Why Did you Start Using WIDA?
"It is recommended that AISC systematically implement the use of the WIDA standards as a part of mainstream curriculum development efforts," said Gini Rojas in her audit of American International School Chennai (AISC) in her 2012 audit report. It was then that AISC moved to a more academic language focus in their EAL program and adopted the WIDA MODEL as their annual assessment for its 500+ ELLs in the spring of 2013. This change coincided with a move to an inclusive co-teaching delivery model, with EAL teachers scaffolding language within the general education classroom.
Today as teachers in AIS Chennai become more familiar with the WIDA Standards Framework, WIDA tools such as the Can Do Descriptors and Proficiency Definitions have become a part of the way EAL and general education teachers differentiate grade-level instruction and analyze language development. Proficiency levels by domain are shared with teachers along with a "quick-look document" that provides scaffolding ideas, lists student strengths, and tracks progress.
Using WIDA tools alongside the principles of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), and the power of inclusive education, the school has enjoyed impressive language development growth and achievement among ELLs. AISC has also been analyzing student data in the classroom as well as overall test results using the WIDA LADDER for Language Learners leadership teams. The professionals at WIDA have led the way for LADDER coaches and groups of teachers as they expand their repertoire of strategies in the classroom and become more intentional about reflecting on student output. Most recently, strategies and information gained at the Dubai WIDA Symposium this month have helped AISC network with other schools in the region and strengthen their use of WIDA tools further.