Assessing ESOL students & Changes to WIDA scoring
Throughout the school year I am constantly assessing my ESOL students. Often this is through short formative assessments that are integrated into activities we are already doing.
Using Rubrics for quick assessments
To get a sense of their speaking level I will sometimes take out the WIDA speaking rubric and simply listen to students conversations and write down where they fall on the rubric. Writing is also easy to organically assess. I look at writing samples students have completed or are in the process of completing, take note of how much support they have received and again use the WIDA writing rubric to score.
Listening and reading are a bit more challenging to assess. When I do a read aloud and ask comprehension questions I can use the listening rubric to get a general sense of their listening levels and use the reading rubric along with anecdotal notes to get a reading level.
Practicing academic language through assessments
Sometimes I need to get a sense of how my ESOL students are doing through a more formal assessment. This gives them exposure to the format of the WIDA assessment that they take once a year and the academic testing language they will need.
I have designed speaking, listening, reading, and writing assessments that multiple choice or shot response format. I am continuing to add more assessments in each category. I have been updating the assessments to make them more rigorous. I added a color and black and white version to each assessment and changed some of the graphics. I also reviewed the upper level passages and question and in some cases increased the difficulty levels. This is partially because WIDA has increased the difficulty of its assessment.
WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Score Changes
In order to align the assessments more with Common Core Standards and the rigor that is being asked of students, WIDA 2.0 was has more challenging demands in all domains of language. This makes it more difficult for students to score the same level as in the past. Some states are responding to this change by lowering their cutoff score for students to stop receiving ESOL services. Other states allow teachers to use multiple measures including classroom performance. You can read more about the changes here.