Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

CMA Use for Reclassification Letter

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter

December 16, 2010

Dear Categorical Program Directors, Title I Coordinators, Title III Coordinators, California English Language Development Test District Coordinators, and Special Education Local Planning Agency Directors:


The purpose of this letter is to provide clarification to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools regarding the use of basic skills tests in making reclassification decisions for English learners (ELs) with disabilities. Current guidelines specify the California Standards Test for English-language arts (CST–ELA) as an example of an empirically-established test of basic skills; however, the California Modified Assessment for ELA (CMA–ELA) is also recognized by the California Department of Education (CDE) as meeting the same criteria set forth in California Education Code (EC) Section 313(d).

Based on EC Section 313, guidelines for the reclassification of ELs were approved by the State Board of Education (September 2002, and updated September 2006). In accordance with EC Section 313(d), the reclassification procedures shall use multiple criteria in determining whether to reclassify a pupil as proficient in English, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

  1. Assessment of language proficiency using an objective assessment instrument, including, but not limited to the English language development test (i.e., the California English Language Development Test [CELDT]) pursuant to EC Section 60810
  2. Teacher evaluation, including, but not limited to, a review of the pupil’s curriculum mastery
  3. Parental opinion and consultation
  4. Comparison of the pupil’s performance in basic skills based upon the performance of English proficient pupils of the same age (e.g., the CST–ELA or the CMA–ELA)

Like the CST, each pupil who takes the CMA is placed into one of five performance levels (Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced). Pupils who score from the bottom to the midpoint of the scale score range that defines the “Basic” performance level or higher on the CMA–ELA may be sufficiently prepared to participate effectively in the curriculum. However, LEAs must use multiple criteria as defined in EC 313 to determine reclassification.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Lily Roberts, Administrator, CELDT and Title III Accountability Office by phone at 916-319-0784 or by e-mail at



Deborah V.H. Sigman, Deputy Superintendent
Curriculum, Learning, and Accountability Branch


Last Reviewed: Monday, June 22, 2015

Recently Posted in Testing

  • Summative Assessments Message Shifts (added 14-Apr-2016)
    Messaging Shifts for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments What Parents Want to Know.
  • Formative Assessment in Action Video Series (updated 12-Apr-2016)
    The Formative Assessment in Action Video Series (hyperlink to YouTube channel) features California members of the Digital Library State Network of Educators (SNE) demonstrating formative assessment techniques in their classrooms.
  • 2016-17 and 2017-18 CELDT Information Guide (PDF) (added 11-Apr-2016)
    2016–17 and 2017–18 California English Language Development Test (CELDT) Information Guide
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 148 (added 11-Apr-2016)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, April 6, 2016.
  • Assessment Apportionments (updated 05-Apr-2016)
    Information regarding apportionment to reimburse local educational agencies (LEAs) for specified annual assessment testing.