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English Learners are students whose first language is not English. They can also be students who have difficulty with English because they have grown up listening to another language, or students born in the Unites States who first spoke another language.

The service an English Learner receives depends on the student’s English proficiency level, previous U.S. schooling and time in the U.S., and current academic achievement level. At each proficiency and grade level, the English learning structure is tailored to students' needs.

Students' English language proficiency is assessed with the WIDA ACCESS test. This assessment is given annually to students in grades K-12 who have been identified as English Learners to monitor their progress in acquiring academic English. See English Learner Identification Criteria or the Assessment and Testing page for more information.

The state of Minnesota forms part of the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) Consortium:

“The WIDA Consortium is a non-profit cooperative group whose purpose is to develop standards and assessments that meet and exceed the goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and promote educational equity for English language learners (ELLs). Through standards, assessments, research, and professional development, WIDA provides meaningful tools and information to educators working with ELLs that are anchored in research-based practices for serving these diverse learners.”(WIDA. <http://www.wida.us/> 2011)


In order to ensure that all English Learners in East Grand Forks are making adequate progress in acquiring academic English and increasing English language proficiency, the school district uses resources developed by WIDA:
ACCESS for ELLsThe ACCESS test is a secure English language proficiency test given annually to students in grades K-12 who have been identified as English Learners (ELs). Students are assessed in the four language domains of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The ACCESS test is only administered during the annual test window for the state of Minnesota. Based on the results of this assessment, the student will be assigned an English proficiency level. That level will be used to determine what EL Support services the student will receive at his/her school.
Alternate ACCESS for ELLsThe Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is a secure English language proficiency test given annually to students in grades 1-12 who have been identified as ELs and have significant cognitive disabilities that limit their participation in the standard ACCESS test. Students are assessed in the four language domains of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The ACCESS test is only administered during the annual test window for the state of Minnesota. Based on the results of this assessment, the student will be assigned an English proficiency level. That level will be used to determine what EL Support services the student will receive at his/her school.

WIDA SCREENERThe WIDA Screener is an English language proficiency assessment given to incoming students in Grades 1–12 to assist educators with the identification of students as English language learners (ELLs). The purpose of this assessment is to help educators make decisions about whether a student is a
candidate for English language support services.
WIDA MODELThe WIDA MODEL (Measure of Developing English Language) is another assessment that can be used by educators as an identification test for ELs new to the district. The WIDA MODEL can also be used as a progress monitoring test that can be administered at any time during the school year, depending on the needs of the district, school, teacher, or student.



*To learn more about MN state standards and guidelines regarding the education and assessment of English Learners, visit the Minnesota Department of Education's English Learner page.