Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs)
ACCESS for ELLs is administered, annually, to all English learners in Georgia. ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English learners’ social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. ACCESS for ELLs meets the federal requirements that mandates require states to evaluate EL students in grades K through 12 on their progress in learning to speak English.
ACCESS for ELLs is used to determine the English language proficiency levels and progress of ELs in the domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. ACCESS for ELLs serves five main purposes. These include:
determining the English language proficiency level of students;
providing districts with information that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of their ESOL programs;
providing information that enhances instruction and learning in programs for English language learners;
assessing annual English language proficiency gains using a standards-based assessment instrument;
providing data for meeting federal and state requirements with respect to student assessment.
The ACCESS for ELLs series spans five grade level clusters and six proficiency levels. The grade level clusters include: Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12.
Results for ACCESS for ELLs are reported in the four domains and proficiency in six levels. The six proficiency levels are: Entering (Level 1), Beginning (Level 2), Developing (Level 3), Expanding (Level 4), Bridging (Level 5) and Reaching (Level 6). There are three distinctive, yet overlapping, tiers for each grade level cluster except kindergarten. The kindergarten assessment is individually administered and covers all proficiency levels.
Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is a recently developed, individually administered test. It is intended only for English learners with significant cognitive disabilities that are severe enough to prevent meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs assessment. Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is not intended for ELs who can be served with special education accommodations on ACCESS for ELLs. Decisions regarding a student's participation must be made by an IEP team. The test is available for the 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade clusters.
1. The student has been classified as an EL.
2. The student has been classified as a special education student and is receiving special education services.
3. The student has a significant cognitive disability.
4. The student participates in the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA).
Importantly, students shall not be administered both the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs and the ACCESS for ELLs.