The WIDA MODEL (Measure of Developing English Language) is a series of English language proficiency assessments for Kindergarten through Grade 12. MODEL can be used by educators as an identification/placement assessment for newly enrolled ELLs or as an interim progress monitoring assessment.

Unlike ACCESS for ELLs and the W-APT, MODEL is available for use in schools around the world.


MODEL test items are written from the model performance indicators of WIDA's five English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards:

  • Social & Instructional Language
  • Language of Language Arts
  • Language of Mathematics
  • Language of Science
  • Language of Social Studies

Test forms are divided into five grade level clusters:

  • Kindergarten
  • Grades 1–2
  • Grades 3–5
  • Grades 6–8
  • Grades 9–12

Each form of the test assesses the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
MODEL is an adaptive test allowing flexible placement within sections of the test based on student performance.

For more information on how to order WIDA MODEL, please visit the WIDA store.


Purpose and Use

As a flexible, on-demand language proficiency assessment, this test can be administered at any time during the school year, depending on the needs of the district, school, teacher, or student. MODEL can be used for these purposes:

  • To identify students who may be candidates for English as a Second Language (ESL)/bilingual services;
  • To determine the academic English language proficiency level of students new to a school or to the U.S. school system;
  • To place students into the necessary amount and type of instructional services and support; and
  • To serve as an interim assessment during the school year, providing information that informs instructional planning and other decisions related to students' education.

In WIDA Consortium member states, the WIDA MODEL may serve two additional purposes:

  • To determine tier placement on ACCESS for ELLs, the annual language proficiency assessment used for accountability purposes.
  • To guide instructional and curricular decisions while waiting for ACCESS for ELLs score reports.

Please note that MODEL is not designed to satisfy the U.S. federal legal requirements for annual assessment and accountability and should not be the only measure used in exiting students from language support services.

Sample Items

Sample items specific to the MODEL assessment are currently not available. Item specifications for the MODEL test are very similar to ACCESS for ELLs, therefore, to get a better understanding of how WIDA assessments relate to its English Language Proficiency Standards and for a better idea of what items may look like, we invite you to review the ACCESS for ELLs sample items PDF.

Test Development

The MODEL assessment was first introduced in 2008 with the release of the Kindergarten assessment. Grades 1-2 and 3-5 were released in fall of 2010. Finally, in fall of 2011, grades 6-8 and 9-12 were released to complete the series. The series of assessments was developed in partnership with the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and as a collaborative effort of consortium member states. Each item or performance-based task on MODEL was carefully developed and reviewed to ensure that it allows students to demonstrate meeting the targeted model performance indicator at the targeted performance level from the standards. Items were reviewed for content and bias, then field tested to ensure that the test works as intended, to examine data and the test's psychometric properties, and to link performances on MODEL to performances on ACCESS for ELLs.

Training Materials

The Test Administration Manual, Training CD-ROM, and DVD are provided in all kits to aid educators in the administration of WIDA MODEL. The Test Administration Manual contains all the information needed to administer and score the test. The CD-ROM includes PowerPoint presentations about administering and scoring the test which may be used by local trainers to train other test administrators on MODEL. The DVD provides test administration training guidance as well as footage of administering the tests to students.


The approximate administration times for each section of the test are as follows:

Test Section

Approximate Administration Time

Speaking Up to 15 minutes
Listening Step 1 and Listening Step 2 Up to 30 minutes
Writing Part A 1 minute
Writing Part B Up to 25 minutes
Reading Step 1 and Reading Step 2

Low: up to 20 minutes
Mid: up to 25 minutes

High: up to 25 minutes

Professional Development

More formal training opportunities are available through WIDA's professional development workshops.

Scores and Proficiency Levels

WIDA MODEL yields valid and reliable results that are provided as scale scores and English language proficiency levels.

Scores are reported for each of the four language domains and in several composites as follows:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Oral Language (50% Listening, 50 % Speaking)
  • Literacy (50% Reading, 50% Writing)
  • Overall (30% Oral Language, 70% Literacy)

The proficiency levels (1-6) resulting from the WIDA MODEL are directly related to the WIDA ELP Standards. Another useful resource for teachers is WIDA's grade-level cluster CAN DO Descriptors. This publication provides examples of what ELLs can be expected to do in each of the four domains at each of the five proficiency levels defined in the WIDA ELP Standards. To interpret students' results on MODEL, refer to the WIDA ELP Standards and/or CAN DO Descriptors.

Scoring Tools

The WIDA MODEL Score Calculator is a tool to save test administrators the time and trouble of following every step on the scoresheet to calculate or look up proficiency level (PL) and scale scores. With the click of a button, it calculates Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening, and composite proficiency scores.

The MODEL Score Tracker spreadsheet, available on the Training Toolkit CD-ROM in each kit, is an optional tool to help educators locally store and track MODEL results for each student. As scores are collected for each student over a period of time, it allows educators to plot students' progress on a chart. The Training Toolkit CD-ROM also includes user instructions for this spreadsheet and an example completed spreadsheet.

Technical Report

The MODEL Technical Reports address the validity and reliability of the assessment in its ability to accurately assign students their proficiency level scores. The Technical Reports are available in the Downloads & Products Menu.


WIDA MODEL is available to administer online! We have digitized the existing paper-based WIDA MODEL test forms to now include an online test platform for students to take the test. There is also an online administrator interface for managing student data, test sessions, scoring, and reporting. The updates to the assessment are meant to ease administration tasks, allow for larger group administrations of Listening, Writing, and Reading tests, and eliminate the need for printed materials. Please note that the test items are the same as paper-based WIDA MODEL for Grades 6-12. Some new test content has been introduced for Grades 1-5. K MODEL remains a paper based test.

You can find more information about WIDA MODEL Online at the WIDA Store.