Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs

About Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs

Like ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is a secure, large–scale English language proficiency assessment given to kindergarteners who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA  member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is only available to member states.

Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing

It is aligned with WIDA's five English Language Development (ELD) standards and associated Model Performance Indicators:

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

Educators are encouraged to refer to the standards, model performance indicators (MPIs) and to the Can Do descriptors describing what kindergarten students at different levels of English language proficiency can typically be expected to do in English.

Purpose and Use of Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs

  • Helps students and families understand students' current level of English language proficiency along the developmental continuum.
  • Serves as one of multiple measures used to determine whether students are prepared to exit English language support programs.
  • Generates information that assists in determining whether ELLs have attained the language proficiency needed to participate meaningfully in content area classrooms without program support.
  • Provides teachers with information they can subsequently use to enhance instruction and learning in programs for their English language learners.
  • Provides districts with information that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of their ESL/bilingual programs.
  • Meets, and exceeds, federal requirements for the monitoring and reporting of ELLs' progress toward English language proficiency.

Similarities and Differences between Kindergarten and Grades 1–12

Much of the preparation and set–up for Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is the same as grades 1–12. For this reason, some of the preparation materials on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 page and in its the training course may also be useful for educators working with the kindergarten assessment.

The differences stem from WIDA's research into what is accessible and developmentally appropriate for kindergarten learners. The table below goes over some of the main similarities and differences between the assessments for kindergarten and grades 1–12.

Similarities Differences
Same tested domains as Online and Paper-based Grades 1-12 (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) All domains of Kindergarten ACCESS are always paper-based, individually administered, and scored locally
Same key dates/state windows apply to Kindergarten and grades 1–12 Kindergarten is not split into difficulty tiers; all students take the same test
Same ordering process as paper-based grades 1–12 For Kindergarten, Speaking and Listening are presented together, alternating between a listening task and a speaking task
Same types of scores and score reports On all sections of Kindergarten, items are presented until the student reaches his/her performance "ceiling"

Preparation & Training

While preparing to administer Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs, please consult with test coordinators in your local context to ensure you are meeting specific state, district, and school requirements

Preparation and training materials provided by WIDA fall into two categories:

  • Learning the logistics of ordering and managing test materials
  • Learning how to administer the test itself, including how to score the Speaking and Writing tasks

The Test Administrator Manual (TAM) provides detailed information related to Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs.


Please review and follow all state and local testing and security policies related to test administration.

Test Materials: Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is ordered along with ACCESS for ELLs test materials from DRC. Please see the training course for ACCESS for ELs 2.0 (Paper–Based) for more information concerning ordering and managing test materials.

Test Scheduling: Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is individually administered. It takes approximately 45 minutes per student.

  • WIDA recommends that Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs be administered during one session. If test administration has to be divided into two sessions, the break must occur between the administration of the narrative and expository sections and the break should last no more than two consecutive school days.
  • Please see the Test Administrator Manual and/or the District and School Test Coordinator Manual for additional details on scheduling the test.


Test administration training and certification is crucial for successful administration of Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs. Both are available through the WIDA Secure Portal.

Kindergarten Training Course Certification Quiz

Kindergarten Portal Badge

My Training Quiz History

Some states may require:

  • Online and/or face–to–face training to become a test administrator (TA) for the first time.
  • Annual training updates for certified TAs.

Please view your state's page to review any requirements that may apply to you.

WIDA requires test administrators to complete the Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs Test Administration Quiz before administering the test.

The quiz requires a personal account. Only educators in member states can create accounts to take the training.

It is the state or district's responsibility to monitor whether test administrators have passed the quiz and are prepared to administer the assessment.

Please keep in mind:

  • For Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs, the Test Administrator scores the Speaking and Writing tests, so that part of the training is particularly important
  • Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs is designed so from the student perspective, it seems more interactive than a traditional test. One result is that there are many pieces to the test for administrators to manage, such as a game board, cards, the Test Administrator's Script, and of course the student. The more practice and comfort with the materials test administrators have, the more smoothly administration is likely to go
  • You can find specific instructions on how to administer each section of the test in the Test Administrator Manual (Key Resources box above) and in the Test Administrator's Script, which you will receive along with other materials ordered through WIDA AMS

Please review and follow all state and local testing and security policies related to test administration.

Accessibility and Accommodations

WIDA encourages the participation of all English language learners in Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs.

Standard features built in to Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs allow most students to be able to access the assessment without the need for accommodations. For example, grouping of questions by theme, graphic supports, and individual administration allow a broad range of students to use the standard version of test items without the need to add on accommodations.

Testing accommodations may be appropriate for some students with disabilities. For more information, please see the Accessibility and Accommodations page.

Scores & Reports

Kindergarten ACCESS for ELLs scores can be used to:

  • Establish a baseline in order to monitor future progress
  • Establish when ELLs have attained English language proficiency according to state criteria
  • Inform classroom instruction and assessment
  • Aid in programmatic decision-making

Types of Score Reports

Individual Student Report:

  • Matches the format of grades 1–12
  • Scores for each language domain (Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing)
  • Composite scores (combining one or more domain scores, such as Listening and Speaking scores to calculate Oral Language)
  • Brief descriptions of what students at each proficiency level are typically able to do
  • Translations of these reports are available for printing from WIDA AMS

Student Roster Report:

  • Domain and composite scores for all the students in a single school and grade

School/District Frequency Report:

  • The number and percent of students tested at a school or district who attained each proficiency level at each grade level.


Data Validation

Data validation is the process of reviewing student test records to identify errors and make corrections before production of score reports. Each state has unique policies related to data validation. Refer to your state’s ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 checklist to view your state’s guidance.


Accessing Score Reports

Testing sites receive Individual Student Reports, Student Roster Reports, and School Frequency Reports from DRC. These reports are also available for download in WIDA AMS. Each member state determines when score reports will become available. To view key dates for your state, please visit your state’s page on the WIDA website.