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The WIDA Consortium (formerly World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) is an educational consortium of state departments of education. Currently, 35 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 assessment 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. The acronym definitions ("Wisconsin-Delaware-Arkansas" and the acronym developed to match the new constituent states, "World Class Instructional Design and Assessment") are no longer used.
WIDA provides several assessments for use with English language learners. The W-APT (WIDA ACCESS Placement Test) is most often used as a screening test to determine the language level of students entering a school system. These results are used most frequently to determine if a student is eligible for ESL or ESOL services. The W-APT test has been in use since 2006. The ACCESS test is given yearly and the results are used to determine the student's growth and progress, as well as to inform instruction for the next year. This test has been administered annually in WIDA member states beginning in the 2005-06 academic year. The WIDA MODEL K-12 assessment is used in the U.S. and several other countries as a test of English language proficiency.
In addition to its consortium member state partners, the WIDA project partners with the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C. and MetriTech, Inc. of Champaign, IL, and most recently, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), Maple Grove, MN.
- "Mission & the WIDA Story". WIDA. 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2017.