Can Do Descriptors

younger children at science lab table

A tool to help you meet students where they are in their language development

The Can Do Descriptors highlight what language learners can do at various stages of language development as they engage in the following contexts:

  • Early care and education (ECE) English and Spanish language development
  • K-12 English language development
  • K-12 Spanish language development

Similar to the WIDA Language Development Standards, the Can Do Descriptors represent what learners can do with language across different content areas. Although the Can Do Descriptors relate to the Standards, they don’t replace them but supplement them during instruction.

Educators and early childhood practitioners can use the Can Do Descriptors in the following ways:

  • Collaborate and engage in conversations about language for learning as children and youth move along the continuum of language development
  • Advocate for language learners to have equitable access to developmentally appropriate content
  • Differentiate instruction and classroom assessment
  • Understand ACCESS for ELLs test scores

K-12 Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition

This edition is organized around four overarching communicative purposes called Key Uses: Recount, Explain, Argue, Discuss.

The Descriptors are organized by the following grade level clusters, corresponding with ACCESS for ELLs and WIDA Screener.

To purchase copies of the K-12 Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition that are color printed and bound, visit the WIDA Store.

Early Years Can Do Descriptors

The Early Years Can Do Descriptors provide examples of language use for three overarching communicative purposes: Express Self, Recount, Inquire (for receptive and expressive language domains).

They are organized by the following age clusters: 2.5-3.5, 3.5-4.5, 4.5-5.5

To purchase copies of the Early Years Can Do Descriptors that are color printed and bound, visit the WIDA Store.

Los descriptores Podemos

Los descriptores Podemos ofrecen ejemplos de lo que los hablantes del español podemos realizar en cada uno de los niveles de desempeño lingüístico.

Características de los descriptores Podemos:

  • Proporcionan ejemplos del uso del lenguaje para cuatro propósitos académicos: Relatar, Explicar, Argumentar y Discutir
  • Ofrecen ejemplos para seis diferentes niveles de desempeño lingüístico
  • Presentan ejemplos en cuatro modalidades del lenguaje: escuchar, hablar, leer y escribir
  • Incluyen ejemplos para kínder, primer grado y grados combinados 2-3, 4-5, 6-8 y 9-12

Los Podemos apoyan la colaboración entre educadores en la creación y el diseño de ambientes de aprendizaje que favorecen el desarrollo del lenguaje de los estudiantes bilingües con el fin de permitirles mostrar lo que saben y lo que pueden hacer.

Para comprar copias a color y ensambladas de los descriptores Podemos, visite la WIDA Store

Can Do Descriptors, Original Edition

This original version does not use the Key Uses as the organizing feature. Instead, it is organized by language domains: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing, and by the following grade level clusters: PreK-K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

students gathered around teacher with tablet

Connect to the Standards

Expectations for multilingual learners along the language development continuum.

woman talking at front of classroom of adults

Looking for In-Person Training?

We offer a Differentiation for Linguistically Diverse Students workshop.