Nevada’s English Proficiency Testing Window Closes
The administration of the 2016-17 WIDA tests in Nevada schools has been completed and districts should receive preliminary results in May.
“The quick turnaround of results will help districts best meet the needs of their students entering the 2017-2018 school year,” said Mike Pacheco, Educational Program Supervisor over Assessments at the Nevada Department of Education.
Nevada has submitted its consolidated Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Under ESSA, states must provide for an annual assessment of English language proficiency, aligned with their English language proficiency standards, for all English Learners (EL). Additionally, ESSA requires states to have standardized statewide entrance and exit procedures for ELs.
15.5 percent of Nevada’s K-12 students are classified as ELs, the fourth highest in the nation. In order to become the fastest improving state in the nation, Nevada must significantly improve its EL proficiency.
“The state gives English Learners up to six years to become proficient in English,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This time-frame aligns with language acquisition research and allows time for state investments and systems changes to demonstrate results.”
Within Nevada’s new Nevada School Performance Framework, 10 percent of a star rating for schools will be based on the performance of ELs achieving proficiency on the WIDA. The EL Proficiency indicator will measure student’s Adequate Growth Percentile, or growth to target, to determine if EL students are progressing towards becoming proficient.
Nevada participates in the WIDA Consortium to provide Nevada’s English Proficiency Examination. The WIDA Consortium started with three states (Wisconsin, Delaware and Arkansas) and has grown to 39 U.S. State Education Agencies which provides an opportunity to compare results and set growth goals. The assessment monitors students’ progress in acquiring academic English, and students identified as EL in grades K-12 are assessed annually in the domains of reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension.