What is WIDA and why do ELL students have to take it every year?

WIDA is a test given to students whose first language is not English to see the progress they have made with the new language every year.

Coming to school to learn a new language, learn a new culture, a new place with different people and different ideas can be stressful.

Students tend to get nervous before taking this test and one of them said: “When I’m about to take WIDA I feel nervous and sometimes it affects my speaking. What I take from this test is my effort because we prepare for this. During my learning I hope to improve my English and help those who can’t speak it. I know how it feels to not speak and understand the language. I know I can help.”

English-Language Learner (ELL) students usually take a test in class and it takes almost all class period, all week. WIDA is given in 41 states. In 2020 to 2021 over 1,715,730 students took this test.

At Central High School there are 113 students that are learning English. The majority of these had to take WIDA recently. ESL teachers are a great part of this, they help these students prepare for this test, learn and improve their English skills, and also to do good in school.

ESL teachers in Central High School

The WIDA test is formed by four parts: Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading. For some reason, the most difficult for most students is speaking and it is what makes them more worried when they are taking the test. Each of these sections is to see the progress the student has made with the new language throughout the year.

A student said, “I can’t have a stable conversation with a friend or a teacher and sometimes I misunderstand what someone is saying.” ELL students come to school every day to learn and they need to have good grades in all their classes. However, they also have to focus on learning the language to understand topics and teachers in class.

It is also important to remember that ELL students are learning a new language and it may be difficult for them to communicate with others. It would help these students if people would speak slowly and clearly when they are talking to them and if they use short sentences and words.

This test has six English Language Proficiency levels: Entering, emerging, developing, expanding, bridging and reaching. The lowest Score is 1.0 and the highest 6.0. Each year there is a new goal students have to meet in order to test out. Last year WIDA access Exit scores were 4.4 composite or higher and 4.2 literacy or higher. It is important to know that they focus on Composite and Literacy scores to have a final decision on whether the student tested out or not.

Certificate students receive when they test out

School is difficult and having expectations and a lot more pressure can be too much for these students. They can face difficult situations, their self-esteem may suffer, and their social skills can be affected too. They may face difficult situations but they still want to help. “I hope to have more opportunities and help those people that don’t speak English,” a student said.

When the tests are done teachers don’t get the scores immediately, it usually takes about three months to get the results back. The people in charge of the grading process first have to see the six English Language Proficiency levels.

Every year these students prepare for the final results that will change their way of thinking and it will show all the effort they put in the test. They wait for the result to know if they achieved their goal and if not they will keep trying.

Read more from The Bobcat Times:

Principals Speak Out on Bathroom Policies and More

Cinderella’s Closet- Affordable Prom Attire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s