WIDA Screener Paper

The WIDA Screener is an assessment designed to provide an initial measure of a student’s English language proficiency in Grades 1–12. The purpose of this assessment is to help educators make decisions and identify whether a student is a candidate for English language support services.

As a flexible, on-demand language proficiency assessment, WIDA Screener can be administered at any time during the school year, depending on the needs of the district, school, teacher, or student.

The WIDA Screener Paper is divided into five grade-level clusters:

Grade-level clusters 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12

The Standards

The WIDA Screener Paper uses the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards to assess students’ academic English.

Academic Language across lanuage domains


The WIDA Screener Paper begins with an individually-administered Entry Task, containing a speaking and writing component. Based on the student’s performance on the Entry Task, students will continue to Path A or be routed to Path B.

Path A

The majority of students will complete Path A, which contains tests of Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading.

Path B

Path B addresses the needs of students at the beginning stages of English language development by providing an opportunity to respond to a limited number of Listening and Reading tasks appropriate to what they may be able to do.

Detailed information regarding how to determine whether a student should proceed to Path A or Path B is provided in the WIDA Screener Paper Test Administration Manual and in the Test Administrator’s Script, available for download in the training course.

The Entry Task and Speaking test are administered individually and scored by the Test Administrator during administration. The Writing, Listening, and Reading tests may be administered individually or as a group, and are scored after administration. Note: For Grades 1 and 2–3, WIDA recommends individual administration of Screener for all domains.

WIDA Screener Paper administration diagram. Path A and Path B.

Using the Results

The WIDA Screener should be considered as only one element in the decision-making process of identifying a student as an ELL. This decision should ideally be supported by additional evidence, such as previous schooling in English or another language, recommendations from previous teachers, the child’s home language survey, or any of the recommended or required criteria as determined by each school. See the Scores & Reports tab for more information.

WIDA provides detailed directions and training to support the administration and scoring of WIDA Screener Paper. When reviewing these preparation resources, please keep in mind your role in administering and/or scoring the test.

Accessing the Training Course

The WIDA Screener Paper training course. Only educators with a WIDA account may be assigned the WIDA Screener Paper training course.

To access the WIDA Screener Paper training course:

  1. Log in to the WIDA international School Consortium website.
  2. Go to the WIDA Screener Paper Training page.

Training Course Content

In the training course, you will find:

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  • The Test Administration Manual for the WIDA Screener Paper (Materials and Resources Tab)
  • Training on how to score the Speaking Test
    • The Speaking Scoring Scale
    • Many authentic student responses with accompanying score explanations to help you learn the scoring scale and practice using it
    • The quizzes – Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-12 – to become a certified Speaking Scorer for Screener Paper (and Online) are the same.
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  • Training on how to score the Writing Test
    • The Writing Scoring Scale
    • Many authentic student responses with accompanying score explanations to help you learn the scoring scale and practice using it
    • The quizzes – Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-12 – to become a certified Writing Scorer for Screener Paper (and Online) are the same.
  • Directions for scoring the Listening and Reading Tests
  • Information about Accessibility and Accommodations

WIDA Store

From the WIDA Store, you can purchase:

International Screener Kits - kit contains all test administration materials for one test administrator.

Screener components

  • Path A and B Test Booklets
  • Student Response Booklets
  • Speaking and Listening test audio, available on USB drive or CD
  • International Test Administration Manual
  • Test Administrator’s Scripts
  • Recording Script for students with a disability who have documented need for an in-person human reader.

Note: While the Test Administration Manual is available for download from the WIDA Screener Paper Training Course, a hard copy is also included with kit purchases.

At Testing Site

You will also need:

  • Sharpened pencils
  • Computer with a USB port/CD drive as applicable, and capability to play sound via external speakers
  • External speakers

Testing Contacts

For questions regarding training and the content of the test, contact the WIDA Client Services Center at international@wida.us.

For questions regarding ordering materials and any issues with ordered materials, contact the WCEPS help desk at store@wceps.org.

How is the WIDA Screener Paper scored?

For detailed information about how each domain is scored and where to record scores, please refer to the WIDA Screener Training Course. But in brief:

  1. The Test Administrator evaluates the student’s Entry Task performance during administration as soon as the Entry Task is complete. This is necessary to determine how to continue the test (Path A or Path B).
  2. The Test Administrator scores the Speaking Test while administering it. Thus, Test Administrators must be certified to score Speaking.
  3. Post-administration, local raters score the Writing Test. Thus, those raters must be certified to score Writing.
  4. Post-administration, local raters score the Listening and Reading tests using the Answer Key in the Test Administration Manual.
  5. Local raters enter the student's grade and test form/path administered into the WIDA Screener Score Calculator. They will then enter the number of items correct for Listening and Reading, and the student's scores for Writing and Speaking. The calculator will then take these raw scores and turn them into Proficiency Level scores.

The WIDA Screener Score Calculator is located at the top right of this screen. It is also located in the WIDA Screener Training Course.

What scores are reported?

Students who complete all four domains of WIDA Screener Paper will receive Proficiency Level scores in each of the four domains (Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing) and three composite scores. The three composite scores are:

  • Overall (based on student performance in all four domains)
  • Oral (based on student performance in Speaking and Listening)
  • Literacy (based on student performance in Reading and Writing)

The individual domain Proficiency Level scores are reported as integer scores, so no decimals will be reported. The composite scores will be reported as integers and also with .5 interval scores (for example, scores of 1, 1.5. 2, 2.5, etc.). Scale scores are not reported.

How should scores from the WIDA Screener Paper be interpreted and used?

WIDA recommends using Paper Screener scores to make identification decisions about students’ ELL status. Paper Screener scores may be used to determine whether or not a student should be placed into English language support services. The key recommended use of WIDA Screener is to help you make identification decisions. The specific scores used in identification decisions are determined by your school.