ELD Standards Framework
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.
Get the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition and supporting materials.
Learn more about the Big Ideas and four components of the framework below.
Four Big Ideas anchor the standards and are interwoven throughout the framework:
- Equity of opportunity and access
- This is essential for multilingual learners' preparation for college, career and civic lives.
- Integration of content and language
- Academic content is the context for language learning, and language is the means for learning academic content.
- Collaboration among stakeholders
- Stakeholders share responsibility for educating multilingual learners.
- Functional approach to language development
- This approach helps educators focus on the purposeful use of language.
These Big Ideas support the design of standards-based educational experiences that are student-centered, culturally and linguistically sustaining, and responsive to multilingual learners' strengths and needs.
To explore more about the Big Ideas, see pages 15-20 of the 2020 Edition.
The framework consists of four components, ranging from broad to narrow in scope:
- WIDA ELD Standards Statements
- Key Language Uses
- Language Expectations
- Proficiency Level Descriptors
These work together to make a comprehensive picture of language development.
The Four Components
ELD Standards Statements
The ELD Standards Statements provide educators with a connection between language development and academic content area learning. Like a string of flags hanging in the classroom, the statements represent the broad and ever-present language of the disciplines.
- 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.
Want to learn more? See pages 24-25 in the 2020 Edition.
Key Language Uses
Four Key Language Uses represent prominent language uses across the disciplines: narrate, inform, explain, and argue. KLUs bring focus and coherence to the language of schooling, helping educators prioritize and organize curricular planning for content and language integration. KLUs represent the most prominent ways students use language as they investigate and explain phenomena, support claims with evidence, and share stories about their experiences.
Want to learn more? See pages 26-27 in the 2020 Edition.
Language Expectations – written for all grade-level clusters – point to common, visible ways students need to use language to meet grade-level academic content standards. They are like language destination points on a map that we want all students to reach. Educators can use them to set curricular priorities in order to support students in expanding what they can do with language.
Want to learn more? See pages 28-30 in the 2020 Edition.
Proficiency Level Descriptors
PLDs describe typical ways multilingual learners might develop across six levels of English proficiency. They help us see how students are growing in their language development as they move toward meeting Language Expectations. However, language development is not a linear process – like garden vines reaching for the sun, students may take various paths to develop language.
Want to learn more? See pages 31-34 in the 2020 Edition.
Putting It All Together: Yes You Can!
The 2020 Edition provides teachers with ways to use these components in combination with resources in their school and community environments, to support multilingual learners’ linguistic growth in and beyond the classroom.