Recent Projects

two girls looking at a booklet together at a table

Building knowledge about how to support the academic and social success of multilingual learners

The projects below represent some of our recent research collaborations.


Researchers in the Alternate English Language Learner Assessment (ALTELLA) project seek to better understand how to apply lessons learned from research on successful instructional practices, accommodations, and assessing English language learners (ELLs) and students with cognitive disabilities to develop an alternate English language proficiency assessment for these students.

They are using these findings to develop an evidence-centered design approach to inform the future developments related to alternate English language proficiency assessments. ALTELLA was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and established a partnership of five state departments of education – some from the WIDA Consortium – and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. WIDA is using project findings to inform developments regarding Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. Visit the ALTELLA website to learn more.

Doing and Talking Math and Science

Through the Doing and Talking Math and Science project, researchers and educators worked together to develop instructional resources that support all students in simultaneously doing and talking about science and mathematics. This research, funded by the National Science Foundation, is grounded in the premise that learning math and science means learning how to think in particular ways, how to argue from evidence, and use language to explain and analyze what you understand. When we help our students engage in these practices by facilitating their discussions of complex ideas, we provide multiple opportunities for all our students to become more effective users of English. Visit the Doing and Talking Math and Science website to learn more.


The American Indian English Learner Research Alliance (AIERA) is committed to establishing and sustaining long-term relationships that enable members to solve complex issues of mutual interest associated with advancing the academic, cultural, and linguistic needs of American Indian English learners. WIDA is a founding member of the alliance and is proud to partner with researchers, tribal leaders, state and local education agencies, and American Indian communities to support programs that value and build on Native students’ cultures and the languages they bring to school.

Unpacking the “Long-term English Learner” Label

In partnership with the WIDA Research Subcommittee, researchers are investigating the size and characteristics of the group of students who remain classified as English learners for six or more years across WIDA states and territories. One goal of this research is to more carefully examine how the “long-term English learner” label is applied across different contexts, and what its consequences are for students. In addition, researchers are exploring how federal, state and local policies and practices influence the experiences and outcomes of English learners who need different amounts of time and support to achieve criteria for eventual reclassification as English proficient.

View our 2018 LTEL Report on the size and characteristics of the long-term EL population across 15 states.

ACCESS Validation Research

WIDA conducts validation research to support the implementation and use of its assessments. WIDA provides technical reports, technical documentation, and stand-alone research reports with the aim of supporting teachers’, administrators’ and state policymakers’ understanding of the validity of the WIDA assessment instruments.