Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs)

This test is administered to English learners in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota’s standards for English language development. This assessment measures students' social and academic language related to listening, speaking, reading and writing in kindergarten through grade 12. The ACCESS for ELLs has been given in Minnesota since 2012 but has been given for a number of years in many other states. The ACCESS test is based on academic standards aligned to:
  • Social and Instructional Language
  • Language ofLanguage Arts
  • Language of Mathematics
  • Language of Science
  • Language of Social Studies

Teachers are able to use ACCESS results to monitor student progress and growth in English language acquisition. Students that demonstrate language proficiency as measured by this assessment are exited from the program and parents/guardians are notified.

The individual student report for parents/guardians is sent home which provides information about four domains; listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as an overall score combining the four domains and a comprehension score combining listening and reading. A scale score is calculated and associated with a language proficiency level between 1 and 6. The parent/guardian report also includes a description of what each proficiency level measures.

Tests are divided into grade-level clusters:

 Grade bands for Online testing     Grade bands for Paper testing
 Grade 1        Grade 1
 Grade 2-3  Grade 2
 Grade 4-5  Grade 3
 Grade 6-8  Grade 4-5
 Grade 9-12  Grade 6-8
   Grade 9-12

Within each grade-level cluster (except Kindergarten), ACCESS for ELLs consists of three forms: Tier A (beginning), Tier B (intermediate), and Tier C (advanced). This keeps the test shorter and more appropriately targets each students' range of language skills. English learners who received special education services and meet the participation guidelines are given the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. 

 Additional information about the ACCESS for ELL assessment can be found on WiDA website.