WIDA Seeks Input on English Language Development Standards Edition 2020

November 20, 2019   |   By WIDA

MADISON, Wis.— WIDA, a leading support organization for multilingual learners, educators and families, is seeking public input on the 2020 edition of its English Language Development Standards. The research-based nonprofit includes a consortium of 40 U.S. state education agencies as well as an international consortium of more than 400 international schools. WIDA invites anyone involved in multilingual learner education to share their views by completing an online survey by Dec. 15, 2019.

WIDA standards are essential to our organization because they serve as the foundation for our commitment to collaborative teaching, and to our ideas and systems for supporting students’ engaged interactive learning,” states Tim Boals, who co-founded WIDA in 2003 and serves as its director at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research in UW–Madison’s School of Education.

The standards must comply with all federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This Act holds schools accountable for how students, including English language learners, learn and achieve, and also requires all U.S. public schools to assess ELL students annually to track their English proficiency.

“The development of the 2020 edition of our English Language Development Standards prompted us to think more deeply about how we create challenging yet supported spaces for multilingual learners to learn language and content in school contexts,” says Boals.

The 2020 edition builds on the same foundation and concepts, such as the WIDA Can Do Philosophy and WIDA’s six English language proficiency levels, that shaped WIDA's past standards publications. The five core WIDA ELD Standards have not changed but the updated edition incorporates a new set of resources that builds on and replaces earlier editions.

New features, such as shorthand reference codes for marking WIDA Language Expectations, can create common ground to link policy to practice for multilingual learners across WIDA.

“We believe that with professional learning and other resources that WIDA will begin releasing after the adoption of the standards, teachers will have access to the best tool kit yet for ensuring both linguistic and academic success for their students,” states Boals. He expects the standards to be finalized and adopted by mid-2020.

The public input period is one of several efforts to engage educators from all WIDA Consortium members in the development and review of the 2020 edition. “With the State Education Agency Standards Subcommittee as our sounding board throughout the development process, we feel confident that the 2020 edition meets the success criteria that have been set out for us,” states co-founder and WIDA Lead Developer Margo Gottlieb. “We hope that this new vision for our original five ELD standards serves as an impetus for all educators to ensure equity for multilingual learners, instill linguistic and cultural relevance in their work, and spark new ideas for teaching and learning.”