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EL Assessment Update: ACCESS for ELLs Important Reminders

To:Principals, English Learner Program Directors, ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, and Educational Technology Directors
From:Michol Stapel, Associate Commissioner Student Assessment Services
Melanie Manares, English Proficiency Assessment Coordinator
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:January 13, 2023

Happy New Year! Included in this update are important information and reminders regarding the ACCESS for ELLs testing window.

Important Reminders

Test Materials and Additional Materials Ordering

The Department has pre-ordered test materials for every school based on the October SIMS count. Materials should have arrived in schools on January 3, 2023. Please review your materials shipment to ensure you have everything you need. If you did not receive materials, please contact DRC customer service at 855-787-9615 to request a UPS tracking number to locate the test materials.

If needed, additional materials may be ordered in WIDA AMS for students enrolled after the October SIMS count was submitted to DESE. An overage of materials was included in the initial shipment to schools and should be used prior to placing any additional materials orders. The Additional Materials Ordering Window closes on February 3. Please attempt to limit your additional materials orders to one per school.

Yellow District/School labels were included in your initial materials shipment. Additional District/School labels will not be mailed with the shipment of your additional materials order. If additional District/School labels are needed, please email . District/School labels will be mailed separately.

Test Sessions

Students in the Pre-ID file have been placed in generic test sessions in WIDA AMS. During the test setup window (open through February 10), schools should review the test sessions in WIDA AMS under Test Management>Manage Test Sessions and make any necessary changes, such as updating demographic information, adding students who are not included on the list, and removing students who have exited EL status or are no longer enrolled in the district. Students who have exited or are no longer enrolled should be reported as such in the March SIMS. Please see page 63 of the WIDA AMS User Guide for information on editing test sessions. Changes made in WIDA AMS will override what was pre-loaded. Other important dates during ACCESS testing 2023 can be found on the MA state page of the WIDA website.

Last Day to Test Newly Enrolled Students

The last day that schools are required to test English learner students who enroll during the testing window is February 3. If paper materials are needed, the last day to order additional materials is February 3. Students may be tested prior to the close of the testing window on February 10.

Early Return of Grades 1–3 Writing Materials

Schools that have completed most of their Grades 1–3 Writing tests are encouraged to return the writing test booklets to DRC as early as possible. Schools do not have to wait until the end of the test window to return Grades 1–3 Writing materials to DRC. Returning writing test booklets to DRC early helps support the scoring and timely reporting of results.

2023 ACCESS for ELLs Webinars

The Department will offer opportunities for ACCESS for ELLs Test Coordinators, EL Program Directors, and Principals to ask questions and receive clarification regarding relevant topics during the ACCESS testing cycle. Participants will be required to register for each session they wish to attend.

  • Office Hours — January 17, 2023, 2:30 – 3:00 pm
  • Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test — January 31, 2023, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Please register for Office Hours webinar here and for Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test webinar here. A confirmation message will appear on your screen once you have successfully registered. An email with the link to the webinar will be sent to you from Alchemer upon completing registration. If you do not receive the email, please check your spam folder. Email with questions about registration.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test

Schools are encouraged to participate in WIDA's Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test. All students who were scheduled to take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs will take the current test. In addition, at least 25% of current Alternate ACCESS for ELLs participants in your school will also take the Field Test. Any kindergarten students who would take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs if one were available currently should also participate in the Field Test. Please see the Participation Guidelines: Which Students Should Take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs? for guidance on which students may be eligible for the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. Field Test materials will arrive in schools on February 7. Students should be tested between February 14 and April 17, 2023.

Test administrators should complete the field test training and related quizzes located in the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs: Administration and Scoring training course in the WIDA Secure Portal. The added training content should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

For up-to-date information about the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test, please visit Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Field Test: Coming to schools in early 2023.

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 information.

Last Updated: January 13, 2023

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