Maryland has joined the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium and has adopted the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards. As a multi-state coalition of state departments of education, WIDA acts in collaboration to research, design and implement a standards-based educational system that promotes equitable educational opportunities for English language learners (ELLs).
Organization and Format
WIDA's grade-level ELD Standards are directly aligned to the corresponding grade-level Common Core State Curriculum (CCSC) and utilize five proficiency levels—entering, emerging, developing, expanding, and bridging—to measure the progression of a student's English language development. The basic format of the standards is represented with language proficiency levels along the horizontal strand and the language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing along the vertical axis. The key elements of the standards are 1) a direct connection to the CCSC, 2) a uniform cognitive function across the levels of language proficiency, 3) topical, grade-level vocabulary related to the content-based example, and 4) a context for language use descriptive of the genre/text type and tasks. In addition, the academic language focus of the WIDA Consortium's ELD Standards incorporates not only language arts and mathematics standards but also the content areas of science and social studies.
The WIDA ELD Standards are intended to be used by Maryland's local school system policy makers, curriculum specialists, administrators, classroom teachers, English for teachers of other languages (ESOL) teachers, and other school personnel who work with ELLs. They will serve as a critical resource for understanding the linguistic needs and abilities of ELLs, creating ESOL instructional models, writing curricula, designing assessments, and monitoring ELLs' progress as they move through the five stages of language proficiency.
Local school systems will use the WIDA ELD Standards as a basis for developing their own curricula incorporating a scope and sequence that can be adapted to their individual program requirements and their ELL population. With the WIDA ELD Standards as a guide and through collaboration of ESOL and content area teachers, ELLs will be provided with quality instruction that enables them to meet school expectations, perform well on mandated assessments, and become college and career ready.
Click the link below to access the WIDA ELD standards: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12.
English Language Proficiency Assessment
The English language proficiency assessment (ELPA) is administered to English language learners (ELLs) in grades K through 12 upon their entry into the school system (W-APT) and annually during a testing window in the second semester (ACCESS for ELLs®). The assessment measures a student's English language proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, comprehension, and literacy. ELPA results are reported in six proficiency levels: entering, emerging, developing, expanding, bridging, and reaching.
The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ is designed for ELLs with significant cognitive disabilities. In order to receive the most descriptive information from the test, it is very important that only students who meet all three criteria below and who cannot participate in the ACCESS for ELLs®—even with the provision of accommodations—shall be considered for the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™.
1. The student has been classified as an ELL.
2. The student has a significant cognitive disability and is eligible for special education services under IDEA.
3. The student is in an alternate curriculum aligned with his or her state's academic standards, and is participating in the state's alternate accountability assessment.
The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs™ is available for the 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12 grade clusters.
Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs)
Under the federal No Child Left Behind regulations for Title III, Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students, states must conduct an annual statewide assessment of English Language Learners (ELLs), and local school systems are required to meet AMAOs for ELLs from kindergarten through 12th grade. These AMAOs include:
- increases in the number or percentage of children making progress in learning English (AMAO I);
- increases in the number or percentage of children attaining English proficiency by the end of each school year (AMAO II);
- making adequate yearly progress for limited English proficient children (AMAO III).
Exemption of Recently Arrived Limited English Proficient Students
- Maryland exempts "recently-arrived" English Language Learners (ELL) or Limited English Proficient (LEP) students from one administration of its reading assessment during the first year of enrollment in U.S. schools per federal law.
- Maryland excludes the scores of recently arrived ELL students on state mathematics and reading/language arts assessments from one cycle of adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations as permitted by USDE regulations and non-regulatory guidance.
- Maryland includes "former" ELL students within the LEP category when making AYP determinations in reading/language arts and mathematics for up to two years after the students no longer meet the state's definition for Limited English Proficiency.
Both federal and state laws require the inclusion of all students, including English language learners in large scale assessments and equal access to grade-level Content Standards. Teachers ensure that students work toward grade-level Content Standards by using a range of instructional strategies based on the varied strengths and needs of students. Providing accommodations during instruction and assessments may also promote equal access to grade-level content. The state does not prohibit native language instruction. The state does not require a waiver or parental permission for students to receive instruction in their native language. Please see Maryland Accommodations Manual and COMAR regulations.
Reclassified English Language Learners
ELLs who no longer require Title III services and are exited from ELL services are monitored for two year to ensure that these children continue to make progress in meeting challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards for each of the two years after such children are no longer receiving services (Public Law, NCLB, 3121 (C) (1) (A)