Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome to WIDA!

A little over a year ago, South Carolina became the newest state to adopt the WIDA ELD Standards for use in our schools. This year, South Carolina has decided to use the WIDA W-APT test as a screener for new ESL students and the WIDA ACCESS test as an annual measure of growth for English learners.  The ACCESS will replace the ELDA test that our students have taken each spring.

So what is WIDA? 
WIDA stands for World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment.  It is a consortium of 36 states with the common goal of developing high quality standards and assessments to meet the needs of English language learners.  One unique feature of WIDA is its Can-Do philosophy.  Instead of focusing on the deficiencies of ELLs, WIDA accentuates the positives of what English language learners can do according to their proficiency levels.  These Can Do Descriptors can be downloaded for free here: Can Do Descriptors.

The WIDA English Language Development Standards were developed using input from ESOL educators, the latest research in English Language Development, and member state's content standards for college and career readiness.  The five standards represent the social, instructional, and academic language that students need to engage with peers, educators, and the curriculum in schools.


  1. Social and Instructional Language:  English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting.
  2. The Language of Language Arts:  English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts.
  3. The Language of Mathematics:  English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Mathematics.
  4. The Language of Science:  English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.
  5. The Language of Social Studies:  English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Social Studies.
Within each of these areas, the WIDA ELD standards provide connections to state standards, an example context for how the standard might be used in the classroom, a cognitive function for the ELL and performance indicators (what a student "can-do") at various levels of proficiency.

If you would like more information on these standards and how to use them in your classroom, please see the ESOL teacher assigned to your school.  She would love to share with you the benefits of using WIDA's ELD Standards with our ELLs!


Did You Know...

Fort Mill has nearly 400 students who are identified as English Language Learners!  Our students come to us from 41 different countries and speak over 25 first languages.  Here are just some of the countries represented by students in the Fort Mill School District.

Wordle: Countries