How Do students get in the EL Program?
English Learner (EL) students are identified at registration when the parent or guardian informs the school that they speak a language other than English. Each year, all EL students are required by federal law to be tested on their ability to listen, read, write, and speak in English until they obtain a 4.5 or higher on the test. This test is called the WIDA Assessment and must be taken in person on Odyssey’s campus.
How Limited English Proficient and English Learner Support became law:
As required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, all students who are identified as “Limited English Proficient” must be assessed annually for English proficiency in the five domains of speaking, listening, reading, writing and comprehension. This language assessment does not replace the ELA exams (SBAC or EOC) required by state law. All LEP students must participate in all four sections of this exam. This exam is delivered entirely on the computer for middle and high school students and on paper for some elementary school students.
What does WIDA mean?
In 2002, an EAG grant provided initial funding for the organization that would become WIDA. Three states were involved in the grant: Wisconsin (WI), Delaware (D), and Arkansas (A), so the acronym WIDA was chosen for the name. At the last minute, however, Arkansas dropped out, and World-class Instructional Design and Assessment was created to fit the acronym. WIDA later dropped the acronym and states “WIDA just means WIDA–It’s a proper noun stylized as an acronym.”
If you have been labeled LEP in infinite campus, you may be required to participate on this exam.
When a student is new to Odyssey, we ask if the student speaks a language other than English “at home, ” “in school,” or “with their friends.” If the answer to any of these situations is yes, then students must be given the WIDA screener (grades 1-12) or the W-APT (Kindergarten) to determine if the qualify as LEP. Students who score below 4.5 on either of these tests are placed in the English Learner Program.
English Learner Program
Students in the English Learner (EL) program may receive certain testing accommodations such as extra time, a bilingual dictionary, or translated directions on required state and federal tests. EL students may also receive additional support from a grade level advocate, tutor, or other academic support as deemed appropriate. EL students will also participate each year in the WIDA ACCESS 2.0 exam which will measure their ability to listen, read, write, and speak English. Once students obtain a score of 4.5 or higher, they will be considered proficient in English and to have “exited” the EL support program.