Questions and Answers about the ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 6:00 AM

What are the ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs?
The ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs are English language proficiency assessments used to meet federal and state legislative requirements. These assessments are used to monitor English learners’ progress as they develop academic language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Why do we give these tests?
ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs scores provide valuable information about English language development to families and schools. Families can use proficiency level scores and descriptions to understand the progress their child is making and to engage with schools to support their child’s learning.
Teachers and schools can use the scores to monitor student progress in acquiring English, plan instruction, and evaluate their language development programs. Schools also use these scores to determine if a student is ready to exit an English language program.
School and district-level test results are used in federal and state accountability measurements.
Who must take these tests?
All English learners in grades K–12 in public schools are required to participate annually in an English language proficiency assessment. With very few exceptions, all English learners take the ACCESS for ELLs.
Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan may be eligible for accommodations. Paper accommodations include large print and braille test booklets.
Some students with significant cognitive disabilities may be eligible to take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs instead of the ACCESS for ELLs. See the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs Participation Guidelines. (Go to Districts, Schools and Educators > Statewide Testing > Minnesota Tests.)
How are tests administered?
Most students take the ACCESS for ELLs on computer, but there are exceptions depending upon grade and domain (reading, writing, listening, or speaking).
Teachers work one-on-one with students to administer the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs using paper materials.