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By the end of each of the English language proficiency levels 1-5 English language learners can... **there is no ceiling for level 6
Level Students Process Recounts by: Process Explanations by: Process Arguments by: Students Recount by: Explain by: Argue by: Students Discuss by:
Matching oral words and Sequencing oral procedures Matching illustrations with Stating key words and Naming components of Stating reasons for Expressing own ideas in a
phrases to content- or cycles with images oral points of view phrases associated phenomena using choices using words variety of ways (e.g., drawing,
Level related pictures or with the content using illustrations, or phrases using gestures, graphing)
objects Distinguishing key words and Identifying language visual or graphic photographs, or Answering yes/no Tracking the person speaking
1 Identifying the topic in
oral statements
phrases related to
related to facts or
opinions from oral
or choice questions
across content or Sharing own work (e.g.,
graphic organizers, drawings)
Entering personal experiences procedures using realia personal
to contribute to the
orally preferences
Classifying time-related Organizing routine causal or Sorting evidence and Retelling short stories Giving reasons why or Stating opinions Taking turns and applying
Level language in oral sequential relationships claims from oral or content-related how something works based on conventions specific to
statements (e.g., described orally descriptions events using diagrams, charts experiences particular conversations
present, past, future) or images
2 Connecting the context
of narratives (e.g., the
Following oral directions to
show recurring steps in
cycles or problem-solving
Distinguishing words and
phrases related to
opinions or facts from oral
Stating procedural
steps across content
Stating key words or
phrases in processes in
Responding to
opinion statements
of others with
Addressing others according
to relationship (e.g., student-
peers, student-teacher)
Emerging who, what, when, & statements a sequential order personal
where) to illustrations preferences
Identifying the Interpreting cause and effect Identifying different Presenting detailed Stating clear sequential Expressing opinions Asking clarifying questions to
beginning, middle and relationships in perspectives, stances, or content-related procedures to peers using content-area demonstrate engagement
Level end in oral retelling of a conversations points of view information that has
Comparing data or
specific language
Using examples to clarify
text Recognizing relationships in Recognizing reasons for been rehearsed information Presenting content- statements
3 Following tasks and
directions retold by
a series of oral statements positions in oral
Stating main ideas in
based facts that
support a position Answering questions to
contribute to a topic
Developing peers conversations on
social and academic
Sequencing events or Identifying precise details, Identifying evidence that Giving content-related Connecting the Stating relevant Elaborating on statements of
Level steps based on oral descriptions, or comparisons supports predictions or oral reports sequential, cyclical, or evidence for claims others to extend ideas
reading of informational that support conversation hypotheses Sequencing steps to causal relationships of Responding to Presenting creative solutions
text content-related issues
4 Recognizing the language
of related genres (e.g.,
Following oral information
on how or why phenomena
Differentiating between
multiple points of view in
class discussions
solve a problem and concepts
Presenting detailed
opinion statements
of others with
reasons or evidence
to resolve communication
Expanding news reports, historical information in small Contributing ideas to co-
accounts) groups create group responses

Identifying related Recognizing language used Distinguishing certainty Conveying personal Elaborating by adding Supporting claims Recognizing how language can
information from to enhance the specificity of from uncertainty of and content-related precision and details to with evidence from be used to express bias and
Level multiple sources phenomena in class spoken words or phrases experiences in a team content-related various sources influence others
presented orally discussions in context Using technical and sequence or causal Using claims and Challenging ideas respectfully
5 Recognizing the key
historical, scientific or
Identifying components of
systems (e.g., ecosystems,
Identifying the degree of
formality in oral
specific vocabulary
when sharing content
Describing relationships
evidence to
persuade an Managing conversations to
stay focused on a topic
Bridging technical language used branches of government) in presentations information of components within audience
in a mini-lecture small group interactions systems (e.g.,
ecosystems, government)
Identifying the overall Interpreting the specific Recognizing the strength Summarizing Analyzing how variables Countering with a Examining the value of
structure (e.g., language used to enhance of the quality of evidence discussions on contribute to events or different point of examples to bring clarity to
chronology) of events, descriptions of phenomena presented in oral content-related topics outcomes view statements
Level ideas, concepts, or
Attending to the language
Expanding on topics Maintaining a formal Stating conclusions Extend conversations by
information in oral related to events or Identifying the purpose of with descriptive details register based on a developing topics with clear
6 presentations
Differentiating similarities
phenomena in peer
arguments using varied
summary of
information from
examples and information

Reaching and differences of the various sides

information presented
through multimedia and
written text

**The descriptors in Level 6 represent the language performance of students who have met all the criteria for Level 5. Unlike the descriptors at Levels 15 that provide examples of performance at the end of the level, the descriptors at Level 6 are examples of
performance within Level 6.
For three of the Key Uses (Recount, Explain, and Argue) youll see descriptors for the four language domains (Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing). The descriptors for the Key Use Discuss are only shown for oral language. The Key Use Discuss highlights the
importance of oral language development for meaningful participation of all language learners, regardless of their level of language proficiency.
The WIDA Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition and the example descriptors are not exhaustive but are meant to help guide the planning and conversation around meaningful participation of language learners in standards-based contest curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
By the end of each of the English language proficiency levels 1-5 English language learners can... **there is no ceiling for level 6
Level Students Process Recounts by: Process Explanations by: Process Arguments by: Students Recount by: Explain by: Argue by:

Level Identifying words in context during Matching illustrated words/ Identifying key words and phrases Communicating personal Producing short-answer responses to Selecting words and phrases to
oral reading of illustrated text on phrases to causal or sequential of claims experiences through drawings questions using word/ phrase banks represent points of view using
familiar topics or experiences language and words facts from illustrated text or
1 Highlighting previewed or familiar
Sequencing sentences strips to
show content-area processes
Identifying a claim or an opinion
in multimedia with a partner Reproducing a series of events
through illustrated text
Labeling charts and graphs to
describe phenomena (e.g., organisms
in ecosystems)
Using key words or phrases
Entering from illustrated texts related to the topic
Classifying time-related language Identifying different types of Identifying language indicative of Listing procedural steps across Using key terms related to Stating reasons for particular
Level in text as present or past connectors (e.g., first, next, points of view content areas phenomena points of view
because, so)
Identifying the who, what, Organizing evidence based on Listing positive and negative Ordering linear and cyclical Listing pros and cons of issues
2 where, and when in narrative
text with a partner
Identifying key words and phrases
that describe the topic or
sequential language in texts effects of events in
informational or narrative text
sequences of phenomena (e.g., the
steps of how a volcano erupts)
Differentiating between claims
Emerging phenomena and evidence

Level Sequencing events in stories or Matching causes with effects Identifying evidence from Using key words and phrases Connecting related ideas or concepts Connecting reasons to opinions
content-related processes multiple places within text reflective of main ideas using linking words and phrases supported by facts and details
Identifying words or phrases to
3 Identifying main ideas in narrative
and informational text
determine the type of
explanation (e.g., linear sequence,
cycle, system)
Identifying different perspectives,
stances, or points of view
Conveying details using
concrete words and phrases
Answering how or why questions
(e.g., How does the water cycle
work? Why are there three
Making adjustments for
audience and context
Developing branches of government?)

Level Connecting details to main ideas or Identifying the different words or Hypothesizing or predicting based Relating a sequence of events Presenting information on processes Comparing and contrasting
themes phrases that are used to describe on evidence using a variety of transitional or phenomena from a variety of evidence for claims
the same topic or phenomena words, phrases, and clauses sources
4 Identifying conclusions in multi-
paragraph text Organizing information on how or
why phenomena occur
Comparing multiple points of
view on a topic Synthesizing information across
related texts (e.g., author
Elaborating topics with facts,
definitions, concrete details, or
Providing reasons and evidence
which support particular points
Expanding study) quotations and examples

Level Becoming familiar with the Identifying how text provides Connecting personal experience Producing content-related Describing how factors contribute to Evaluating positive and negative
language of related genres (e.g., clear details of the topic or with textual evidence to reports events or outcomes implications associated with
news reports, historical accounts) phenomena strengthen an interpretation of various positions (e.g., historical
5 Summarizing information from
multiple related sources
Identifying components of
systems (e.g., ecosystems,
the text
Evaluating the strength of
Creating narratives that
connect personal experiences
and content
Describing how systems relate or
interact events, scientific discoveries)
Including evidence from multiple
Bridging government) evidence as support for claims sources

Level Identifying the overall structure Identifying how text presents Evaluating claims and evidence by Summarizing content-related Presenting information on processes Organizing ideas and
(e.g., chronology) of events, ideas, information in a factual or neutral drawing from multiple print information or phenomena supported by facts information logically and
concepts, or information in text manner sources and details in essays and reports coherently
6 Highlighting events or procedures
that happened in historical,
Evaluating the specific language
used to enhance descriptions of
Differentiating from the strength
of different pieces of evidence as
Using narrative themes to
extend the storyline Selecting the appropriate
organizational structure for the
Integrating information from
multiple sources to provide
Reaching scientific, or technical text phenomena support for claims particular purpose evidence for claims

The WIDA Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition provides examples of academic language use for four specific communicative purposes. These purposes, referred to as Key Uses, were identified based on reviews of literature and a language analysis of college and career
readiness standards:
telling or summarizing stories, producing information reports, and sharing past experiences, stating the steps to make
Recount To retell to display knowledge or narrate experiences or events
something, describing experiences, ordering steps to get an answer
describing life cycles, sharing why or how things work, stating causes and effects, sharing results of experiments, stating consequences
Explain To clarify the why or the how of ideas, actions, or phenomena
of behaviors, describing factors that contribute to events, examining relationships among content-related ideas and concepts
stating preferences or opinions, constructing arguments supported with evidence, critiquing the reasoning of others, giving
Argue To persuade by making claims supported by evidence
reasons for a stance
Participating in small or large group activities and projects, contributing ideas to a conversation, extending knowledge with
Discuss To interact with others to build meaning and share knowledge
a mentor, elaborating ideas with peers, questioning and critiquing ideas in small groups

The WIDA Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition can help.

Differentiate curriculum, instruction, and assessments designed in English based on language learners levels of English language proficiency
Collaborate and engage in instructional conversations about the academic success of language learners in English environments
Advocate for equitable access to content for language learners based on their level of language proficiency
2016 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, on behalf of WIDA. The
Generously created for WIDA by Becky Linderholm Can Do Descriptors, Key Uses Edition Fillable Student Name Chart may be copied and
Eau Claire Area School District distributed for nonprofit educational use only.