  • place students into test sessions; and
  • print test tickets.
Also see WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document for details. Pre-loaded students will be grouped automatically in test sessions, by grade, for each of the four language domains. Grouping in test sessions does not mean that these students must be tested together, only that similar students have been grouped together during the pre-loading of files. Once your student data has been entered, test tickets (secure documents) will be available to print, and the test may be administered. Directions for printing test tickets are provided on page 111 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document.

Options for Managing Student Data

Data can be managed in WIDA AMS either for individual or multiple students, according to the options described below.
Option A: Uploading your school or district's completed data file for multiple students concurrently
Prepare the file, as follows:
  1. Download the pre-populated school or district Student Data File (October SIMS in CSV format) at: Security Portal => Applications List => Drop Box Central => ACCESS Data 2018 => WIDA_PreID_2018ACCESS_XXXXXXXX (8 digit school or district code).
  2. Identify and correct any errors in this file and remember to make those corrections in your March 2018 SIMS report. Students need not be removed from the file if they have transferred out or exited ELL status since the October SIMS submission, but those students must be marked as "transfer" or "non-ELL" in the March 2018 SIMS, or they will be counted against your participation rate.
  3. Data fields A–K and M must be completed for new students who entered the school after the October SIMS submission. All other fields may be left blank.
  4. Data fields AF–AU should be completed for students who require accommodations.
  5. Save the Student Data File in CSV format.
  6. Upload your completed Student Data File as follows:
    The Student Data File can be uploaded to Manage Students (a function within WIDA AMS), and students can then be placed into Test Sessions (another WIDA AMS function), as follows:
    1. To manage students (enter new students and accommodations), follow directions on page 76–79 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document, to upload the completed Student Data File.
    2. To create test sessions, follow directions on pages 114–117 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document, to upload the completed Student Data File.

Option B: Editing or adding individual student information for making a small number of additions or changes
You may enter or edit individual student demographic information and accommodations. Directions are provided on pages 68–75 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document.
  1. To add new students, login to WIDA AMS, select Student Management=>Manage Students=>Add Student.

    1. Complete the information in Student Detail tab.
    2. Complete the Accommodations tab if appropriate.
    3. The Demographics tab is not required and will be grayed out.

    Instructions can be found on page 69 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document.

  2. To place new students in test sessions, login to the WIDA AMS, select Test Management=>Manage Test Sessions.

    1. The student must be placed in a test session, which will allow a test ticket to be printed for the student. Instructions can be found on page 103 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document.


If a student with a disability requires one or more of the following online accommodations, these should be entered prior to printing test tickets:
  • manual control of item audio (MC)
  • repeat item audio (RA)
  • extended Speaking test response time (ES).
Other accommodations may be entered either before, during, or after testing, until the last day of the testing window. The Department has pre-loaded the accommodations for students who took the 2017 ACCESS tests, including:
  • Manual control of item audio (MC)
  • Repeat item audio (RA)
  • Human Reader for Listening response options (HR)
  • Human Reader for repeat of response options one time (RR)
  • Human Reader for items (HI)
  • Human Reader for repeat of items (RI)
  • Large print version of test (LP)
  • Braille version of test (BR)
  • Scribed response (SR)
  • Word processor or similar keyboarding device to respond to test items (WD)
  • Student responds using a recording device, which is played back and transcribed by student (RD)
  • Test may be administered by school personnel in a non-school setting, with ESE approval (NS)
  • Extended Speaking test response time (ES)
The following accommodation was not pre-loaded:
  • Interpreter signs test directions in ASL (SD)
Please make sure to follow these steps for students with accommodations:
  1. For students who took the ACCESS in 2017 and have accommodations pre-loaded, verify that the accommodations are correct, and make necessary updates if the student's status has changed or if data were entered inaccurately.
  2. Enter accommodations for new students, as needed, or for students whose accommodations were not pre-loaded.

Students Who Will Handwrite Their Responses on the Online Writing Test

All ELL students in grades 1–3 will handwrite responses on the Writing test. You will automatically receive test booklets for these students. Any student in grades 4–12 may handwrite his or her responses during the online Writing test, at the discretion of the principal, if the student is unable to keyboard. Test booklets may be ordered for these students through the Additional Materials Ordering process, once the school's test materials have been received by the school. The decision to provide the handwriting option for the online Writing test should be made on an individual basis, and typically would not be provided to an entire class or grade. It may also be advisable to include this information in the IEP or 504 plan of any student with a disability for future testing. Students who will handwrite responses will need to be moved from the generic online Writing test sessions where they were placed automatically into a handwriting test session. Instructions for adding a test session can be found on pages 100–102 of the WIDA AMS User Guide Download PDF Document.

Technology Coordinators May Need WIDA Logins to Provide Support to Test Coordinators

In the course of testing, Technology Coordinators may be called upon to provide support and assistance to Test Coordinators. In these cases, Technology Coordinators will need access to certain parts of the Test Coordinator training, which is located on the Test Coordinator training checklist on the WIDA website. The Technology Coordinator need not complete the Test Coordinator training, but will need to create a WIDA personal account to access the training. Instructions for creating WIDA personal accounts can be found on the Department's webpage. Test Coordinators can advise Technology Coordinators which training modules to view.

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: December 4, 2017

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