What to know: WIDA assessments in 2021-22 school year

August 17, 2021

As we think about the 2021-22 school year, we recognize that many of you may be dealing with a lot of uncertainty. If you need anything from WIDA, our client services specialists are just a phone call or email away. We know that sometimes you don’t have time to find where you put that test administrator manual (that you totally had in your hand mere seconds ago), and you just need a simple question answered. Reach out to us. All of us at WIDA appreciate you and want to make sure you have what you need to best support your students and their families.

Here, we walk you through a short list of what’s new with WIDA Screener, ACCESS for ELLs and WIDA MODEL. Plus, we share our tips for testing.

What’s new

WIDA Screener and ACCESS for ELLs

Accessibility and Accommodations

  • Meet the newly named Accessibility and Accommodations Manual! The manual includes all the same great information that you found in its former self, the Accessibility and Accommodations Supplement. Plus, we’ve updated graphics and added more user-friendly text.
  • Extended test time within the school day has been changed from an accommodation to an administrative consideration. Extended time within the school day can be provided to any student who would benefit from having this support. Keep in mind that WIDA assessments are not timed tests, but your state may have additional guidance in this area.
  • The WIDA Screener Online and ACCESS for ELLs human reader accommodations have been consolidated from four to two. The human reader for test items and the human reader for response options on the listening test have been combined into one "in-person human reader" accommodation. Human reader for repeat of items and human reader for repeat of response options have been combined into one "repeat in-person human reader" accommodation. More information about when and how you might use these accommodations is in the Accessibility and Accommodations Manual. WIDA AMS and the test booklets have been updated with these new accommodations.

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten (Applies to the WIDA Consortium only)

Training Courses (Applies to the WIDA Consortium only)

Look for the following changes when the redesigned WIDA Secure Portal goes live on September 1.

  • WIDA has reorganized the WIDA Screener training to focus separately on administering the assessment and scoring the assessment. The training courses that focus on administration are:
    • WIDA Screener Online: Administration
    • WIDA Screener Paper: Administration
  • Training materials for scoring the WIDA Screener Writing domain have been moved into two new training courses:
    • Writing for Grades 1-5: Scoring WIDA Screener
    • Writing for Grades 6-12: Scoring WIDA Screener
  • If you are required to administer and score the ACCESS Paper or WIDA Screener Paper Speaking domain, those training materials have been moved into their own set of courses:
    • Speaking for Grades 1-5: Scoring Paper ACCESS and WIDA Screener
    • Speaking for Grades 6-12: Scoring Paper ACCESS and WIDA Screener
  • Gone are the days of having to sift through a list of assessment training course certification quiz tiles. In the redesigned portal, all assessment training course certification quizzes will be embedded in the relevant training courses. You must pass the certification quiz to complete the training course. Remember: recertification policies are a local or state policy decision.
  • You may notice that the training courses for Kindergarten ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS have been expanded and reorganized to provide an improved training experience.

Don’t forget: Use your member/state page to find testing dates, contact information for your state education agency, important state policy guidance and your ACCESS for ELLs Checklist.


Test Administrator Interface (TAI)

  • New updates make the TAI easier to use.
  • There’s a better process for assigning a student to a test form.
  • Individual Student Reports (ISRs) are available in 10 languages. 
  • District Roster Reports (district-level data) are now available.


While the idea of using WIDA MODEL is not new, we thought we’d talk about how you might use WIDA MODEL this school year. As multilingual students return to in-person learning, many of you will need language proficiency data to identify and address the immediate language learning needs of your students. With the sudden shift to virtual instruction in spring of 2020 and the possibility that some students did not take ACCESS for ELLs, it is even more important to gather data when students return to the classroom to ensure they receive appropriate language support. Schools and districts can use WIDA MODEL to

  • Gather immediate English language proficiency level scores at any time during the school year
  • Monitor students’ progress in language proficiency
  • Inform instructional planning and other decisions related to students’ education
  • Predict student performance on ACCESS
  • Meet the requirements of ESSER funding by addressing the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on multilingual learners

Learn more

Have questions about WIDA assessments? WIDA Consortium members can join a Q&A webinar. View the WIDA Q&A webinar schedule to find a webinar that suits your needs. International School Consortium members can contact international@wida.us. Or feel free to connect with the WIDA Client Services Center.

Make sure testing counts

  • We do not have a remote administration solution for WIDA Screener, WIDA MODEL or ACCESS for ELLs. For more information on using our assessments in your school, contact your State Education Agency or the International School Consortium at international@wida.us.
  • When capturing student oral responses, it is important for the test administrator to confirm that the audio is being recorded by the device and that the student is speaking clearly into the microphone. To determine whether students in your classroom should wear a mask during audio recording, refer to your local and/or state guidelines.
  • Allowing students to take any internet-connected devices, such as cell phones, smartwatches or Bluetooth headsets into an ACCESS for ELLs test session is a violation of test security. Copied or plagiarized responses can result in a student’s score being invalidated.

Stay informed

  • WIDA is always here to support you, as well as multilingual children and their families. Visit the COVID-19 Response and Updates webpage for the latest updates and access to relevant resources.
  • Check out the Distance Teaching and Learning webpage that features resources for educators as they provide remote instruction to multilingual learners.


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