In 2016-17, Maine began administering the computer-based annual English language proficiency assessment, ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners), that replaces the paper-based version of ACCESS for ELLs for grades 1-12. Kindergarten will continue as a paper-based assessment.

As with the ACCESS for ELLs, the tasks on the computer-based English language proficiency assessment will attempt to replicate the kinds of communicative situations (and the English language needed to be processed or produced within them) that might be encountered in different school contexts. ACCESS for ELLs continues to assess each of the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing separately.

This standardized, computer-delivered assessment readily engages students. By moving to computer delivery, ACCESS for ELLs will benefit from the wide range of possibilities afforded by technology from item presentation and capturing responses, to accessibility and scoring efficiency.

Alternate ACCESS

The Alternate ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is Maine’s assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for students in grades 1-12 who are classified as English learners and have significant cognitive disabilities that prevent their meaningful participation in the ACCESS for ELLs assessment.

All students identified as English learners must be assessed annually for ELP, including students who receive special education services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act also mandates that students with disabilities participate in statewide and district-wide assessment programs, including alternate assessments with appropriate accommodations, when it is documented in their Individualized Education Programs. For this reason, Maine uses the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs to meet federal accountability requirements and to provide educators with a measure sensitive to ELP growth of English learners with significant cognitive disabilities.