ELD Standards Framework

young students gathered around a globe

Set high expectations and ensure equity of opportunity for multilingual learners

The WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework provides a foundation for curriculum, instruction and assessment for multilingual learners in kindergarten through grade 12. The ELD Standards Framework is centered on equity and fosters the assets, contributions, and potential of multilingual learners. The framework consists of four components, ranging from broad to narrow in scope: WIDA ELD Standards Statements, Key Language Uses, Language Expectations and Proficiency Level Descriptors. These work together to make a comprehensive picture of language development.

graphic of standards framework with the four components nested within each other
The four components of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework


Highlights of the 2020 Edition

  • Four Big Ideas anchor the standards and are interwoven throughout the document:
    • Equity of opportunity and access
    • Integration of content and language
    • Collaboration among stakeholders
    • Functional approach to language development
  • A robust standards framework supports equity and provides a coherent approach to language development
  • Grade-level cluster materials represent the WIDA ELD Standards Framework in action
  • A sample collaborative planning process for content-language integration offers a jump-off point for curricular conversations
  • Six grade-level clusters (K, 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12) and six proficiency levels correspond with those of ACCESS for ELLs Online

Get the 2020 Edition

View and download the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition: Kindergarten-Grade 12

Pre-order a printed copy from the WIDA Store.

cover image of the 2020 edition book with photo of a group of children

Promote Content-Driven Language Learning

The WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, defines the language multilingual learners need as they engage in disciplinary learning. The framework serves as a resource for planning and implementing language curriculum, instruction and assessment for multilingual learners.

Educators can use the framework to

  • Promote and guide systematic, explicit, and sustained language development
  • Support and frame collaboration among educators to plan for content and language integration in culturally and linguistically sustaining ways
  • Monitor multilingual learners’ language growth
  • Provide standards-referenced feedback to students and families

The WIDA ELD Standards Statements

The five Standards Statements provide educators with a connection between language development and academic content area learning.

  • Standard 1 – Language for Social and Instructional Purposes
    English language learners communicate for social and instructional purposes within the school setting.
  • Standard 2 – Language for Language Arts
    English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of language arts.
  • Standard 3 – Language for Mathematics
    English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of mathematics.
  • Standard 4 – Language for Science
    English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of science.
  • Standard 5 – Language for Social Studies
    English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of social studies.

2020 Edition Supporting Resources

Overview and Communication Resources

Foundations of the 2020 Edition

Learning Opportunities for Educators

Focus Bulletins

Collaboration and equity are two of the “Big Ideas” of the 2020 Edition.

Timeline for Rollout

WIDA Consortium members/states: refer to your department of education’s guidelines for rollout and implementation. Each WIDA member/state determines their own timeline.

WIDA International School Consortium members: refer to independently created timelines and rollout plans developed at your school.

Previous Editions

WIDA intends to fully retire the 2012 Amplification of the WIDA English Language Development Standards, Kindergarten-Grade 12. However, we recognize that all member SEAs have different timelines for implementation of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition. With that in mind, the 2012 Amplification will remain in the Resource Library so that educators whose SEAs are still using it may access it as needed. The 2007 and 2004 editions are fully retired.