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Updated 08/2017

Testing Students Identified as English Learners (ELs) in the North Carolina Testing Program


Testing and Accountability NC Public Schools website

WIDA Screener


Alternate ACCESS for ELLs

General guidelines:

Students whose primary language is not English and who are of limited English proficiency represent a steadily increasing percentage of North Carolina’s school population and are enrolled at all grade levels in communities across the state.

State and federal laws require that all students participate in the statewide testing program. The local education agency (LEA)/charter school must ensure all students, including those identified as ELs who have the appropriate documentation, (1) participate in the standard administration of a North Carolina test and, if eligible, (2) receive appropriate accommodation(s) during the administration of the test. To ensure test results are valid, all school personnel must follow the appropriate procedures for assessing English Learners presented in the Testing and Accountability NC Public Schools website and any published supplements or updates to the guidelines.

Students who indicate a language other than English in their Home Language Survey (HLS) should be assessed for initial identification and placement in English as a Second Language (ESL) services as needed.

For more information, review the

North Carolina Procedures for the Identification of Limited English Proficient Students,

W-APT/WIDA Screener EL Identification Criteriaand the HLS Flowchart.

ACCESS 2.0 Exit Criteria - Comprehensive Objective Composite (COC) see p9

The assessment screening tools used for EL identification are:

  • The WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT ) which is the assessment used for students in Kindergarten and first semester 1st grade.

  • WIDA Screener, the assessment tool used for incoming students in second semester 1st grade to 12th grade.

Once identified as an EL solely from the results of the W-APT/WIDA Screener, the student is required by state and federal law to be assessed annually with a state-identified English language proficiency test. The test currently used by North Carolina for annual assessment is the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ELLs), or the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0.

The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs is an option to the administration of the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test to students in grades 1–12 who are classified as ELs and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment.

User Guides:


This is the information you will access in the North Carolina WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Website:

  • Contact Information

  • Assessment Materials and Training

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 2017-2018 Dates (Testing Window)

  • ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Checklist

  • Professional Learning

  • State Publications

Accountability TNN messages: