WIDA International School Consortium has transitioned to new Multilingual Learning Research Center at University of Wisconsin–Madison

July 5, 2023

The WIDA International School Consortium has transitioned to the Multilingual Learning Research Center (MLRC), which is housed within the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Use this article to learn more about the transition, the MLRC School Network, and understand what WIDA resources and tools are still available to independent and/or international schools.

Why did you make this change?

WIDA established the International School Consortium in 2013 to create a community of independent and international schools using WIDA resources to serve multilingual learners. WIDA’s international team built and nurtured this global network of schools and in 2023 had the opportunity to reimagine how to serve international schools, shifting from a global assessment network to a global research network. This shift to the MLRC — which was inspired by the innovative work that began during the pandemic — leverages the excitement and synergy that was developed in the WIDA Global Community of Practice by migrating the network to a new research-focused center. Learn more about this transition by visiting our recent news article announcing the new center.

What is WIDA’s relationship to the MLRC?

Both WIDA and the MLRC are part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), the nation’s oldest and largest educational research center. While WIDA and the MLRC will operate as separate entities with different leaders, both will be committed to advancing outcomes for multilingual learners:

  • WIDA provides language development resources to those who support the academic success of multilingual learners through a comprehensive, research-based system of language standards, assessments, professional learning and educator support.
  • The MLRC engages in multimethod, socially just research and manages a research-practice partnership to advance educational outcomes for multilingual learners.

What is the MLRC School Network?

The MLRC School Network is a community organized around current research to improve schoolwide approaches to serving multilingual learners. MLRC member schools have opportunities to participate in educational research through school-based inquiry tools, focused online dialogue and curated literature reviews. MLRC membership also provides self-access professional learning that includes unlimited access to the WIDA Virtual Institute and a WIDA Toolkit to support the use of WIDA assessments and resources. Learn more about pricing and member benefits on the MLRC School Network webpage.

Can independent and/or international schools still purchase assessments and resources from the WIDA Store?

Yes, independent and/or international schools can continue to purchase WIDA assessments and resources from the WIDA Store. Membership is not required to make a purchase and all WIDA assessments still come with self-paced training. Visit the Choosing an Assessment page to learn more about WIDA assessments available to independent and/or international schools.

MLRC School Network members that administer WIDA assessments in their schools will benefit from self-paced professional learning, including a WIDA Toolkit and the WIDA Virtual Institute course, connecting testing to teaching.

My school purchased WIDA MODEL prior to this transition, what happens to those assessments?

All WIDA MODEL tests purchased can be used within two years from the date of purchase, those purchases will not be impacted by this transition.

Where can independent and/or international schools find professional learning?

The WIDA Annual Conference will continue to be the premier event for educators of Pre-K through grade 12 multilingual learners, giving educators from around the globe the opportunity to share best practices and discover innovative classroom strategies. The 2023 WIDA Annual Conference will take place October 17-20, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For those who can’t attend in person, a virtual track is also available.

MLRC School Network member schools will benefit from several professional learning opportunities:

  • The MLRC School Network Hub which includes:
    • Unlimited access to the WIDA Virtual Institute, a self-paced online training course that is a first step in learning how WIDA assessments and resources work together to support multilingual students and their teachers.
    • A WIDA Toolkit which includes learning resources and training videos focused on using WIDA resources in international contexts.
    • Research topics focused on important issues such as collaboration, inclusive EAL (English as an additional language) and translanguaging. Educators from member schools can access annotated bibliographies, contextualized self-study resources and vibrant discussion areas.
  • The MLRC Research Symposium is a unique two-day opportunity for international educators to engage deeply in existing research about multilingual learners, connect with global education scholars, inquire together about shared problems of practice and discuss innovative strategies for serving multilingual learners. MLRC Research Symposia are hosted throughout the school year by MLRC School Network members and offered in a variety of global locations.

In addition, a variety of workshops and webinars, led by WIDA-trained facilitators, can be purchased for your school.

Can independent and/or international schools still use WIDA resources?

The WIDA website will continue to offer a wealth of free research-based tools and resources, dedicated to language development for multilingual learners in classrooms around the world. Highlights for educators include the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, WIDA Focus Bulletins, WIDA All Year Long and the Can Do Descriptors. View all resources by type or topic in the WIDA Resource Library.

MLRC School Network members will also have exclusive access to a WIDA Toolkit, which includes learning resources focused on using WIDA resources in international contexts.

Who can I contact for help?

Questions related to WIDA resources, assessments and services can be directed to the WIDA Client Services Center. Questions related to purchasing WIDA assessments and resources can be directed to the WIDA Store.

Contact the MLRC with inquiries about joining the MLRC School Network.


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