Member of the WIDA Consortium since 2004.
Illinois uses WIDA MODEL 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.
|10/14/20-11/10/20||Test materials ordering available in AMS (LEAs)|
|12/1/20-5/25/21||WIDA AMS test setup available for test sessions|
|3/15/21||Districts receive test materials|
|3/15/21-5/19/21||Additional test materials ordering window in AMS|
|6/4/21||Deadline for shipping completed test materials to DRC|
|9/14/21||Districts have access to electronic reports and data files in WIDA AMS|
|TBD||Districts receive paper reports|
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.
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. Materials may be purchase at the WIDA Store.
- 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. Paper administrations are allowed for the writing domain and 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 Writing test is paper-only at grades 1-3 and optional for grades 4-12. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Speaking Test using the paper mode are required to repeat the Speaking Test training annually. For additional details visit ISBE’s ACCESS for ELLs webpage.
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 account creation permission. WIDA Client Services (866-276-7735, email@example.com) will also create user accounts for those who have an email address issued by their district. Extra account permissions are granted by someone with a district-level account 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, firstname.lastname@example.org) – 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 Download Library of the WIDA Secure Portal. They include:
- Testing manuals and supplements
- Technology guides and documents
- Webinar calendar and recordings
- Informational Flyers
- WIDA AMS Guides, documents and “how-to” videos
- Trainer tools
- Technical Reports
A link to the Download Library appears on the account dashboard upon logging in to the WIDA 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
- Illinois is moving to readopt the 2020 refresh of the WIDA English Language Development Standards! As WIDA rolls out the newly formatted standards, Illinois will follow through to ensure that all stakeholders will become familiar with the more practical and accessible format. Illinois will move forward with the re-adoption process in early Summer 2020.
- In addition to the ELD Standards, Illinois continues to utilize and promote the Spanish Language Development Standards (English, Spanish) and the Spanish Language Arts Standards (English, Spanish) for programming for the largest student language group in the state.
Starting September 1 and continuing throughout the year, ISBE is offering all of its WIDA Workshops virtually in webinar or eWorkshop format.
Information on WIDA Workshops and WIDA Webinars sponsored by ISBE can be found on ISBE's WIDA Workshops page.
All WIDA eWorkshops are free and available in the eLearning Center in the WIDA Secure Portal. Don't have a WIDA Secure Portal account? Contact Sonia Serrano at email@example.com.
Early Years Membership
WIDA Early Years Member State since 2019.
- WIDA Early Years Membership: Statewide Benefits for Illinois
- WIDA EY Online Learning Modules: Get Started Now Flyer
- Online Modules: Instructions for Creating User Accounts and Registering
For state-specific information about WIDA Early Years professional learning, resources, and other member benefits, visit The Center: Early Childhood Professional Learning or contact Tammy King at firstname.lastname@example.org or (224) 366-8525.
EL Assessment Coordinator
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.
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 email@example.com, call (866) 276-7735, or contact your District Test Coordinator.
- New District Test Coordinators should contact Barry Pedersen at firstname.lastname@example.org to create an account.
- For assistance with your account, contact the WIDA Client Services Center at email@example.com 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.