illustration of dog face23-24 Alternate ACCESS score reports are coming this fall. 
Learn about the updates

WIDA Alternate ACCESS (Alternate ACCESS) is a large-print, paper-based test individually administered to students in grades K-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
  • Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs
  • WIDA Alternate ACCESS

IEP teams should follow their state's specific alternate assessment participation criteria. For additional guidance, view the WIDA Alternate ACCESS 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 30 minutes


Up to 30 minutes


Up to 30 minutes


Up to 30 minutes

120 minutes total test time

*The above times are approximations.

Publications and Professional Learning

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
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Browse Advancing ALTELLA research briefs, toolkits and more! Advancing ALTELLA is the current grant project to study how to assess English learners and students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

altella logo

Browse ALTELLA research briefs, studies, findings and more! ALTELLA was the initial grant project to study how to assess English learners and students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.