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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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 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.