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Identification & Placement

Procedures for the English Learner Identification 

Proper identification of English Learners (ELs) helps ensure that the district’s English language acquisition program is best designed to meet the needs of its students. To develop comprehensive English language acquisition and academic programs for English Learners, schools and districts must first have accurate knowledge regarding the size and characteristics of the population to be served. As of July 1, 2018, the W-APT assessment for grades 1-12* will no longer be available for Colorado schools and districts to use in the English Learner Identification process. 

*Please note, kindergarten and first semester, first-grade students will be assessed with the W-APT. Second semester, first-grade students through grade 12 will be assessed using the WIDA Screener

School districts, charter schools and facility schools must use the Colorado Standardized Identification of English Learners procedures to identify ELs when in-person instruction or in-person assessment occurs during SY21-22. Interim EL Identification Guidance and Procedures (pdf) are intended to be used when in-person instruction is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additionally, district/schools may use Interim EL Identification procedures when families or guardians have opted students into remote instruction and whose health concerns, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow for travel to in-person assessment. For more information about Colorado Interim Guidance procedures and resources, please visit the COVID-19 and CLDE webpage

Transition to Screener for Kindergarten Occurring in SY22-23

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten is a new individually administered paper-and-pencil test that helps educators identify students as English Learners (ELs) in Kindergarten and 1st semester first grade. Colorado will continue to administer W-APT to kindergarten and 1st semester first grade students during SY21-22.  The full transition and requirement for districts to administer WIDA Screener Kindergarten will start August 2022. CDE will not be providing cut scores to align to Colorado English language proficiency levels at this time. During SY21-22 the Office of CLDE will collect data to set cut point guidance to be disseminated for use in SY22-23.  Additionally, CLDE anticipates to provide supplemental test administration training in the Spring of 2022 after cut point data is collected and guidance is developed and disseminated.

The Screener for Kindergarten Training Tile in WIDA’s Secure Portal was activated on May 1, 2021 for LEAs to begin to explore assessment materials and to prepare for test administration next year. Districts and schools should also be reviewing training modules & test certification quizzes and other information related to the Screener for Kindergarten during this school year.  Student and test administrator materials can be downloaded at no cost or can be purchased through the WIDA Store.

Annual English Language Proficiency Assessment for English Learners

ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment given annually to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English learners (NEP/LEP). It provides educators and parents information about the ELP level in the language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.  Students who qualify for Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEP) but parents have formally opted-out of programs, are not exempt from testing. This assessment aligns to the Colorado English Language Proficiency Standards (CELP).  Please contact the Assessment Office for more information or training dates for ACCESS.  

ACCESS for ELLs cut points to guide districts in making NEP, LEP, and FEP determinations for state reporting have been established and can be found below.

2018 Access 2.0 Proficiency Level Cut Point Guidance

Civil Rights Obligations and Guidance

Identification Resources