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WIDA’s Test for English Learners: Try Sample Questions

The WIDA ACCESS language proficiency test is used across close to 40 states as part of the federal requirement to determine whether English learners continue to need language-development services.

The summative test covers four English-language domains: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is built off of the language-assessment group WIDA’s language development standards, and test questions align with content students see in regular classrooms, WIDA experts said. The topics covered in various questions are rooted in math, science, and social studies concepts.

Consistent, quality language instruction and practice across the school day from both general education teachers and specialists is key for English learners, especially as data show that average proficiency scores on the ACCESS test continue to decline after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers and specialists say general education teachers could benefit from understanding the ACCESS test, which is given both online and on paper, and its scoring to help English learners’ language development. WIDA provides free sample questions and scoring guides online.

For a snapshot of reading questions from both the online and paper versions of the test, take the quiz below. It features questions provided by WIDA across grade-level clusters, and levels of difficulty within these clusters (known as lettered tiers).

The format has been edited for length and clarity, and the quiz does not feature the adaptive quality of the online test, where difficulty levels increase or decrease based on students’ responses to prior questions.

Teachers can try out practice online exam questions across all four domains in the format students experience through WIDA’s website.

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