English Language Proficiency Assessment Information - WIDA and WIDA Screener

Federal law requires screening and annual assessment for English learners in grades K-12

Federal law requires that all English learners (ELs):

  1. be assessed in English language proficiency upon entry into a Virginia public school; and
  2. be assessed annually in English language proficiency.

The Virginia Department of Education has selected WIDA assessments to fulfill these federal requirements in Virginia schools. The WIDA assessments currently used in Fairfax County Public Schools are:

  • WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and WIDA Alternate ACCESS for ELLs
  • WIDA Screener

More about WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is used in grades K-12 to provide annual assessment of students' English language development, as required by federal law.

Based on the results of the WIDA ACCESS, students are determined to exit or continue eligibility for English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) services. An English language proficiency (ELP) level and domain performance data allow teachers to plan appropriate instructional supports for students. Results are generally available for parents and guardians before the start of the next school year.

Students with visual impairments or significant cognitive disabilities that interfere with them accessing the WIDA ACCESS are assessed using the WIDA Alternate ACCESS or a Virginia Department of Education ELP checklist. 

More about WIDA Screener

Students who are identified as potential English learners (ELs) or ELs are assessed to measure their English language proficiency and determine eligibility for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services.

  • Students enrolling in Fairfax County Public Schools with a home language other than, or in addition to, English are assessed with a WIDA Screener to identify if they are an EL. This assessment provides an initial English language proficiency (ELP) level.
  • Students identified as ELs are assessed if they do not have a current WIDA ACCESS test or another state-approved annual ELP assessment. This assessment shows a student’s progress in learning English and provides teachers with updated information to plan instruction.

When a student takes any ELP assessment, parents and guardians receive a letter communicating the student's results. WIDA Screener test results are generally available within two weeks after the student takes the assessment. Contents of the Fairfax County Public Schools eligibility letters are provided below.


ELP Assessment Notification Letters


ELP Assessment Score Reports

How do families know if a English learner is eligible for ESOL services?