Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

illustration of dog faceWIDA Alternate ACCESS Is Coming in 2023–24!

Learn about the updates

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs (Alternate ACCESS) is a large-print, paper-based test individually administered to students in grades 1-12 who are identified as English learners (ELs) with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Alternate ACCESS is intended for ELs who participate, or who would be likely to participate, in their state's alternate content assessment(s).

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    Grades 1-12
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    Proficiency Level

    Alternate ACCESS meets U.S. federal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for monitoring and reporting ELs’ progress toward English language proficiency.


    Alternate ACCESS tests students' language in the four domains: Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing. Test scores can be used to inform instruction and monitor progress of ELs in a school or district.

    • All domains are scored by the test administrator.
    • Our test delivery partner processes scored tests for reporting.


    In order to reliably assess the language proficiency of ELs with disabilities, students’ IEP and 504 teams must determine whether the student should take one of the following, with or without accommodations:

    • ACCESS for ELLs Paper
    • ACCESS for ELLs Online
    • Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

    IEP teams should follow their state's specific alternate assessment participation criteria. For additional guidance, view the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Participation Criteria Decision Tree.

    Test Administration Times

    Please note that delivery times for Alternate ACCESS vary based on student grade level, ability and modes of communication.

    Up to 20 minutes


    Up to 20 minutes


    Up to 20 minutes


    Up to 20 minutes

    80 minutes total test time

    *The above times are approximations.

    Resources for Educators

    Standards for the classroom that align with ACCESS for ELLs
    Can Do Descriptors that highlight what multilingual learners can do
    Professional learning that helps you better understand WIDA assessments
    students reaching across large drawing of a globe

    Get resources specific to your state

    State-specific contact information and additional testing resources for WIDA Consortium members.

    Submit State Selection

    Interested in purchasing Alternate ACCESS for ELLs?

    Please see the Join WIDA page for how to purchase Alternate ACCESS for ELLs "a la carte" for your state or territory.

    Resources for Families

    Handout for parents explaining Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.