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Published: 8/17/2020 12:22 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 ACCESS Placement Test (K W-APT), 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). 



This is an English language assessment tied to the state’s language proficiency standards with varying stages of second language acquisition. It contains social and academic language contexts. For Title I accountability, ACCESS for ELLs measures annual gains in English language proficiency.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLS®

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® is an individually administered paper and pencil test. It is available in four grade level clusters: Grades 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There is not a Kindergarten form. 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).

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs® 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 has to 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 in an alternate curriculum aligned with their state's academic standards and is participating in the state's alternate accountability assessment


Kindergarten WIDA ACCESS Placement Test (K W-APT) and WIDA Online Screener (Grades 1-12)

K W-APT and WIDA Online Screener are based upon the ACCESS for ELLs. Its purposes are for the following:

  1. To identify students who may be candidates for English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or bilingual services.
  2. To determine the academic English language proficiency levels of students new to a school or to the U.S school system in order to determine appropriate levels and amount of instructional services.
  3. To accurately assign students identified as ELLs to one of the tiers for ACCESS for ELLs.

The K-W-APT 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.

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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