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ACCESS for ELLs Accommodations and Supports

Support Documentation

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Information on Accommodations and Supports for ACCESS for ELLs is available on the WIDA website. These materials will also be included in the test administration materials sent to schools.

Materials for IEP teams including checklists and decision guides are also available at the link above.

Alternate ACCESS for ELLs 


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Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is designed for ELs with significant cognitive disabilities. By definition, these are ELs who receive instruction aligned to the state’s Alternate Achievement Standards, the Essential Elements, and take or will take the DLM assessment. A student is administered either the ACCESS for ELLs or the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs, not both.

The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is an assessment of English language proficiency in the four language domains of reading, writing, speaking, and listening for students in grades K – 12, that can be administered by licensed educators with either ESL or special education certifications. Based on the Alternate Model Performance Indicators (AMPIs), the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs measures social and instructional language, and aligns with the WIDA Alternate English Language Proficiency levels.

IEP 1-­7 ACCESS for ELLs Participation in Statewide Language Assessment, Checklist and Accommodations (worksheet) may be used to help IEP teams determine the appropriate language assessment and accommodations for ELs with significant cognitive disabilities. Testing guidance and score interpretation materials are available.


Alternate ACCESS for ELLs will be shipped for students who took it the prior year. Order any other necessary tests during the Additional Materials window, which opens the day the district materials arrive.

Choosing Appropriate Accommodations

The accommodations that a student received on a content exam may not be appropriate for ACCESS for ELLs, as it is designed to measure different skills and abilities. Please refer to WIDA’s ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Accommodations Guidelines for detailed guidance in choosing appropriate accommodations.

Request for Domain Exemption

ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs allow a large variety of supports and accommodations to help ELs equitably access the tests. However, in rare cases ELs with certain disabilities may be unable to access one or more domains, even with accommodations. When an EL is precluded from accessing a domain due to a disability, districts may request an exemption from that domain. If the exemption is approved, DPI will generate an Overall Composite Score for the student which accounts for the missing domain score(s).

The decision to request a domain exemption must be made by the student’s IEP/504 team, and be documented on the I-7 ACCESS for ELLs/Alt-ACCESS for ELLs form. Please see the Guide to Special Education Forms for additional information.

To request a domain exemption from DPI, please complete the Request to Waive Domain form.

DPI will assess the request, and respond within one week. Requests should be made at least one week prior to the administration of the assessment to ensure that appropriate steps are completed in a timely fashion.

Online Test Management

If the Reading or Listening domain is to be waived, the impacted domain will need to be force-closed using the End Incomplete Test function in the WIDA AMS in the Manage Students Section. After both domains are completed, a request to DRC will need to be made by DPI to manually set the Speaking and Writing Tier. If requesting a waiver for either of these domains, please determine whether the student should be given Tier A or Tier B/C.

If the Speaking or Writing domain is to be waived, that domain will need to be force-closed using the End Incomplete Test function in the WIDA AMS. A separate request by DPI will not need to be made to adjust any Tiers.

Choosing the Correct Test

The flowchart below will help you determine which test is most appropriate for a student. 

graphic about ACCESS for ELLs test type decisions