You are here


About the Data

Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs®), a comprehensive and standards-driven system designed to improve the teaching and learning of English language learners (ELLs) for K–12 students.

One purpose of ACCESS for ELLs® is to monitor student progress in English Language Proficiency (ELP) on a yearly basis and to serve as a criterion to aid in determining when ELLs have attained language proficiency. Another purpose is to meet the requirements of the NCLB accountability.  The test is carefully crafted to be representative of the social and academic language demands within a school setting as exemplified in the  World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Proficiency/Development  Standards (2004, 2007. 2012). 

Access for ELLs® test results are available in WISEdash beginning with the 2006-07 school year. The results are submitted directly to the DPI by Metritech Spring of each school year Limited English Proficiency/ELL. For students that have not taken the exam (reported empty booklets), DPI still receives the result and reports as “Not Tested” on the Dashboard.

Exam results are included for students that cannot be positively identified from the record. These records are included in aggregate charts with unknown student demographics.

Students normally take four language domain tests Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Based on the combination of language domain tests actually taken, they will receive up to four different composite scores (Oral Language, Literacy, Comprehension, and Overall Score). If all four of the language domain tests are not taken then the student will not receive Overall Composite scale score, but can receive up to three other composite scores.

For example if a student took listening and speaking only, then he will receive only the Oral Language Composite score.  The other three composite scores require reading and/or writing, which were not taken.

  • Oral Language: The Oral Language composite score combines equally weighted scale scores from Listening (50%) and Speaking (50%).
  • Literacy: The Literacy composite score combines equally weighted scale scores from Reading (50%) and Writing (50%).
  • Comprehension: The Comprehension composite score combines the scale scores for Listening (30%) and Reading (70%).
  • Overall (Composite) Scale Score: The Overall Scale Score reflects a weighted score based on the scales scores for Listening (15%) , Speaking (15%), Reading (35%), and Writing (35%). The weighting of the scores reflects the differential contributions of each language domain required for academic success, with heavier emphasis placed on literacy development.

Composite scores should be used with caution after careful consideration of their compensatory nature. The same Overall Scale Score for two students can reflect two very different profiles. For example, one student may be very strong in Listening and Reading, but weaker in Speaking and Writing, while another student with the same Overall Scale Score is strong in Reading and Writing, but weaker in Listening and Speaking.


Proficiency Level Scores: The proficiency level scores are interpretive scores. That is, they are an interpretation of the scale scores. They describe student performance in terms of the six WIDA language proficiency levels (1-Entering, 2-Beginning, 3-Developing, 4-Expanding, 5-Bridging, and 6-Reaching).

Scale Scores: Scale scores allow raw scores across grades to be compared on a single vertical scale from Kindergarten to Grade 12. With the vertical scale, scale scores across grades can be compared to one another within (not across) a language domain (Listening, Speaking, Reading, or Writing). There is a separate scale for each domain and are reflected in a scale from 100-600.

Raw scores: Raw scores indicate the actual number of items or tasks to which the student responded correctly out of the total number of items or Tasks. Raw scores should be used with caution and are not appropriate to track students’ progress between school years or compare different students on different grade levels of ACCESS for ELLs.

Additional Information

DPI Office of Student Assessment ELL Information page