Alternate ACCESS for English Language Learners
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Our mission is to advance theory, knowledge, and practice in the fields of assessment and instructional programs for ELLs with significant disabilities. Our goals include:

Goal 1: To ensure that the English language proficiency (ELP) of ELLs with significant disabilities is assessed in a valid and reliable manner

Objective 1.1: To develop a performance-based alternate ELP assessment that meets the needs of ELL students with significant disabilities

Objective 1.2: To ensure the comparability of the performance-based ELP measure with the evidence-based Alternate ACCESS approach and the existing World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA®) ACCESS for ELLs® ELP measure

Objective 1.3: To continue improving an aligned assessment system for ELLs

Goal 2: To increase knowledge about the ELP of ELLs with significant disabilities

Objective 2.1: To understand the characteristics of ELLs with significant disabilities, determine the number of ELLs with significant disabilities in WIDA states, and examine IEP goals and objectives relating to English language acquisition and use

Objective 2.2: To conduct research on the English language acquisition process of ELLs with significant disabilities

Objective 2.3: To explore the relationship between the English language development and academic achievement of ELLs as indicated in the student's IEP

Goal 3: To disseminate information about this alternate ELP assessment system (including both evidence-collection and performance-based approaches) and the results of related research to as wide an audience as possible

Objective 3.1: To disseminate results of the test development process

Objective 3.2: To disseminate results of research on education and assessment of ELLs with significant disabilities

The project is currently focusing on developing a performance-based alternate ELP assessment measure, to be parallel with the evidence-collection approach, also currently being designed, for ELLs with significant disabilities. These complementary alternate ELP assessment measures will be appropriate for use in all WIDA states after the initial development phase. WIDA states will then be able to use the assessment as a tool to meaningfully assess the ELP levels and growth progress of ELLs with significant disabilities.

Thus, the project will result in significant improvement in several areas, including, but not limited to:

(a) ELP assessment of ELLs with significant disabilities;

(b) increased knowledge of the continua of language acquisition and ELP for ELLs with disabilities;

(c) data collection that can guide State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with information to help evaluate the effectiveness of ESL, Bilingual and Special Education programs;

(d) increased knowledge of the role of standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment in enhancing instruction, language proficiency, and academic achievement of ELLs;

(e) implementation of new, standards-based alternate ELP assessments; and

(f) provision of data and corresponding professional development that enhances the instruction, learning, and IEP development for ELLs with significant disabilities.