Preparing for Alternate ACCESS Testing

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

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Resources designed to help you prepare for Alternate ACCESS

WIDA provides training resources to help educators prepare for and administer WIDA Alternate ACCESS. However, not every resource is necessary or applicable to every educator. To understand the preparation process and what you'll need to get started, view the QuickStart Guide below.

Each language domain (Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing) is given separately and may take a different amount of time to deliver depending on the students’ grade level, abilities and modes of communication.


QuickStart Guide for Preparing to Administer WIDA Alternate ACCESS

1. Meet with your student's IEP team to determine if Alternate ACCESS is the appropriate assessment for the student.

The WIDA Alternate ACCESS Participation Criteria Decision Tree helps IEP teams determine if a student should take WIDA Alternate ACCESS or ACCESS for ELLs (Online or Paper) with accommodations.

2. Review Alternate ACCESS testing information specific to your state/territory/agency.

Visit your member/state page for testing dates and policies, which assessments are used, and contact information for your state and the WIDA Client Services Center.

If you are a first-time test administrator (TA) or district test coordinator (DTC), you will find instructions on how to get an account set up for the WIDA Secure Portal (required training site). You can also find ACCESS for ELLs Checklists (all the tasks that need to be completed before, during and after testing) on your member/state page.

3. Complete your Alternate ACCESS certification and review other supplemental training materials.

Find the Alternate ACCESS: Administration and Scoring training course in the WIDA Secure Portal. In Course Resources you’ll find supplemental materials like the Test Administrator Manual (TAM).

4. Share information about the test with families.

WIDA offers information for parents and families to help them understand language testing and EL status.

The What Is Language Testing? and Explaining ELL Status flyers are available in several languages.

5. Review Alternate ACCESS sample items with students.

Plan ahead.

  • Consider how to set up the testing room/space.
  • Think about how to prepare a student’s test materials.
  • Explain the test to students if appropriate.
  • Use the Alternate ACCESS sample items.

6. Schedule test sessions.

Alternate ACCESS must be carefully scheduled to make sure students have enough time, space and supports.

7. Review, inventory and prepare test materials.

As needed and appropriate for the student, you can adapt the Test Booklet by cutting it apart and presenting the graphics in another format. For example, you might attach them to an eye gaze board or mount them on foam core or blocks to give students a tactile method of responding. Do not adapt the Student Response Booklet! This booklet is scanned to collect scores and should not be disassembled or modified in any way.

8. Monitor your students' level of engagement and your administration practices during testing.

Adjust your approach to meet each student’s individual needs as appropriate.

Test administrators should be familiar with students’ needs and set a positive tone for testing.

For detailed instructions and additional steps, refer to the ACCESS Checklist on your member/state page.