Member of the WIDA Consortium since 2004.


Illinois uses WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten, WIDA Screener for Kindergarten, and WIDA Screener (for Grades 1-12) to identify English language learners (ELLs). ACCESS for ELLs is given to all ELLs during the annual testing window, which typically takes place from mid-January through mid-February.

Testing Dates

9/16/22 Site file due in SIS
10/12/22-11/8/22 Initial material ordering in WIDA AMS
11/4/22 Pre-ID labels updated in SIS
11/28/22-2/28/23 Test setup in WIDA AMS
1/5/23 Districts receive test materials
1/5/23-2/21/23 Additional test materials ordering window in AMS (outside of CPS 299)
1/11/23-2/28/23 Test Window
3/7/23 Deadline for shipping completed test materials to DRC
3/1/23-8/25/23 ACCESS corrections are active in SIS
5/8/23-5/26/23 Preliminary review of ACCESS results
7/7/23 Electronic reports and data files in WIDA AMS
7/28/23 Paper reports shipped to districts
8/5/23 Final ACCESS results posted in SIS

Requirements and Resources

See below for state-specific information and resources related to ELL assessment, including your state’s ACCESS for ELLs Checklist, where you can find each step in the ACCESS testing process from beginning to end.

ACCESS for ELLs Online Checklist ACCESS for ELLs Paper ChecklistIdentification and Placement Guidance

State Testing Requirements

Information on screening and assessment of Emergent Bilinguals (EBs) for English language proficiency can be found at ISBE's EL Enrollment page.

  • Assess Kindergarten EBs with the ACCESS for ELLs for Kindergarten
  • Assess Grades 1-12 EBs with the ACCESS for ELLs Online; limited paper administrations are permitted (see further down in this section).
  • Screen Kindergarten and 1st semester of grade 1 EBs with the WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten or the WIDA Screener for Kindergarten. Materials for WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten may be purchased at the WIDA Store. WIDA Screener for Kindergarten materials are available to download in the WIDA Secure Portal.
  • Screen grade 1, 2nd semester and higher EBs with WIDA Screener. The online version is available at no cost via WIDA AMS. The paper version may be purchase at the WIDA Store.
  • For screening EBs at Pre-K, the Illinois School Code allows local flexibility regarding instruments. ISBE recommends the Pre-IPT Oral, published by Ballard-Tighe.

All Emergent Bilinguals (EBs) are required to participate in the annual English language proficiency assessment using either the standard ACCESS for ELLs or the Alternate ACCESS (see the state guidance for eligibility requirements for Alternate ACCESS). 

Use ACCESS for ELLs Online for grades 1-12. ACCESS for ELLs Online allows for the Writing domain to be completed via handwriting if necessary. Paper administrations are allowed to comply with IEP provisions. Other administrations of ACCESS using the paper mode are permitted upon approval of a waiver by the Illinois State Board of Education. This waiver is similar to the one used for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness for circumstances of limited or unsuitable local technology. A waiver application may be submitted online via the ISBE website. An approved waiver for IAR or ACCESS applies to both tests. Waivers require annual renewal.

The ACCESS for ELLs Online Writing test is administered on paper for grades 1-3. As needed, students in grades 4-12 have the option of responding to the online Writing tasks via handwriting. ACCESS for ELLs for Kindergarten and the Alternate ACCESS are paper-only.

Online testing counts and paper materials orders are entered through the WIDA AMS website (see Materials Ordering and Online Test Setup).

Existing user accounts on WIDA AMS will carry over to the next school year. District Coordinators in WIDA AMS can create new user accounts for others in their district and schools. They may also assign/re-assign permissions for user accounts or make them inactive. To add a district or school to WIDA AMS, contact Barry Pedersen, 866-317-6034, or

Test Preparation and Training


Most test administrator (TA) training for ACCESS is done online. Training modules are in the WIDA Secure Portal, which requires a user account (see below).

Illinois generally does not require TAs to repeat the training annually. However, TAs who will administer the ACCESS for ELLs Paper Speaking Test to students in grades 1-12 are required to repeat the Speaking scoring training course annually.  For additional details visit ISBE’s ACCESS for ELLs webpage.

Online Accounts

The WIDA Secure Portal contains the TA training courses (and other valuable preparation material) and records the training history of users. Accounts are created by a current account holder with the account coordinator role. WIDA Client Services (866-276-7735, will also create user accounts for those who have an email address issued by their district. Additional roles or packages can be assigned by an account coordinator or by ISBE.

WIDA AMS is the website for conducting online testing and ordering paper materials. WIDA’s material vendor – Data Recognition Corporation (DRC, 855-787-9615, – operates and supports this site. Accounts are created by an existing school or district coordinator for the district in WIDA AMS, or by ISBE.

ISBE recommends that every district have at least two district-level account holders for each of these websites to preserve access when one leaves the district or is unavailable.

Manuals, Guides, and Supplemental Materials

A considerable body of documents that support ACCESS testing are available in the Resources section of the WIDA Secure Portal. They include:

  • Testing manuals and supplements
  • Technology guides and documents
  • Webinar calendar and recordings
  • Informational Flyers
  • WIDA AMS Guides and documents
  • Trainer tools

A link to the Resources page appears in the main menu of the WIDA Secure Portal.

Materials Ordering and Online Test Setup

Online testing for ACCESS and WIDA Screener Online is set up and conducted using the WIDA AMS (WIDA Assessment Management System) website. WIDA AMS is operated and supported by Data Recognition Corporation (DRC). User accounts are required to log in. A guide to using WIDA AMS is found in WIDA AMS and in the WIDA Secure Portal as are technical documents for setting up the software. DRC Customer Service can be reached at 855-787-9615.

Paper test materials are also ordered in WIDA AMS. See State Testing Requirements for limitations and additional information.

ISBE will provide student records to DRC for ACCESS testing but not for screening. The district uploads student records for online screening.

Standards and Instructional Support

Professional Learning

  • Starting September 1 and continuing throughout the year, ISBE is offering all of its WIDA Workshops virtually in webinar, Self-Paced Workshop, and in-person format.
  • Information on WIDA Workshops and WIDA Webinars sponsored by ISBE can be found on ISBE's WIDA Workshops page.
  • All WIDA Workshops in all formats are free and available in the WIDA Secure Portal. Don't have a WIDA Secure Portal account? Contact Sonia Serrano at

Early Years Membership

WIDA Early Years as a separate membership program is ending June 30; you will need to finish your Early Years eLearning coursework by then. Although the Early Years program is ending, WIDA will continue to make PreK–3 resources available on the WIDA Early Language Development webpage. (This page will be renamed Teaching in PreK–3 starting July 1.)

Contact for information about how to set up a WIDA Secure Portal account and access this and other WIDA self-paced offerings.


Barry Pedersen
EL Assessment Coordinator
(866) 317-6034

Trevor Cottle
Principal Consultant, Department of Multilingual Services
(312) 814-3850 / (866) 317-6034

WIDA Client Services Center
Contact us for questions about training materials, test administration procedures, classroom resources, or for problems with your WIDA Secure Portal account.
(866) 276-7735

Logging In

WIDA Secure Portal
Use the WIDA Secure Portal to access test training manuals and resources, as well as online professional learning modules.

  • To obtain a new login, contact, call (866) 276-7735, or contact your District Test Coordinator.
  • New District Test Coordinators should contact an existing DTC or ISBE at or (866) 317-6034 to create an account.
  • For assistance with your account, contact the WIDA Client Services Center at or call (866) 276-7735.

WIDA Assessment Management System (WIDA AMS)
WIDA AMS is managed by our partner company Data Recognition Corporation (DRC). You can order ACCESS materials, manage your student and test information, and find technology resources and testing software via WIDA AMS.

  • To obtain a new login, contact your District Test Coordinator.
  • New District Test Coordinators should contact an existing DTC or ISBE at or (866) 317-6034 to create an account.
  • For assistance accessing your account, contact DRC Customer Service at or call (855) 787-9615.