WELPA Frequently Asked Questions
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Washington Language Proficiency Test II

WELPA Annual Test Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is the name of this test?
This test is called the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment Annual Test or WELPA.

Is there a different form of the WELPA each year?
Yes. For each grade band there are three forms of the assessment, one of which will be selected for administration each year.

What are the grade bands for the WELPA?
There are five grade bands:

  • K & 1
  • 2 & 3
  • 4 & 5
  • 6 through 8
  • 9 through 12

Is there a cost for the WELPA?
No. Districts do not pay for students in the State Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (STBIP). Districts may incur a cost to test Title III and private school students as well as students not in the STBIP identified by the Office for Civil Rights. Order copies through WAMS materials order page https://eds.ospi.k12.wa.us/Login.aspx.

Is the WELPA offered in Braille or large print?
It is offered in large print as well as Braille. Order copies through WAMS materials order page https://eds.ospi.k12.wa.us/Login.aspx.

Is the WELPA administered using ASL or SEE?
Refer to your district's bilingual program supervisor at OSPI for guidance regarding testing deaf or hard of hearing students.

Is the WELPA a secure test?
Yes. Test proctors, school assessment coordinators and district assessment coordinators must follow security protocols outlined in the Washington State Assessment Coordinators Manual.

When is the WELPA Administered?

When is the WELPA test window?
The state’s testing calendar shows the WELPA window each school year, http://wwwk.12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/timelines-calendars.aspx. Districts schedule administration of the WELPA within the window. There is only one window each school year.

Which Students?

Which students take the WELPA?
Every student in Grades K through 12 who has qualified for ELD services in the STBIP takes the WELPA. Native American students in a Title III program also take the WELPA, as will students in private schools that accept ELD services. Districts working in partnership with the Office for Civil Rights may be required to assess selected students with the WELPA.

Are students whose parents have waived program services required to take the WELPA?
Students whose parents have waived program services are required to participate in the annual administration of the WELPA.

What if students move during the test window?
Refer to guidance in the WELPA Assessment Coordinators Manual about communication between sending and receiving districts to coordinate completion of the WELPA, http://www.k12.wa.us/Assessment/EL/Manual.aspx.

Administering the Test

Do test proctors have to be trained?
Yes. The district assessment coordinator (DAC) is responsible for training school administrators, school assessment coordinators, test proctors, scribes, persons assisting with sign language/Braille/large print and persons assisting with processing secure test materials before the test administration. Proctors must not only receive training, but must demonstrate understanding of administration procedures and scoring rubrics.

May volunteers proctor the test?
No. Volunteers may not administer or assist in the administration of any state assessments. They are not permitted to assist with handling secure test material. Volunteers may assist in the supervision of students who need a break or have completed testing.

May proctors bubble answers for students or erase stray marks in the student answer booklet?
No, proctors cannot alter what students have marked. It is highly recommended that students have practice with bubbling before the test is administered. The only marks proctors will make are to record scores for Speaking items.

Do districts report the names of trainers and test proctors?
All test proctors must sign a Test Security Assurance Form that is collected by the school assessment coordinator. They also sign the Test Proctor/Administrator/Staff Training Log.

Does the WELPA need to be given in one sitting, or can portions of the test be given on different days?
To give students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do in English, testing should take place in several sittings at optimum times of day for student productivity. The WELPA is untimed; however, the Directions for Administration gives estimated administration times for planning purposes. It is up to the district to determine a test schedule that allows students to complete each subtest the same day it was begun.

Could the Speaking subtest be completed before other subtests?
Yes. Districts can determine when to administer the Speaking subtest.  However, the Reading subtest must be given before the Writing subtest.

May item directions be paraphrased, explained, or given in a language other than English?
No. Item directions must be read VERBATIM.

May directions be repeated?
Yes. The bolded directions in the Directions for Administration may be re-read VERBATIM.

May students be asked to repeat a response?
Yes. Students may be asked to repeat a response to a Speaking item if the proctor could not hear what was said.

May student responses to Speaking items be (audio) recorded for scoring?
Yes. This will help proctors confirm that the correct scores have been assigned. Trained proctors can listen together to audio recordings of responses to assure standardization of scoring. The School Assessment Coordinator will erase or destroy audio recordings immediately after scoring is completed.

Are Listening items recorded for administration?
Yes. The publisher has provided audio CDs of Listening items to ensure that students hear the passages read with native-like pronunciation and prosody. Use of the CDs is required.

Who provides scratch paper for Writing items, and how is the scratch paper treated after completion of the test?
Districts provide a piece of lined paper for pre-writing to students in grades 2 – 12. Proctors return the scratch paper inside student booklets to the School Assessment Coordinator, who will remove and shred the scratch paper before returning the test booklets for scoring.

Must students respond to every item?
In order to determine what students know and can do in English, they should have the opportunity to respond to each item. Proctors can assist students by redirecting them to the next item(s) after a reasonable period of time.

How much time should a student have to respond?
The WELPA is untimed. For Speaking items, the proctor should wait a few seconds for a response before moving on to the next item. For other items, students who remain productively engaged in the assessment should be allowed to finish their work.

Scoring the WELPA

Which items are locally scored?
Only Speaking items are locally scored. Test proctors must attend training session(s) and demonstrate understanding of scoring rubrics in order to score Speaking responses. All other items are scored by CTB McGraw-Hill.

Reporting Scores

How are scores reported?
The publisher sends two copies of each student’s scores to the district, one to be distributed to the student’s family.

What scores are reported for each student?
The student-level report includes a scale score for each language domain as well as an overall score and a comprehension score.

Additional Information

Where is additional information about ELD services to be found?
Refer to the Guidelines for the Washington State Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program and other program-related guidance at http://www.k12.wa.us/MigrantBilingual/BilingualProgram.aspx.

Where is information about testing accommodations for ELLs to be found?
Refer to the Access Supports and Accommmodations Guidelines for State Assessments (2013-14) (PDF).


   Updated 4/28/2014

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