Curriculum Update for February 26, 2014

posted Mar 5, 2014, 5:36 AM by   [ updated Mar 5, 2014, 5:39 AM ]

WIDA ACCESS Just As Critical as NECAP, SAT - What You Need to Know

English Learners (EL) take a yearly test equivalent to the NECAP called the ACCESS for ELLs test (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners).  It is developed by the Center of Applied Linguistics, EL and content teachers, and World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA). The test is standards-based, just like the NECAP, and it is meant to be a formative assessment for students to demonstrate progress in English language acquisition.

Students are tested from grades 1 to 12 in a tiered fashion, with Tier A for beginners, Tier B for intermediate students, and Tier C for advanced students. There are four parts to this test: speaking, listening, reading, writing. The speaking portion must be administered individually to each student, a time-consuming but critically important aspect of the assessment, and is accompanied by a rigorous set of guidelines and rubric. The listening, reading, and writing portions can be administered in groups of 22 or less.

According to WIDA, the listening and reading portions can be scheduled together in one 75-minute session or scheduled separately; and the writing portion should be scheduled in a 75-minute session.   While reading, listening, and writing can be scheduled for different days, each portion cannot be divided on that particular day in order to maintain the validity of this standardized test.

There is also a kindergarten test which must be administered individually.  It, too, is comprised of speaking, listening, reading, and writing portions.  Kindergartners are tested for fiction and nonfiction vocabulary.

Access does not affect AYP since the state of New Hampshire filed for a waiver. However, there is state adequacy and there is federal accountability. For state adequacy, the performance based system uses the overall composite score to determine if a student who is eligible for EL services uses their ACCESS score or their NECAP score for determination. If a student scores an overall composite of 4.0 or better, their next NECAP score will be used. If it is less than a 4.0, the ACCESS score is used. The reason is that it has been determined that the 4.0 is a good predictor that the student is actually being assessed on content for the NECAP instead of lack of language understanding.

ACCESS is also used as part of the Title III reporting. Title III looks at a the number of students proficient on the ACCESS which is a 5.0 and a 4.0 on all subtests, and Title III looks at students who were not proficient the previous year and their growth on the ACCESS.

Manchester Academic Standards Moving Along Nicely

The first draft of the standards are now on the Curriculum website: Please feel free to leaf through them and offer feedback. The vertical discussion is our next step and will be taking place later this month. The drafts are available to the public and we have contacted outside education professional and leaders to help us with their feedback as well.

URead of the Week

“Evidence suggests that schools can improve student learning by encouraging teachers and students to set their sights high.”  Lumsden, Linda (1997). Expectations for Students ERIC Digest, (116), pp 1-5.

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