Each January, students who are classified as learning English by the State of Illinois participate in the ACCESS for ELLs assessment. This computer-based assessment, which Maine 207 students take on their Chromebooks, is created and managed by WIDA and has been adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion-referenced English-language proficiency test. Students participate in tests that cover the four domains of language: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Additionally, the assessment covers students’ abilities to use both social and highly complex academic language in each of the four domains.
The results of ACCESS are used by staff members as another data point to monitor the growth of individual students who are learning English as readers, writers, listeners, and speakers. ACCESS results are typically received at the end of the school year, and they are shared with parents thereafter. Additionally, once students have achieved specific proficiency levels on ACCESS as defined by ISBE, they are exited from Bilingual and ESL programs. Additionally, successful performance on ACCESS can serve as one component toward achieving the Seal of Biliteracy for students, demonstrating their ability to read, write, listen, and speak fluently and with high levels of literacy in at least two languages.