Submitted by: EAL teachers - Denise Parker, Margaret Cheng, Alex Dailey, and Debra Lechner, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, with contributions from Brian Donaldson, ES principal and Killian Kroell, Director of Admissions
Why Did you Start Using WIDA?
AIS Vienna was at a transition point in determining and formalizing our program. As a school team, consisting of an administrator and EAL teachers, we attended a WIDA International Institute in December 2018. The WIDA framework provided a vision and a comprehensive and consistent approach to assessments and standards. We began implementation of the WIDA Screener for admissions and the WIDA Model Online to document progress of current EAL students grades K-8. The WIDA results gave us more precise evaluations for each language domain, yielding a clearer understanding of each student’s strengths and challenges. Results from the listening domain were particularly informative as this domain had not been formally assessed previously.
"AIS Vienna has integrated the WIDA Screener into our admissions process for primary and middle school applicants whose first language is not English. Not only does the screener give us robust, standardized information to help us make clear admissions decisions, but we are simultaneously able to use the results for EAL scheduling once students are enrolled." -Kilian Kröll, Director of Admissions
How has WIDA supported student learning and program growth?
We have observed and experienced the benefits of collecting and analyzing precise data across the four language domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing. This allowed us to plan targeted instruction for our students.
“WIDA has proven to be a valuable assessment tool. When combined with assessments from classroom teachers, we can make decisions based on data to guide further instruction for push in services as well as have solid criteria for exiting EAL services." -Brain Donaldson, AISV Elementary School principal
We have seen an increase in conversations and collaboration between EAL and classroom teachers with a focus on academic language that has positively impacted student learning. Moving forward, we feel the WIDA framework will help us continue to develop our program as we implement specific instructional strategies, WIDA Language Proficiency Standards, ongoing monitoring of student growth, and evaluation of our EAL program.
AIS Vienna will host a WIDA International Symposium on December 5-6, 2019. Register by September 13, 2019 for early bird pricing.