FAQs: WIDA Screener

What is WIDA Screener?

WIDA Screener is an English language proficiency assessment given to incoming students in Grades 1–12 to assist educators in identifying students as English language learners (ELLs). The purpose of this assessment is to help educators make decisions about whether a student is a candidate for English language support services.

As a flexible, on-demand language proficiency assessment, WIDA Screener can be administered at any time during the school year, depending on the needs of the district, school, teacher, or student.

WIDA Screener is available as either a paper-based or online assessment. Both WIDA Screener Paper and WIDA Screener Online assess the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

For whom is WIDA Screener intended?

WIDA Screener is intended for educators who need to make decisions about whether a student in Grades 1-12 is a candidate for English language support services. WIDA Screener is designed to be a one-time assessment that helps educators evaluate a student’s English language ability. WIDA Screener should be considered as only one element in the decision-making process of identifying a student as an ELL. Other considerations include student progress reports, test scores, speaking to previous teachers and/or parents, etc.

Please note that WIDA does not currently offer a WIDA Screener assessment for Kindergarten students. Consortium members wishing to assess Kindergarten students for eligibility for ELL services should instead use the WIDA W-APT Kindergarten test form, which will be available for the foreseeable future.

Can non-consortium members use WIDA Screener?

WIDA Screener is only available to WIDA Consortium members at this time. If you are a WIDA consortium member, please contact your SEA for policies regarding the administration of WIDA Screener in your state.

How is WIDA Screener different from other WIDA assessments such as ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and MODEL?

WIDA Screener is intended to be administered as a one-time assessment. Educators should consider the score when they identify and place a student who requires ELL services within a school or district. In contrast, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is an annual assessment used to assess students’ English language abilities and progress across many years. WIDA MODEL is both an identification/placement assessment for newly enrolled ELLs and an interim progress monitoring assessment. Unlike WIDA Screener and ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, MODEL is available for use in schools around the world.

What are the principal differences between WIDA Screener Online and WIDA Screener Paper?

All parts of the WIDA Screener Online are computer-delivered, with the exception of the Writing test for students in Grades 1–3, who handwrite their responses in paper test booklets. To address concerns regarding the keyboarding skills of students at this age group, the writing portion of the online test is presented in paper/pencil format. WIDA Screener Online is scored online by certified raters using WIDA AMS.

All parts of WIDA Screener Paper are administered on paper. During the Listening and Speaking domain test, the Test Administrator plays a CD that provides prompts for students to respond to. WIDA Screener Paper is scored in paper booklets by a certified Test Administrator while the test is being given.

I’m already certified to administer ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. What additional training must I complete to administer WIDA Screener?

If you have completed the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Paper Speaking Scoring modules and quiz, then you are already considered certified to score the WIDA Screener Speaking test. In this case you do not need to also complete the WIDA Screener Speaking Scoring modules and quiz to administer and score the WIDA Screener Speaking test. However, if you will be administering and scoring any other part of WIDA Screener in addition to the Speaking test, you must still complete the appropriate training components in the Training Course.