LEP Criteria


The definitions of the five limited-English language proficiency levels, as well s Level 6, one of two fully-English language proficiency levels, are from PI 13.08(3)(1)-(6), Wisconsin Administrative Rule.  Level 7, the other fully-English language proficiency level, is used for purposes of state reporting/state testing.


Level 1:  Beginning/Preproduction (WIDA Level = Entering):

A pupil shall be classified level 1 if the pupil does not understand or speak English with the exception of a few isolated words or expressions.

Level 2: Beginning/Production (WIDA Level = Beginning):

A pupil shall be classified level 2 if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The pupil understands and speaks conversational and academic English with hesitancy and difficulty.
  • The pupil understands parts of lessons and simple directions.
  • The pupil is at a pre-emergent or emergent level of reading and writing in English, significantly below grade level.

Level 3:  Intermediate (WIDA Level = Developing):

A pupil shall be classified level 3 if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The pupil understands and speaks conversational and academic English with decreasing hesitancy and difficulty.
  • The pupil is post-emergent, developing reading comprehension and writing skills in English.
  • The pupil’s English literacy skills allow the student to demonstrate academic knowledge in content areas with assistance.

Level 4:  Advanced Intermediate (WIDA Level = Expanding):

A pupil shall be classified level 4 if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The pupil understands and speaks conversational English without apparent difficulty, but understands and speaks academic English with some hesitancy.
  • The pupil continues to acquire reading and writing skills in content areas needed to achieve grade level expectations with assistance.

Level 5:  Advanced (WIDA Level = Bridging):

A pupil shall be classified level 5 if all of the following criteria are met:

The pupil understands and speaks conversational and academic English well.
The pupil is near proficient in reading, writing, and content area skills needed to meet grade level expectations.The pupil requires occasional support.

Level 6: Formerly Limited-English Proficient/Now Fully-English Proficient:

A pupil shall be classified level 6 if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The pupil was formerly limited-English proficient and is now fully-English proficient.
  • The pupil reads, writes, speaks and comprehends English within academic classroom settings.

Level 7: Fully-English Proficient/Never Limited-English Proficient:

The student was never classified as limited-English proficient and does not fit the definition of a limited-English proficient student outlined in either state or federal law.




1.    When the Wausau School District Student Home Language Survey indicates that a language other than English is or has been used, language proficiency assessment will be administered by an ESL teacher.

2.    When language proficiency assessments indicates a student is eligible for ESL instruction, the student must be assigned an LEP Level.

3.    The responsibility of establishing LEP Levels rests with the ESL teacher, not the mainstream teacher.

4.    Annually, all LEP students’ levels of proficiency must be reassessed and updated according to district guidelines.

5.    The criteria for determining LEP Levels are based on a combination of observation and test scores.

6.    The test used for determining LEP Levels is:

· WIDA:  ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment administered to Kindergarten through 12th grade students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is only available to Consortium member states.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development Standards and assesses each of the four language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

The assessment is available in both paper-based and online formats for Grades 1-12, while Kindergarten and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs are paper-based tests.

Purpose and Use of ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

  • Helps students and families understand students’ current level of English language proficiency along the developmental continuum.
  • Serves as one of multiple measures used to determine whether students are prepared to exit English language support programs.
  • Generates information that assists in determining whether ELLs have attained the language proficiency needed to participate meaningfully in content area classrooms without program support.
  • Provides teachers with information they can subsequently use to enhance instruction and learning in programs for their English language learners.
  • Provides districts with information that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of their ESL/bilingual programs.
  • Meets, and exceeds, federal requirements for the monitoring and reporting of ELLs' progress toward English language proficiency.


The tasks on the new summative assessment will continue to assess the language students need to process or produce in various school contexts. Each assessment item and task will target at least one of the five WIDA ELD Standards:

  • Social and Instructional Language
  • Language of Language Arts
  • Language of Mathematics
  • Language of Science
  • Language of Social Studies

About the W-APT - Kindergarten

The Kindergarten WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (K W-APT) is an English language proficiency "screener" test given to incoming Kindergarteners who may be designated as English language learners. It assists educators with programmatic placement decisions such as identification and placement of ELLs. The K W-APT is one component of WIDA's comprehensive assessment system.

The K W-APT does not assign scores across the full range of WIDA ELP levels 1-6. Instead, scores for Speaking and Listening are marked as showing low, mid, high, or exceptionalproficiency. Scoring details can be found in the K W-APT Test Administration Manual and on the scoring sheets.

The WIDA MODEL for Kindergarten assessment yields a score between 1 and 6 on the WIDA ELP scale. It may be an optional replacement to the Kindergarten W-APT. 

The K W-APT is:

  • An aid to identify students who may be candidates for English language support services
  • A measure that provides diagnostic information that may be used as additional criteria to guide instruction and service delivery