Why did you start using WIDA?
Seoul Foreign School started the journey with WIDA in the 2010-2011 school year. At that time, SFS was looking for common admissions tests and common progress tests for all four sections of the school. An ELL consultant at the time recommended WIDA for our school wide ELL programs. In the 2011-2012 year, some of the ELL teachers used WIDA MODEL as a trial. SFS began using WIDA as the main test in our bank of ELL tests in 2012-2013.
How has it supported student learning and program growth?
Since 2013, WIDA MODEL and WIDA Standards have grown to become an integral part of our program at Seoul Foreign School. WIDA testing is used during admissions to help determine the level of support needed for each grade level. In the classroom, the Can Do Descriptors provide a framework to build scaffolding for access to the curriculum regardless of English level. With reporting, the WIDA levels show parents and students clear progress attached to these Can Do Descriptors that are a positive way to view progress through the language continuum. This progress is tracked on a school-wide data tracker using the levels of proficiency. The school-wide data tracker then helps admissions determine the current load of student support as well as what vacancies are available in the school for English Language Learners.
One of the many benefits of using WIDA has been the availability of quality professional development opportunities, including WIDA Institutes, WIDA Symposia, and visiting WIDA consultants. These consultants came to SFS in the fall of 2015 to provide support for our staff.