ELL-WIDA Standards

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English-Language Learners WIDA Standards: What are they and how do we use them?

Introduction: The WIDA English proficiency standards have been adopted by our state. WIDA training is planned, but in the meantime, secondary teachers can become familiar with these standards and how to work with them. The following questions, answers, and resources will lay some groundwork.

What does WIDA stand for?

WIDA is the acronym for “World-class Instructional Design and Assessment.”

What IS WIDA?

WIDA is a consortium of states dedicated to the design and implementation of high standards and equitable educational opportunities for English language learners.

What are the standards developed by this consortium?

These are English Language Proficiency Standards, recognized worldwide for their innovative approach to measuring academic language development in English.

The WIDA standards are organized by

Frameworks – formative and summative
Grade-level Clusters – secondary divided up as 6-8; 9-12
4 Language Domains – Listening; Speaking; Reading; Writing

Model Performance Indicators

Describe how students can use language – Levels 1-5

Ex. Listening Level 2 (Beginning): “Match needed resources or supplies with types of activities from pictures and oral statements.”
Provide anchors for curriculum instruction and assessment.

The five standards are as follows:

Standard 1: English language learners communicate for SOCIAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL purposes within the school setting.
Standard 2 : English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of LANGUAGE ARTS.
Standard 3 : English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of MATHEMATICS.
Standard 4 : English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SCIENCE.
Standard 5 : English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of SOCIAL STUDIES.

How do WIDA standards work with Common Core State Standards?

Standard 1 (Social and Instructional) and Standard 2 (Language Arts) need to be implemented into unit planning.

WIDA Can-Do descriptors can support this process.

What are WIDA Can-Do descriptors and how are they used?

The CAN DO Descriptors are a sampling of the language expectations of English language learners as they travel along the continuum of English language development. They are a     starting point for determining what students can do in each language domain (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing).

Where can I find these descriptors?

These are available in The English Language Learner CAN-DO Booklets (See links below)

Resources: For more information about WIDA Standards and for supportive materials, go to the following websites:

Please become acquainted with these standards and descriptors to support English Language Learners in our classrooms.

Coming Soon: WIDA standards will align to each unit’s standards and JSD Student Learning Target statements.

7th Grade

  • Unit 1: Characters with Character
  • Unit 2: Perseverance
  • Unit 3: Determination in Life and in Literature
  • Unit 4: Survival in the Wild
  • Unit 5: Science or Fiction
  • Unit 6: Literature reflects life; making sense of our world

8th Grade

  • Unit 1: Urban settings in America; It happened in the City
  • Unit 2: Rural Setting in North America – “It Happened in the Country”
  • Unit 3: Looking Back on America
  • Unit 4: Authors and Artists
  • Unit 5: Dramatically Speaking
  • Unit 6: The Road Not Taken

9th Grade

  • Unit 1: Literary Elements and the Short Story
  • Unit 2: The Novel – Honor
  • Unit 3: Poetry – Beauty
  • Unit 4: Drama – Fate
  • Unit 5: Epic Poetry – Heroism
  • Unit 6: Literary Nonfiction – Reflection (The Memoir, The Essay, and The Speech)