Test Administration Procedures

Q: Is there a required sequence to administer the domains for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 for grades 1–12?

For ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Online, students must first take the Listening and Reading tests because their performance on those domains determines their placement on the remaining domains (Speaking and Writing). WIDA recommends that students take the Listening test first, followed by the Reading test. Then, students may take Speaking and Writing in either order. 

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Paper can be administered in any order.

Q: What are the grade-specific considerations for the Writing domain for the online test?

To support the needs of young learners, Writing Grades 1–3 is a paper-based test. Students view the prompts and handwrite their responses in a paper test booklet.

All Grades 4–5 students view the writing prompts on the computer. Whether students keyboard or handwrite their response is up to the individual state. Each state is setting guidelines on the default response mode (i.e., whether students keyboard or handwrite their Writing responses in test booklets). This information will be provided on each member state’s page as it becomes available.

All Grades 6–12 students view the writing prompts on the computer. The default response mode is keyboarding.

All Grades 4–12 students have the option of handwriting their responses, if needed.

Q: What is meant by “default response mode” for Writing?

WIDA AMS has two different test session options for the Writing Grades 4–12 test: keyboarded responses or handwritten responses. The default response mode is the setting that is automatically selected when setting up Writing test sessions in WIDA AMS Test Setup. For Grades 4–5, the default response mode is based on each state’s guidelines. For Grades 6–12, the default response mode is keyboarding. Regardless of the default response mode, designated testing staff at the state or local level can change the response mode if needed.

Q: What if students are not comfortable keyboarding their responses?

Students who are not comfortable keyboarding have the option to handwrite their Writing responses in a paper response booklet. Detailed instructions on how to transition a student from Keyboarding to Handwriting in the Writing domain are available within the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Test Administrator Manual. For the online Listening, Reading, and Speaking domains, students only need to click or select their responses on the computer. For students in Grades 1-3, no keyboarding is required, as the Writing domain is entirely paper-based.

Q: How can I change the default if the other response mode is more appropriate for a student?

This change needs to be made in WIDA AMS Test Setup. Please note that Test Setup may not yet be open for your state. It opens in advance of testing and closes at the end of testing. Consult your state page on the WIDA website for information specific to your state.

Q. What if default handwriting needs to change to keyboarding?

In WIDA AMS Test Management, remove the student from his/her handwriting test session (for example, "Writing Gr 45 HW"), and add the student to the appropriate grade-level cluster keyboarding test session (for example, "Writing Gr 45"). The student will keyboard his/her response during the assessment.

The student’s unused writing booklet can be used by another student or returned without a label. In cases where a response was partially attempted prior to switching to keyboarding, apply a Do Not Process label.

Q: What if default keyboarding needs to change to handwriting?

In WIDA AMS Test Management, remove the student from his/her keyboarding test session (for example, Writing Gr 45 KB), and add the student to the appropriate grade cluster handwriting (HW) test session (for example, Writing Gr 45 HW). Once the student has completed the Listening and Reading tests, run the Tier Placement Report in WIDA AMS to determine the appropriate tier for the student. Give the student the correct tiered Writing Response Booklet.

Q: If students taking the online test require Writing test booklets, how do Test Administrators know which Writing test booklets to use?

All students must first complete the Listening and Reading domains for the online test. Upon completion, Test Administrators generate a Tier Placement Report in WIDA AMS that indicates which tiered Writing test booklet to provide to students. Schools will already have these booklets, as outlined in the Ordering and Returning Test Materials FAQ section of this webpage.

Q: Can students repeat the Speaking prompts on the online Speaking test?

Speaking prompts are not repeatable. However, students can reread the question on the screen before recording their response. The student also listen to a model response as an example. Since WIDA encourages students to provide original answers, the model response is not shown on the screen.

Note that if students have an IEP accommodation that allows play/repeat of audio, they have the opportunity to listen to the speaking prompts an additional time.

Q: How should educators prepare students for the Online Speaking test?

WIDA recognizes that students may be unfamiliar with responding and recording their speech into a microphone. Therefore, the online test has a video Test Demo and an interactive Test Practice for students to review prior to the operational test administration. During the Test Practice, students can try out the headset with microphone and record a spoken response into it. The Speaking test also includes a headset microphone check and practice items at the beginning of the test.

Q: Can students record their Speaking responses for the online test more than once?

Students cannot record their responses more than once unless the student’s recording was not captured and an error message indicates that the response wasn’t the correct volume to be captured by the microphone. Test Administrators should thus encourage students to think about their answers before recording. Test Administrators should also encourage students to practice the Speaking test using a headset.

Q: What happens if the online test session is interrupted (e.g., if there is a fire drill during the Speaking test or if a student gets sick)?

If a test session is interrupted, Test Administrators should follow the procedures outlined in the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Test Administrator Manual for an interrupted session. Students need to exit the test session. If the situation is resolved on the same day, the student will be able to log back in using the same test ticket and resume the test at the item where he or she left off.

Q: Can a student go back to a previous question on the online test?

Students cannot go back to previous questions for Listening, Reading, and Speaking, in accordance with the test design. Students and Test Administrators can go back to a previous screen for the Writing test to check the students’ work.

Q: If students enroll in a school after the tickets have been assigned, how can they obtain a test ticket for the online test?

The WIDA Assessment Management System (WIDA AMS) allows designated staff to add new students at any time, including up to the day of testing. Designated staff can log into the WIDA AMS and add the student by typing in the student’s information. More detailed information about this process is detailed in the WIDA AMS User Guide.

Q: What happens if a student moves to a new district or school?

Please refer to page 28 of the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Test Administrator Manual for detailed information on student transfer situations.

Q: What process should be used if a student is unable to complete the online Listening or Reading test (such as a deaf student who is unable to take the Listening domain), but wishes to complete the remainder of the test online?

Please consult with the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Accessibility and Accommodations Supplement for more information on domain completion. Please also refer to your state’s policy regarding student testing and domain mode.

Q: How many times can a student hear a prompt in the Listening Domain?

Students without an audio repeat accommodation hear each Listening item one time to reflect real world academic language use and standardize administration.
If a student has an audio repeat accommodation, they can repeat the audio for each Listening item one additional time after the initial audio prompt plays.