ACCESS testing resumes after COVID disruptions in streamlined manner


Esha Bhawalkar

After disruptions due to COVID-19, ACCESS testing for English Language Learning (ELL) students took place from Jan. 4 to Feb. 7. 


“The kids who didn’t come into the building last year didn’t take the test, so they aren’t allowed to leave the program until they take it this year, which I think was really unfortunate,” said ELL teacher Kristen Durocher, the liaison between the ELL program and the mainstream courses.


ACCESS testing measures a student’s progress in learning the English language. The online test is administered annually, but only in-person at school. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in four categories: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.


Students who pass the test are able to exit the program and take a full schedule of mainstream courses. The ELL program is designed to help students do just that. Instruction is tailored to each student’s individual needs. As well as learning in the classroom, students receive teaching from instructional aides and specialized ELL teachers. 


Not only was the ELL department able to test all of its students in-person this year, but the timing of the test was also altered to meet the needs of students.


“This year we used just a couple of days to get all the testing quickly finished and not having it drag on for two months, which is usually how long it takes,” said ELL teacher Maria Hegarty.


According to Hegarty, she believes that this is a positive change, as it helps reduce stress for students.


“Despite all of these setbacks, I think that my students did really well this year and I’m proud of them,” said Hegarty.