Published: 12/15/2023 1:35 PM

​​​​​​​​To meet Title III requirements, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are mandated to identify and annually administer a standards-based English language proficiency test to all English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12. 

In order to comply with the requirement of an annual English Language Proficiency Assessment for ELLs, Kentucky joined the World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium in 2006. The WIDA Consortium’s goal is to provide research based assessments, standards and professional development to its member states. 

WIDA provides Kentucky with a placement test called the Kindergarten WIDA Screener for Kindergarten, WIDA Online Screener (Grades 1-12), as well as the annual English Proficiency Assessment of ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State) for ELLs (online assessment). 


ACCESS for ELLs (ACCESS) is the collective name for WIDA's suite of summative English language proficiency assessments. ACCESS is taken annually by English learners in kindergarten through grade 12. WIDA provides this flexible suite of tests.​ ACCESS for ELLs is administered to Kindergarten through Grade 12 students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). ACCESS for ELLs is given annually to monitor students' progress in learning academic English. ACCESS for ELLs meets U.S. federal requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for monitoring and reporting ELLs’ progress toward English language proficiency. ACCESS for ELLs is anchored in the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) standards and assesses the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.


WIDA Alternate ACCESS is an individually administered paper and pencil test. It is available in four grade level clusters: Grades K,1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. ​The test allows students to demonstrate their English language proficiency in all four language domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and in four of the five ELP standards (social and instructional language, and the language of language arts, mathematics and science).

WIDA Alternate ACCESS is designed for ELLs with significant cognitive disabilities. A student with significant cognitive disabilities is identified as having one or more of the existing categories of disabilities under IDEA (e.g., intellectual disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury, multiple disabilities, etc); and their cognitive impairments may prevent them from attaining grade level achievement standards, even with the best instruction. (adapted from U.S. Department of Education: Alternate Achievement Standards of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Non Regulatory Guidance, August 2005).

In order to receive meaningful information from the test, it is very important that only students who meet all 3 criteria below participate in the assessment. Other ELs should continue to take the existing ACCESS for ELLs® assessment, with appropriate accommodations as necessary. Participation must be decided by the student's IEP team.

Participation Criteria:

  • The student has been classified as EL.
  • The student has a significant cognitive disability and is eligible for special education services under IDEA. 
  • The student is or will be in an alternate curriculum aligned with their state's academic standards and will be or is participating in the state's alternate accountability assessment.

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten and WIDA Online Screener (Grades 1-12)

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten is an individually administered paper-and-pencil test that helps educators identify students as English Learners (ELs). It is typically given to students one time when they enter your school or district as they start Kindergarten or first-semester Grade 1. Kindergarten ELs and first-semester Grade 1 only take the listening and speaking domains.​

The WIDA Screener for Kindergarten test forms and administration manuals are located on the WIDA website. Districts must enter their ACCESS username and password to view and print the files.

WIDA Online Screener in second-semester Grade 1-Grade 12 students  complete four domain tests (Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing). Test scores are used to assist educators in identifying students as EL; the purpose of this assessment is to help educators make decisions about whether a student is a candidate for English language support services. WIDA Screener is not intended for use as a summative or diagnostic assessment.

ACCESS for ELLs Testing Window

ACCESS Testing Window: Jan. 4- Feb. 16, 2024


Kentucky's WIDA Page

WIDA Website


English Language Development Standards (ELD)



WIDA Screener

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten

Accessibility and Accommodations



WIDA Screener Training/Webinar
  • WIDA Screener for Kindergarten
  • WIDA Online Screener

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten

Resources for WIDA Screener for Kindergarten are available for districts on the WIDA website. All kindergarten test administrators will need to watch the recording to the WIDA Screener for Kindergarten webinar in the WIDA Secure Portal and check out this WIDA news article featuring a compilation of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the accompanying answers from the webinar prior to administering the new screener.

ACCESS for ELLs Trainings:​

Chris Williams
Office of Assessment and Accountability
Division of Assessment and Accountability Support
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4394 Ext. 4750
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