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Two children doing a science project

What is WIDA?

The WIDA Consortium is an educational consortium of state departments of education. Currently, 35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, participate in the WIDA Consortium.

The WIDA Standards

WIDA has established language development standards for English and Spanish. These standards represent the language students need to be successful in early childhood programs and Grades K-12.

The first standard, Social and Instructional Language, reflects the ways in which students interact socially to build community and establish working relationships with peers and teachers in ways that support learning.

The remaining four standards present ways multilingual learners can communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

WIDA CAN DO Descriptors

The Can-Do Descriptors highlight what language learners can do at various stages of language development as they engage in the following contexts:

  • Early care and education (ECE) English and Spanish language development
  • K-12 English language development
  • K-12 Spanish language development

Similar to the WIDA Language Development Standards, the Can Do Descriptors represent what learners can do with language across different content areas. Although the Can Do Descriptors relate to the Standards, they don’t replace them but supplement them during instruction.

Educators and early childhood practitioners can use the Can-Do Descriptors in the following ways:

  • Collaborate and engage in conversations about language for learning as children and youth move along the continuum of language development
  • Advocate for language learners to have equitable access to developmentally appropriate content
  • Differentiate instruction and classroom assessment
  • Understand ACCESS for ELLs test scores