WIDA Standards – Definition, Standards & More

The WIDA Standards (formerly World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) is an educational consortium of state departments of education. Currently, 37 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, participate in the WIDA Consortium. WIDA designs and implements proficiency standards and assessments for grade K-12 students who are English-language learners, as well as a set of proficiency standards and assessments for Spanish language learners. WIDA also provides professional development to educators and conducts research on instructional practices, as well as the results and use of the ACCESS and W-APT English language proficiency assessments.

WIDA was established in 2003 with a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the purpose of creating English language proficiency standards and assessments. The purpose of such Enhanced Assessment Grants is to support State activities designed to improve the quality, validity, and reliability of state academic assessments beyond the requirements for such assessments described in section 111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The consortium originally began with Wisconsin, Delaware, and Arkansas, which were the sources of the acronym WIDA, although Arkansas dropped out.

WIDA Standards

In an effort to provide quality education to English language learning students, the World-Class Instructional Design & Assessment (WIDA) consortium has developed 5 English Language Development (ELD) Standards to help students understand English in both a social and academic context. Most recently updated in 2012, these standards focus on general and specific language areas and are organized by domain, grade cluster, and framework. The first WIDA standard (Social & Instructional Language) focuses on building communication skills required for basic social and instructional interactions in an English-speaking classroom.

WIDA Standards

WIDA Standards

After learning the most fundamental components of the English language, students will next be expected to use these skills to acquire knowledge in various subject areas. Standards 1-5 cover the following

Standard 1: English language learners communicate for SOCIAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL purposes within the school setting.
Standard 2: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of LANGUAGE ARTS.
Standard 3: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of MATHEMATICS.
Standard 4: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SCIENCE.
Standard 5: English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SOCIAL STUDIES.
Standards 1-5 focus on the language of instruction as it pertains to specific content and subjects. This can include vocabulary, speaking conventions, structures, and a more formal register.

Language Domains

To better ensure the quality of education and measure a student’s academic progress, WIDA standards are broken down into four language domains, each of which focuses on a certain facet of the English language. Each of these domains includes skills specific to that particular branch of language:

  • Reading: For this category, students are expected to use their language skills to interpret and understand written text.
  • Writing: ELL students must use their language skills to express their thoughts and opinions through written communication. This domain is highly varied and requires students to write for a number of different situations and audiences.
  • Speaking: Perhaps the most important domain, this component focuses on a student’s ability to communicate verbally.
  • Listening: Similar to the Reading domain, this skill area focuses on the use of passive skills as students hear, process, and interpret spoken words and commands.

WIDA ELD Standards

These ELD standards were developed in 2004 by a consortium of states called WIDA (World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment). In September 2011, WIDA released revised ELD standards for 2012 which include “cognitive function” (Bloom’s revised taxonomy).  They outline the progression of English language development in the four domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing through five levels from novice to proficient.

WIDA ELD Standards

WIDA ELD Standards

Performance Definitions

The Performance Definitions for Listening and Reading and Speaking and Writing provide an incremental overview of the language acquisition process from Level 1 Entering through Level 5 Bridging. These incorporate five language standards in each of the four domains (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing)
  • Social and Instructional language
  • The language of Language Arts
  • The language of Mathematics
  • The language of Science
  • The language of Social Studies

Features of Academic Language

The WIDA standards chart these Features of Academic Language by proficiency level
  • vocabulary usage
  • language forms and conventions
  • linguistic complexity

Wida ELP Standards

WIDA’s English Language Proficiency Standards for English Language Learners in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12: Frameworks for Formative and Summative Assessment and Instruction, 2007 edition, is a key component of the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium’s assessment system. WIDA’s vision of language proficiency encompasses both social and academic contexts tied to schooling, particularly to standards, curriculum, and instruction. By developing this English language proficiency (ELP) standards, first published in 2004, the WIDA Consortium has responded to this emergent vision to link language learning with academic content.

WIDA ELP Standards

WIDA ELP Standards

Furthermore, these ELP standards guide the development of test blueprints, task specifications, and ELP measures, primarily WIDA’s ACCESS for ELLs test. Originally developed by consortium members with funding from a U.S. Department of Education Enhanced Assessment Grant, the standards are designed for the many audiences in the field of education who are impacted by English language learners (ELLs). This second edition reflects an evolving understanding of the needs of ELLs and their educators in the use of the ELP standards as an instructional and assessment tool.

WIDA Standards Chart

In September 2011, WIDA released revised ELD standards for 2012 which include “cognitive function” (Bloom’s revised taxonomy). They outline the progression of English language development in the four domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing through five levels from novice to proficient.

wida standards chart

wida standards chart

What are Wida standards?

WIDA standards are designed to help measure the academic progress of English language learners. Keep reading for more information on these standards and how they are used in the classroom.

What are the five Wida ELD proficiency levels?

In September 2011, WIDA released revised ELD standards for 2012 which include “cognitive function” (Bloom’s revised taxonomy). They outline the progression of English language development in the four domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing through five levels from novice to proficient.

How many Wida ELD standards are there?

There are five WIDA ELP Standards, which appear in two frameworks: Summative (the outcomes of learning) and Formative (the processes of learning).

What are the 4 language domains?

As you can see in these examples, academic language is used in all four domains of language (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), and all four domains are needed to achieve the above tasks.

What is the purpose of Wida?

WIDA Consortium. The WIDA Consortium (formerly World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) is an educational consortium of state departments of education. The W-APT (WIDA ACCESS Placement Test) is most often used as a screening test to determine the language level of students entering a school system.

What does the Wida test measure?

WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten is an academic English language proficiency assessment. As a flexible, on-demand language proficiency assessment, this test can be administered at any time during the school year, depending on the needs of the district, school, teacher or student.

What does Wida mean?

WIDA is the acronym for “World-class Instructional Design and Assessment.” What IS WIDA? WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners.

What are the five areas in which ELLs are tested?

ACCESS for ELLs is used to determine the English language proficiency levels and progress of ELs in the domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. ACCESS for ELLs serves five main purposes.

What do Wida scores mean?

WIDA Screener is an English language proficiency assessment given to incoming students in Grades 1–12 and is available in either an Online or Paper version. Test scores are used to assist educators in identifying students as English language learners (ELLs).

What are the ELD standards?

The CA ELD Standards PLMs also provide guidance on using the CA ELD Standards in tandem with the California State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (ELA/Literacy), and other content standards.