Alternate ACCESS for English Language Learners


For current information about WIDA's Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ assessment please visit the WIDA website.

This website contains historical information about the Alternate Assessment for ELLs project (2008-2011).

The goal of the Alternate Assessment for ELLs project was to design a valid, reliable, and equitable way to assess the English language proficiency (ELP) of English language learners (ELLs) with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Alternate ACCESS was designed to:

(a) facilitate the involvement of ELLs in participating states' accountability systems by providing a method for monitoring the ELP growth of ELLs with significant disabilities**

(b) provide guidance to individualized education program (IEP) teams with developing appropriate ELP IEP goals and objectives.

(c) meet the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004,

(d) meet the technical requirements of the Standards for Educational Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), & National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME; 1999),

The project Development of the Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessment Procedures for English Language Learners with Significant Disabilities was partially supported by a United States Department of Education Enhanced Assessment Instruments Grant (CFDA No. 84.368A). The grant was awarded to the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education and subcontracted to the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


** Significant (cognitive) disability means: A disability that is typically a cognitive disability, a low-incidence disability, or part of multiple disabilities, that precludes the student from great chances of success on the regular ACCESS for ELLs ® due to the nature of the items, methods of administering the items, and structure of the scoring process for a composite score.

The contents of this website were partially developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.