Schools need to see how well their English language learners are progressing over time. Every year, many school districts give ELL students the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners test, known as ACCESS for ELLs. This test is used in 32 states for ELL students from kindergarten through 12th grades, and it is written by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, or WIDA, Consortium.

Domains and Standards

ACCESS tests all four language domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The test covers English language proficiency standards in the following areas: Social and Instructional, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Measuring student progress helps guide how teachers instruct individual students and helps a district gauge how the effective its ELL programs are. ACCESS scores play a role in determining when a student can exit an ELL program.

Language Levels

ACCESS designates students’ English skills using a six-leveled scoring system. At Level 6, students are considered as fluent as their native-English-speaking peers. Students achieving Level 5 in a particular category, like reading, are considered fluent. Scores are given for reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as an overall score that is weighted toward reading and writing.