• WIDA/Common Core Alignment Study PDF
  • WIDA ELP Standards-ACCESS for ELLs Alignment
    Report PDF


The notion that student outcomes will be improved through coherent systems of expectations and assessments is central to standards-based reforms (Webb, 1997). Alignment provides the connection between what is expected and what is assessed.  The goal of WIDA's alignment research is twofold:

1. To analyze the relationship between English language proficiency (ELP) standards and ELP tests; and

2. To analyze the relationship between ELP standards and academic content standards.

WIDA's alignment approach is based on Dr. Gary Cook's 2006 adaptation of Dr. Norman Webb's alignment methodology. It has been used to conduct ELP alignment and correspondence studies in over fifteen states. As with the Webb methodology, Cook's approach expands the concept of alignment by addressing not only content match between tests and standards but also the extent to which tests (and aligned standards) reflect the linguistic/cognitive complexity and breadth of a set of standards. Three criteria are considered in a Cook alignment study:

  • Match—how well an ELP test matches ELP standards or how well ELP standards match content standards
  • Depth—the degree to which an ELP test reflects the linguistic difficulty of ELP standards or the degree to which ELP standards reflect the cognitive complexity of content standards
  • Breadth—how well an ELP test covers the range and balance of ELP standards or how well ELP standards cover the range and balance of content standards

The studies are conducted using the online Web Alignment Tool (WAT). The tool is available for public use and may be accessed at: Web Alignment Tool (WAT)

ELP Standards to ELP Test Alignment

An example of this type of alignment study is available in the WIDA ELP Standards-ACCESS for ELLs Alignment Report.

ELP Standards to State Academic Content Standards Alignment

The states of Kentucky and South Dakota have generously granted permission to share their alignment study reports as examples.

The WIDA ELP Standards/Common Core Academic Content Standards study was conducted by the University of Oklahoma Department of Educational Training, Evaluation, Assessment, and Measurement (E-Team).

For more information about alignment studies and research, please contact the Client Services Center.