Effectiveness of WIDA English language development standards meeting proficiency for English language learners

Kelley Coulter, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of World Class Instruction Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Development Assessment (ELDA) standards when compared to the previous ELDA standards and the progress made by English language learners toward English proficiency. This evaluation was prompted by the federal mandate that all English language learners (ELLs) would become proficient in the English Language Arts (ELA) areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The state of Tennessee implemented educational standards for ELL students after the No Child Left Behind Act induction by composing the ELDA standards. When Tennessee adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a more rigorous set of standards were needed to develop ELL proficiency more quickly while students learned the academic vocabulary. The State of Tennessee adopted the WIDA standards and assessment—Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLS 2.0)—to monitor ELL progress and to report annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs). This study focused on the comparative progress of the ELDA standards and WIDA standards for third, fourth, and fifth grade ELL students by comparing ELDA 2012–2014 ELA composite scores to ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 2014–2016 from the four selected elementary schools. The study also analyzed a comparative difference between genders using the 2015–2016 ELA composite scores for ELL students in third, fourth, and fifth grades in the four selected elementary schools. The researcher compared these variables by using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences, Version 22.0. The researcher analyzed the collected archival test data using chi-square to determine that the 2012–2013 ELDA ELA composite scores did not have any students reaching the proficiency level. The researcher ran other descriptive tests to display data that could be used to validate if the WIDA standards are more effective than the previous ELDA standards in advancing ELL students to English proficiency. The researcher did validate in the study that the WIDA standards are more effective than the ELDA standards. For the last 2 years of ELDA, a total of 404 ELL students were tested. Only two students reached proficiency. In the first 2 years of WIDA, a total of 496 ELL students were tested. Out of these students, 211 reached proficiency. Thus, this study determined that the WIDA standards are effective in the instruction of ELL students.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language

Recommended Citation

Kelley Coulter, "Effectiveness of WIDA English language development standards meeting proficiency for English language learners" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10243679.