1. Why is an annual assessment of English Language Proficiency Required?
An annual English Language Proficiency test is required under No Child Left Behind legislation passed in 2001. NCLB indicates that all K-12 English language learners must be assessed annually for English proficiency growth (Title III) and academic progress (Title I). School districts receiving Title III grant resources will be held accountable under theAnnual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) provision of NCLB. In addition, the Illinois Administrative Code, Part228, Section 228.15(e) and 228.25(c) outlines detailed information regarding the English language proficiency required in Illinois.
2. What is ACCESS for ELLs®?
ACCESS for ELLs® is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English language learners' social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. The secure full-scale ACCESS for ELLs® assessment will be distributed at no cost to public schools.
3. What is the difference between ACCESS for ELLs® and the W-APT® screener?
The W-APT® is modeled after the ACCESS for ELLs®, but their purposes differ in important ways. The W-APT is a screening instrument designed to assess English language proficiency primarily to determine eligibility for and placement within an ELL program. The ACCESS for ELLs® is an annual assessment designed to assess student progress in achieving English language proficiency. For more information on how these two tests differ visit: http://www.wida.us/assessment/comparing.aspx.
4. Who needs to take ACCESS for ELLs®?
All public school districts are required to assess annually all identified English Language Learners (ELLs)/Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in grades K-12 using the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment until the students test as English language proficient. This includes all identified students whose parents have refused language support services. All LEP students must be tested until they achieve the state prescribed minimum score to be considered English language proficient.
5. What proficiency level score does a student have to obtain to be considered English language proficient?
As of January 1, 2010, students who obtain an overall composite proficiency level of 4.8 as well as a 4.2 composite literacy (reading/writing) proficiency level on the annually administered state approved English language proficiency test, ACCESS for ELLs®, are to be considered English language proficient.
Districts with additional questions regarding the determination of English language proficiency are encouraged to call the Division of English Language Learning at 312-814-3850.