Focus School: Australian International School, Singapore
AIS (Australian International School) Singapore is a K-12 school with 2600+ students in total, approximately 20% being ELL. AIS became a& WIDA International School Consortium member school in 2016. Prior to this, AIS had been using school-developed placement tools for eight years, and prior to that the MAC II assessment. The initial attraction of the WIDA system was the clearly articulated language progression for ELL students, aligned with the academic language expectations at various stages of schooling. A great function of the WIDA assessments is the use of year level appropriate academic language across key learning areas. Additionally, the support WIDA provides for teachers when planning for ‘scaffolding up’ was viewed as a major attraction over other test and placement-only based systems.
All students (whose Mother tongue is not English) at AIS are tested using the New WIDA Screener at the point of enrollment, after which they are appropriately placed in the program with the required support structures. In the Elementary school, WIDA scores are used to determine the English class placement in either the Beginner or Transitioning EAL phase. The school is moving away from the partial sheltered model in lower secondary (Year 6-8) to the EAL Co Planning/Teaching/Assessing model in Science and Humanities classes. Initially, working closely initially with Dr Virginia Rojas as the catalyst for this change in 2016, and then over the past two years with Mrs Bronwyn Custance from Australia, who is a co-author of the widely renowned TESMC Course.