Summer 2017

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Identification and Screening

North Dakota has new identification and screening procedures in accordance with ESSA. Please review the new Identification and Screening Guidance document to ensure compliance for districts and schools.

Immigrant Allocations

The immigrant allocation process has changed according to USDE guidelines. In the past, enrollment numbers of immigrants were taken from the previous year’s enrollment report. Now, we must use the immigrant enrollment from the year the funding is allocated. Since we do not have enrollment numbers yet for 2017-2018, we have two options:
  • Preliminary estimated allocations on the consolidated application based on the previous year, then revise allocations when the “current” year enrollment data is available. Since, final enrollment numbers are not available until June 30th of each year, we will need to use the initial September 30th data.
  • Wait until after September 30th and do a paper process.
The NDDPI has decided on the paper process after September 30 because some districts may have been funded on previous year’s enrollment and may not be funded using the  current year’s enrollment. We do not want to take funding away from districts.

North Dakota Biliteracy Seal

Beginning the 2017-18 school year, the NDDPI will be awarding the ND Biliteracy Seal to students during their senior year who demonstrates proficiency in a language in addition to English. A certificate will be awarded from Superintendent Baesler with a seal to affix to the student’s diploma. Also, the NDDPI will identify the seal in STARS and on the student’s high school transcript through
e-transcript. Watch for more information and guidance on the NDDPI website.



On August  31, 2017, WIDA will remove all Grades 1–12
W-APT test forms and training materials from the website secure portal. WIDA will maintain the “Kindergarten W-APT,” with a page containing only Kindergarten W-APT materials. In North Dakota, schools are strongly encouraged to use the WIDA MODEL assessment for Kindergarten students.

WIDA Screener

Beginning July 1, 2017 North Dakota will use only the WIDA Screener and K MODEL for the identification assessments of English learners. Test administrators for these two assessments MUST be trained prior to administering the assessments. The WIDA Screener training is located on the WIDA website. For MODEL training refer to the training videos on the CD included in your MODEL kit.

Professional Development

  • August 9: New Title III/EL Teacher Training
  • August 16: EL Teacher PLC
  • September 7: Lesson Planning follow up Webinar
  • October 11-12 ND EL Professional Cadre Training
  • November 1-2: Scaffolding Learning Through Language
  • WIDA Academy: Formative Language Assessment
  • September 26-28, 2017 Bloomington, MN Information or Registration


Score Changes

As you may be aware, student scores on ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 have changed in 2017 to incorporate more rigor. WIDA provided a memo to offer LEAs a summary of the impact of the score changes along with a list of resources that explain the situation. It may help guide your response as you communicate the changes and make decisions about English learners’ education based on test results and other information.  More information regarding score changes can be found on the WIDA Website.

2017-18 Q&A Webinar Schedule

The 2017-2018 Q&A ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Webinar Schedule brought to you by WIDA and DRC is ready! .All webinars are free, last one hour, and will take place from September 2017 through May 2018. Three new topics will be offered this year:
  • Using 2017 ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Results in the New School Year (more info below)
  • What’s New This Year?
  •  ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 for New District Test Coordinators

Supported System Requirements for ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 and WIDA Screener

DRC has provided and WIDA has posted updated technology system requirements for testing at This requirements document is scheduled to be updated again in October, but with only minor changes planned for that time. The major change included in this release of the document is the discontinuation of Android support.

Data File Formats (CSV vs. TXT)

This will be the last academic year that SSR files will be available in TXT format. WIDA and DRC will only offer SSR, DSR, and data validation files as CSV files after the 2017-2018 testing year. Have your technology coordinators plan accordingly. 

Chromebook Auto Updates

If Chromebooks have been unused for a period time (as is common in the summer months), when they are used to administer a Screener assessment, sometimes they automatically update in the background, which interferes with the Speaking recording capture. Changing the Google Admin Policy to “stop auto updates” does not resolve the problem. DRC will include this information in all trainings and guides.


Effects of a Cross-Age Peer Learning Program on the Vocabulary and Comprehension of English Learners and Non-English Learners in Elementary School
This study evaluated the effects of a cross-age peer learning program targeting vocabulary and comprehension in kindergarten and fourth-grade classrooms with substantial proportions of English Learners (ELs).

Bridging Refugee Youth & Children Services (BRYCS)

BRYCS maintains the nation's largest online collection of resources related to refugee and immigrant children and families.

Fall Educators Conference

Registration is now open! Check out the schedule of Keynotes and sessions. Visit the NDDPI website for more information or to register.

2017 WIDA Annual Conference

Registration is now open for the WIDA national conference. Register by August 15 for a chance to win half-price registration. Visit the registration website  to learn more about the featured speakers, breakout sessions, agenda, pricing, and more.

Share Success or Ideas

The ExcELing Educator will continue to spotlight schools, teachers, students or ideas.
Please share your successes or ideas. Send them to Lodee Arnold at