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EL Assessment Update: Important Back-to-School ACCESS for ELLs Information

To:Principals, English Learner Program Directors, ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, and Educational Technology Directors
From:Dan Wiener, Administrator of Inclusive Assessment
Melanie Manares, English Proficiency Assessment Coordinator
Date:September 13, 2019

Greetings and welcome back to school. Here are a few important updates regarding WIDA and ACCESS for ELLs testing.

Welcome, Melanie!

Student Assessment Services welcomed Melanie Manares to the team this summer as the English Proficiency Assessment Coordinator, replacing Alexis Glick who has left the Department to join the WIDA staff. Melanie has been with the Department for over six years as Title III Coordinator in the Office of Language Acquisition. Melanie is pleased to join the Inclusive Assessment team and looks forward to a great school year. Welcome, Melanie!

In This Update

We are providing you with some preliminary information about 2020 ACCESS for ELLs testing, and additional information and resources to assist you in preparing to administer the ACCESS tests in January/February 2020.

We will provide you with frequent updates during the school year to familiarize you and your staff with testing requirements and assist you in planning and scheduling the ACCESS tests. Please ensure that staff in the roles of EL Program Director (EL Director), ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator, and Principal have been updated by your district's Directory Administrator in the Department's School and District Profiles.

Please review and forward this and future EL Assessment Updates to your staff, as appropriate.

Hold the Date — Fall 2019 ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator Training Webinars

Three webinars will be offered for returning ACCESS for ELLs test coordinators, and one webinar for new test coordinators later this fall. Please be sure you have taken all of the required WIDA online training modules for your role and grade level prior to attending the webinar. Online trainings are available on the WIDA Secure Portal (log-in through your WIDA account required) under the heading "ACCESS for ELLs Training Courses." Registration information will be provided in the next Update.

Dates for the webinars are:

  • November 19 1:00–2:30 p.m. (Returning Test Coordinators)
  • November 20 1:00–2:30 p.m. (Returning Test Coordinators)
  • December 5 10:00–11:30 a.m. (NEW Test Coordinators)
  • December 13 10:00–11:30 a.m. (Returning Test Coordinators)

New This Year — WIDA Personal Accounts

A WIDA personal account will be required to access the training materials and other resources available on the WIDA website.

Existing WIDA personal accounts:

If you already have a WIDA personal account, then it is still valid for the 2019-2020 school year. You may get an error message when you log in that says the "User name is invalid." That's because your user name must now be an email address. Just type in your email address and it should work with your old password. Do not create a new account, even if you have changed districts.

To obtain a WIDA personal account for the first time:

Please contact the English Learner (EL) Program Director, District or School ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator, or Principal in your school or district to obtain a new WIDA personal account—these individuals can generate a new WIDA personal account for you. Please do not call WIDA or DESE to do this for you. Those with WIDA personal accounts are granted access to the WIDA Screener Online, online test administrator training modules, and the online ACCESS tests, as well as other WIDA publications.

New District ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators:

Please contact the WIDA Client Services Center at 866-276-7735 or for assistance in setting up your new WIDA personal account with District Test Coordinator (DTC) permissions. Before contacting the WIDA Client Services Center, please ensure that your name is listed as an ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator for the district in the Department's School and District Profiles. Contact your Directory Administrator for assistance in adding your name, if it is not currently listed. Once it is listed, the WIDA Client Services Center can give you an account with DTC permissions. See the next section if you are a continuing District ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator.

EL Program Directors, District ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, and Principals with existing WIDA accounts:

Staff in these roles will have District Test Coordinator permissions that allow them to set up WIDA personal accounts for others in the district or school, including School Test Coordinators. Those with DTC permissions will receive an email from WIDA confirming that they have DTC permissions.

The following instructions describe how an individual with School or District Test Coordinator permissions can set up a personal account for another staff person:

  1. Login to and select the orange button at the top right corner of the screen titled "My Account & Secure Portal."
  2. Select the blue tile titled "Account Creator."
  3. Click the grey "Continue" button above the "Forgot Your Password?" hyperlink.
  4. Fill out the contact information section for the person who needs an account.
  5. Select "Create My Account" at the bottom of the page.
  6. The individual should receive an email immediately after they have created their account with a link that allows them to set up their own password.

Once a WIDA personal account is created, educators will have access to online training modules and other WIDA materials and resources. Individuals should write down and securely store their account user name and password.

New This Year — WIDA AMS Accounts

The WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS) supports the administration of ACCESS for ELLs tests, including entering and editing student information, managing students taking ACCESS tests, and viewing ACCESS test results. Only District Test Coordinators can create WIDA AMS School and District Test Coordinator, as well as Educational Technology Director, accounts for staff in their school or district. Existing accounts will be carried over from the previous school year.

New District ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators should contact DRC Customer Service at 855-787-9615 or for assistance in setting up their WIDA AMS accounts. Before contacting DRC Customer Service, please ensure that your name is listed as the ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator for your district on the School and District Profiles page on the Department's website. For assistance in adding your name and role to Profiles, please contact your Directory Administrator.

New This Year — Ordering ACCESS Test Materials

The Department will pre-order tests for every school this year based on the students tested at the school last year. Schools will not need to order test materials in October as they have in the past. Schools can order additional test materials beginning in early January once their shipment has arrived at the school. More details will be provided in the next EL Assessment Update.

New This Year — Important Technology Update for Educational Technology Directors

DRC INSIGHT Testing Site Manager software applications (TSMs) used by schools and districts to download test content, has been retired. Data Recognition Corp (DRC) and the Department have sent emails to districts, plus provided documents and webinars to district Educational Technology Directors regarding the need to retire TSMs and migrate to the Central Office Services (COS) - Service Device in your local configurations. TSMs are no longer being supported, and users with a TSM in a COS Configuration will receive an error message when DRC INSIGHT is launched if TSMs have not been migrated to COS-SD.

The resources listed below provide information outlining the process of installing a COS Service Device and integrating it into an existing COS configuration using Central Office Services. These resources are available in WIDA AMS (WIDA AMS account log-in required) under All Applications>General Information>Documents>Show Documents.

  • TSM to COS Transition Video Instructions — A step by step video that outlines the transition from TSM to COS-SD.
  • COS-SD Technology User Guide — A guide that describes how to configure, install, manage, and troubleshoot DRC INSIGHT if you are using a COS-SD.
  • Tech Bulletin: TSM to COS Service Device — Summarizes the process of migrating an existing configuration from a TSM to a COS-SD.

2019 ACCESS Results

Student level ACCESS for ELLs 2019 results can be found in DropBox (ACCESS2019_R2_) and Edwin EL627 in the Security Portal that include progress determinations, whether the student has met the exit criteria, whether the student is not proficient after more than five years, and 2020 progress targets. The number and percent of ELs making progress by school and district is available in Edwin EL327.

Reporting EL students accurately in October SIMS

Please ensure that EL students are reported accurately in the district's October 2019 Student Information Management System (SIMS) and inform your District Directory Administrator of students who have exited EL status who should no longer be reported as EL.

2020 ACCESS for ELLs: Important Dates

Ensure that new principals and ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators are updated in School and District Profiles. September 2019
Ensure that ACCESS Test Coordinators have WIDA AMS accounts and ACCESS Test Administrators have WIDA personal accounts. September–December 2019
ACCESS Test Coordinators and Test Administrators take online training modules and certification quizzes for tests they will administer. October 2019–January 2020
WIDA AMS Test set-up (School ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinator sets up appropriate test sessions for students to include setting dates, times, and creating rosters for students to be tested.) December 5, 2019–January 31, 2020
Test materials arrive in schools. (Schools will not order their test materials as in prior years). January 2, 2020–January 3, 2020
Additional test material ordering in AMS January 2–January 31, 2020
ACCESS test administration window January 6–February 7, 2020
Deadline for schools to return test materials February 7, 2020
Pre-reporting data validation by schools March 23–March 27, 2020
Reports and data files available in AMS May 15, 2020
Results reported to schools and districts (printed) May 26, 2020
Post-reporting data validation by schools May 26, 2020–June 3, 2020
Updated results posted in AMS June 17, 2020

New This Year — Claiming Students

Districts will be able to view students' education data history, including previous ACCESS test scores, for students who have enrolled in their district by "claiming" them. Please see the Student Claiming User Guide on the Department's website for information on claiming students.

Please contact Student Assessment Services with any questions about ACCESS for ELLs testing or by phone at 781-338-3625.

Thank you for your attention to this important information.

Last Updated: September 13, 2019

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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