Listening to our members’ voices

The WIDA International Program regularly analyzes data to improve our support of our member schools. In a recent review of questionnaire data, we learned 83% of participants would be likely or very likely to recommend WIDA resources to another school. Participants also identified areas where they needed further support.

As a research organization committed to constantly improving support of multilingual students, teachers and schools, we regularly review and analyze data from member schools. Every year, active members in the WIDA International School Consortium receive a short questionnaire about their experiences. The questionnaire asks respondents to provide feedback on everything from the process of purchasing and accessing WIDA resources to their participation in various forms of professional learning to how we can improve our customer service experience.

We deeply value these data. Member responses help us understand ongoing needs of international educators and how schools are currently accessing WIDA resources. In this article, we provide a short review of the responses we received from July to December 2020 to provide a glimpse into how we are doing, from the perspective of our member schools.

Understanding Member Satisfaction

In general, one clear pattern across many responses was that participants appreciated many positive aspects of the WIDA experience. For example, 83% of respondents said they were either likely or very likely to recommend WIDA resources to another school, as represented in the pie chart below.

 

A pie chart represents how likely respondents would be to recommend WIDA resources to another school. 43% responded very likely, 40% responded likely, 11% responded somewhat likely, 3% responded not at all likely, and 3% responded not applicable or not sure.

Educators expressed they would recommend WIDA to a colleague based on three key strengths: assessments, resources and customer service. In the following section, we share direct quotes from respondents that highlight these strengths.

Assessments

“The assessment takes into account both the breadth of knowledge and the breadth of language students may bring as assets to an educational setting. It gives a more accurate assessment of language and has the supporting resources to equip educators to set relevant challenges and accurate language targets. Most importantly, it is backed by research!”

Resources

“[WIDA] is the best resource I have seen that offers such a comprehensive set of materials and information for ALL teachers, not just teachers of English. There are a plethora of resources available. The WIDA test for English Levels is the best on the market and in my 25-year career, it is the most comprehensive I have seen. It is the best in my opinion because it evaluates academic English comprehensively, not just English language skills, in all domains. I have worked with some that are great for ;reading skills or great for speaking skills but never one that hits all four domains.”

Customer Service

“All the people I have met in person during training have been completely professional and have shared their very obvious expertise clearly and respectfully. Online questions have always been answered swiftly and effectively. I feel part of a very professional, reliable organisation.”

Responding to Member Needs

While respondents spoke to the strengths of their experience engaging with WIDA, they also highlighted a few areas where they felt their experience could be improved or strengthened.

For example, respondents inquired about more remote testing options for WIDA MODEL, in light of the ongoing global pandemic. While all WIDA assessments (with the exception of WIDA Remote Screener) should be administered and scored face-to-face both to build on teacher’s knowledge and to produce authentic student language, we know many member schools are wondering how to best test students during a pandemic. You may read the Ask Fatima: Remote testing article that addresses other options for screening students and ongoing testing, as well as Assessment Best Practices During COVID-19 for WIDA MODEL, a resource designed to support test coordinators and test administrators administering WIDA MODEL during the pandemic. Finally, WIDA International School Consortium members have access to the WIDA Remote Screener, a temporary solution during virtual learning. Testing materials are available for download in the WIDA International Secure Portal.

A few respondents to the survey asked about U.S. bias in content within testing materials. Over the past few years, WIDA researchers, led by Mark Chapman, WIDA director of test development, have conducted an extensive bias, sensitivity and content review with a team of international educators to analyze new test items as part of the WIDA MODEL refresh project. WIDA MODEL Online has now been updated with reduced content centered on U.S. cultural and historical themes. Read more about the extensive process to update WIDA MODEL in our recent newsletter.

Respondents were also looking for more information on alignment to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). Along with many other relevant topics, WIDA recently published a Focus Bulletin about how educators in featured International Baccalaureate schools are integrating WIDA resources as they design lessons for multilingual learners. Finally, some respondents hoped for more seamless movement between the WIDA Store and the WIDA MODEL test administration website which we have passed on to our customer service team.

We are very grateful to participants for sharing these important areas for improvement, as they provide us insight as we continue to strengthen our support of multilingual students, teachers and schools.

Your Voice

Thank you to the many educators who completed this survey so far. Your responses are important to us and help us continue to learn how to serve you better.

We ask all member schools to be on the lookout for the survey, which you will receive approximately six months after joining or renewing your membership. Also, always feel free to provide us with your feedback and comments via email at international@wida.us. Your voice matters to us!