LAS Links Test to ACCESS

Fibi Kim, Reporter

For the past few years,  English learners in the United States have taken the test called Language Assessment System (Las LINKS) annually, in order for teachers to know how much English they have learned and to put them in the right level of class. Even though this test was really helpful, the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) came up with the new test version for English Learner.

Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State (ACCESS) is the new version of test that replaced LAS LINKS beginning this year. According to ENL teacher Mrs. Amy Peddie, they changed the test from LAS LINKS to ACCESS because it is  better measurement of how much EL students learn English. This test is for newcomers to level 4, Peddie says. First year Level 5 used to take LAS LINKS but no longer take ACCESS as long as they have tested a level 5.

To compare these two tests, the way ACCESS measure students level will be more precise instead of taking one particular test, now it will have three different versions, Peddie says. Because of the different versions, they are called Tier A, B and C. Tier A is only for newcomer and level 1. Peddie says it is impossible for students who took Tier A to be moved into highest level or reach level 5 because this test is only for beginners. The second test, Tier B is mostly for Level 2 and 3. Some strong level 3 and Level 4 will the the highest level of test, Tier C. This is where students could be consider to be out from EL class if they test a level 5 or above on the test.

Peddie says another reason WIDA made tiered tests was because sometime beginning students give up answering when the questions become too difficult, like LAS Links has only one version of test and everyone took it even if they were in lowest level in class or beginner. The way the test was split into different versions will be helpful for students and the questions will be more suited  for each level, according to Peddie.

Students will take the test starting on Feb.9 -13. It will be really similar to LAS Links where students will be pulled out from their classes to take their test. Peddie says EL teachers will only give speaking part of the test and then master teachers and vice principal are going to help with other part.

“I think this test will be better for teachers because we should be able to tell more clearly than we could with LAS Links about their skills,” Peddie said. “ I hope it will be better results.”