Submitted by: Jennifer Gelinas
At American International School of Budapest (AISB) we have been using WIDA for around a decade. We first started using WIDA MODEL to more accurately measure our students’ use of academic language. Additionally, it guided us in the vertical alignment of our curriculum.
As Jane Valezy stated in our WIDA focus school profile from 2016, “We started by piloting use of the WIDA MODEL assessment and using the WIDA Can-Do descriptors to help us think about student proficiency levels. We moved to focusing on the rubrics for assessment while using the Can-Do Descriptors to help us communicate with classroom teachers and parents about interpreting student proficiency levels.” Since then, we have started meeting with our encore, or specials, teachers throughout each school year. These conversations have allowed us to open up a two-way dialogue between the encore and English as an additional language (EAL) teams. Having insight into the Can-Do Descriptors assists the encore team in bridging language expectations with curriculum.
“Having the Can-Do Descriptors readily available helps me to focus my efforts where needed most.” Vince Juarez, EC and Kindergarten EAL
“WIDA Can-Do Descriptors help me get to know my students and their needs in a way that allows my team to formulate effective plans for collaboration and co-teaching.” Will Porter, Grade 2 EAL
More recently we have sought to find new ways of using the WIDA MODEL data to grow ourselves and our students. We have started looking at the MODEL data by grade level at the beginning of each school year; this allows our EAL teachers to create grade-level specific professional development. As our students’ work is inquiry driven and differs year to year, we then work as a grade-level team to provide the specific scaffolding that is most appropriate for that group of students.
Our school has also created a user-friendly database where we compile scores from WIDA MODEL, F&P, benchmark assessments, and MAP. This data allows us to easily track student language growth across years and compare their language growth with their growth in other areas. We hope that by using the WIDA data in combination with our other assessments, we can start identifying areas where we are succeeding and areas where we need stronger support.
“The WIDA MODEL assessment has been essential in helping us to provide personalized support for each of our English language learners.” Leigh Miller, ES Director of Teaching and Learning