No Child Left Behind and WIDA
The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and corresponding state statutes mandate that states annually administer a standards-based English language proficiency test to all English language learners (ELLs) in kindergarten through grade twelve in public schools. Further, State educational agencies (SEAs) are responsible for reporting student English language proficiency levels to the United States Department of Education. In some states, SEAs must report to their respective governors, legislatures, and school districts the results of this English language proficiency test.
Most states currently have policies regarding the assessment of students' English language proficiency and their subsequent placement into ESL or bilingual services as needed and/or available. The WIDA Consortium's ACCESS for ELLs test not only meets, but exceeds, these requirements. The Consortium member states, therefore, have adopted the ACCESS for ELLs as the instrument they use to annually assess ELLs for the purposes of measuring annual gains in English language proficiency--Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs)--and for accountability. The WIDA Consortium has established Performance Definitions and levels from 1 - 6 with level 6 representing a student who has reached parity with his/her English-proficient peers. Most states currently use level 5 with multiple confirmatory measures as criteria for "Exit" from program services, but states are free to set their own AMAOs.
The ACCESS for ELLs test is vertically scaled, tests the four required domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, and reports in a fifth area known as Comprehension which is a composite of Reading and Listening. It is aligned with standards that reflect the classroom language of Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, and Reading. It is also aligned to the language of Social Studies although this is not a requirement of NCLB.
Learn more about No Child Left Behind at the U.S. Department of Education website, ED.gov