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CALPADS Update FLASH #256

Transitioning to new CALPADS Language Code Set.

To:           Local Educational Agency (LEA) Representatives

From:      California Department of Education (CDE) –
                California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) Team

Date:      July 14 , 2023

SubjectCALPADS Update FLASH #256


Transitioning to new CALPADS Language Code Set

Each year, the CDE receives requests from local educational agencies (LEAs) to add more languages to the CALPADS Language Code Set to better reflect the changing demographics of their students. To accommodate these requests, starting with the transition to the 2023−24 school year with the mid-September 2023 CALPADS rollover, CALPADS will shift from the current two-character language code set to a three-character language code set based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 639-2, along with additional specific language codes from ISO 639-3. The new CALPADS Language Code Set will offer over 400 additional language codes for LEAs to report the languages spoken by students and their families. This Flash provides the current location of the final new CALPADS Language Code Set, guidance for transitioning to the new code set, and information on any impacts to submitting, changing, and viewing language codes in CALPADS.

FINAL Code Set Posted to Box Site July 13, 2023

On July 13, 2023, the CDE posted the FINAL CALPADS Language Code Set and a document that maps the old two-character codes to the new three-character codes, to the LEA Box site, located within the CDE Box site in the CALPADS-LEA folder. The files are located inside the folder named CALPADS Language Code Set 2023-24; the outdated files have been moved to the Archive folder.

This final version differs slightly from the previously posted version. The CDE has removed, in the final version, 43 “improbable” languages that are not accepted in federal reporting. In addition, the mapping document has been changed to map the current language code of 99 – Other non-English languages to the new code mis – Uncoded languages (Other non-English languages), instead of zxx – No linguistic content; Not applicable. Please see each file’s change log for more information.

The new language codes will also be included in the upcoming version of the CALPADS Code Sets (v15.x effective for 2023–24 Academic Year) which will be posted on the CDE CALPADS System Documentation web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sp/cl/systemdocs.asp. The new CALPADS Language Code Set will be implemented as part of the school year rollover in mid-September 2023.

The CDE has been working with the student information system (SIS) vendors on this change. Since student information systems vary, LEAs should consult with their vendor on how the new language codes will be made available in the SIS, and how the transition to the new three-character language codes impacts the language codes maintained in the SIS.

Guidance for Transitioning to the New CALPADS Language Code Set

The size of the new language code set may be overwhelming for users. LEA CALPADS Administrators should first work with LEA management to identify who in the LEA will be responsible for leading the discussion in determining what, if any, new language codes should be used for incoming students, and whether or not to change the primary language of existing students (where it is allowed). Once lead staff are identified, LEAs may want to consider taking the following approach for transitioning to the new CALPADS Language Code Set:

Step 1: Consult with SIS Vendor: LEA CALPADS Administrators should first consult with their SIS vendor about how the new language codes will be displayed in the SIS. Some vendors may make all the new codes available; others may provide LEAs the option to select which codes they want displayed. Regardless of how the language codes are displayed in the SIS, it is our understanding that when submitted to CALPADS, the SIS vendor will ensure codes are mapped to the new three-character codes when the Student English Language Acquisition (SELA) files are sent to CALPADS.

Step 2: Determine What New Codes to Use: The size of the new language code set may be overwhelming for users. Led by identified staff, LEAs may first want to determine which, if any, of the new codes they would like to display in their SIS, or if all codes are displayed, which codes to highlight to registration staff that they will likely use for new students. These will generally be newly enrolled students, who, based on the Home Language Survey, have an English Language Acquisition Status (ELAS) of TBD – to be determined, and who will need to be assessed within 30 days on the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC). To determine which new codes to select/highlight:

  1. LEAs should first review their student population and consider:
    1. The number of students for whom the LEA has previously submitted a language code of 99 - Other non-English languages, or UU – Unknown.
    2. The number of students for whom the LEA has submitted two-character codes that are “inclusive.” An “inclusive” language code reflects a group of languages and has a definition that includes other “individual” languages.

      For example, code 85 – Afro-Asiatic languages, is defined as “Afro-Asiatic languages include but are not limited to Hausa, Tigrinya, Afar, Shilha, Tigre, Kabyle, Central Atlas Tamazight, Riffian, Gurage languages, Maltese.” While inclusive languages codes are mapped to appropriate, corresponding three-character codes that are also inclusive, LEAs now have the option of selecting individual languages for new students. Instead of selecting an inclusive language like Afro-Asiatic languages - 85, an LEA could select an individual language like hau – Hausa instead. LEAs should continue to use inclusive language codes if an individual language does not exist in the new language code set.
    3. The number of immigrant students who have enrolled in recent years or who are anticipated to enroll, whose primary language is better reflected by one of the new codes.
  2. Based on the review of their student population, LEAs may then choose:
    1. Not to utilize any of the new language codes at this time, and simply continue using the languages previously used, but which are now mapped to the new three-character codes. However, LEAs choosing this option should annually review whether there is a need to begin using any of the new codes.
    2. Select, for display and/or highlight for registration and other appropriate staff, the availability of any new codes that more specifically represent the primary languages of the students who previously would have been given a “99” or “UU,” or one of the previous inclusive language codes.

Step 3: Determine Whether to Change the Primary Languages of Existing Students: For LEAs with high counts of existing students with language codes of 99 or UU, LEAs may want to decide whether to change, if allowed by CALPADS, the primary language for those students to an individual language code. In making this determination, LEAs should consider the need to review their Home Language Surveys and/or re-survey those students for their primary language. It should be noted, however, based on current CALPADS validations, that LEAs will only be able to update the primary language codes of students who: (1) were enrolled at the same LEA when the ELAS was submitted to CALPADS; and (2) have ELAS start dates prior to July 1, 2020. Refer to the section further in this Flash entitled “Changing the Primary Language of Existing Students” for more specific information on which students LEAs can or cannot update the primary language.

Step 4:  Implement Local Business Processes for Identifying Primary Languages: The new CALPADS Language Code Set contains an extensive list of languages (inclusive and individual) that LEAs should utilize to choose the most appropriate language for each student before falling back on generic codes such as mis – Uncoded languages (Other non-English languages), and und – Undetermined.

LEAs are encouraged to practice due diligence by checking whether an individual language code exists and researching whether inclusive languages include an individual language. Led by identified staff, LEAs should consider implementing business processes that annually:

  1. Assess the LEA’s new student populations, particularly any immigrant student enrollment trends, and identify the primary languages of those students and their families.
  2. Provide communication and training to all appropriate staff alerting them to any codes they may likely use to report new primary languages of incoming student populations. Such staff might include registrars and staff involved in reviewing the Home Language Survey and determining whether a student must be assessed with the Initial ELPAC.  

Submitting Language Codes Beginning in 2023-24

After the transition to the new CALPADS Language Code Set in mid-September 2023, LEAs must use the new three-character language codes in field 12.14 – Primary Language Code when submitting the Student English Language Acquisition (SELA) file. Beginning in 2023−24, LEAs will also need to submit a three-character code from the new CALPADS Language Code Set in Field 9.21 – Language of Instruction Code, on the Course Section Enrollment (CRSE) file in Fall 2, and the Course Section Completion (CRSC) file in End-of-Year 1.

LEAs should consult with their SIS vendor about how language codes will be maintained in the SIS for existing students. It is our understanding that, regardless of how the codes are maintained in the SIS, the SIS vendors will map existing two-character codes to the new three-character codes (once the new codes are implemented with the school year rollover in mid-September), when the SELA file is sent to CALPADS. After the rollover, for LEAs without a SIS, if the primary language codes in the SELA file are the old two-character codes, fatal error GERR0007 – Code submitted outside the effective date range will trigger because those codes have been retired.

Changing the Primary Language of Existing Students

Generally, students’ primary language should never change. In particular, LEAs are specifically prohibited from changing students’ primary language to 00 – English or 37 – American Sign Language, unless their ELAS has been changed to EO – English Only in conjunction with a valid Language Correction Code. The new, more expansive CALPADS Language Code Set, however, does offer LEAs an opportunity to identify new languages spoken by or in the homes, not only of their new students but, of their existing students. Generally, the primary languages of these students have previously been identified using the language code 99 – Other non-English languages - 99, or UU – Unknown.

In order to enable LEAs to change the primary language codes of existing students, the new three-character codes will have effective dates of 7/1/1990 (the same as the existing two-character codes), which will enable LEAs to change the primary languages for existing students. There are, however, existing validations that limit LEAs’ ability to change primary language codes for all existing students.

Specifically, LEAs will be able to:

  • Update the primary language code for any students with an ELAS of English Learner (EL) or Initial Fluent English Proficient (IFEP), with a start date prior to July 1, 2020, and who were enrolled at the same LEA when the ELAS status was submitted to CALPADS.
  • Update the primary language code for any existing students that the LEA redesignated as Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) and who were enrolled at the same LEA when the RFEP ELAS status was submitted to CALPADS.
  • Update the primary language code of an existing student when updating the ELAS with a new status of RFEP.

LEAs will NOT be able to:

  • Update the primary language code for any students with an ELAS of EL or IFEP with a start date after July 1, 2020. (This is due to the ELAS determination of EL or IFEP being sent directly to CALPADS upon students’ completion of the Initial ELPAC).
  • Update the primary language code for any students with an ELAS of EL or IFEP that was submitted by another LEA with a ELAS Start Date prior to 7/1/2020; the prior LEA would have to make the change to the primary language. Submitting a record to change the primary language for a student whose most recent ELAS was submitted by another LEA will trigger GERR0005 – SELA: LEA does not have ownership of student enrollment to make the update.

What Language Codes LEAs Will See in CALPADS

Existing language codes in CALPADS will not be converted to the new codes. Therefore, LEAs may see, for existing students, the old two-character codes in reports, online, and in extracts. For example, prior certification reports will continue to display the old two-character language codes. If LEAs change the primary languages of existing students to the new codes, CALPADS reports will display the new codes.

Questions:   CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office | calpads@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6738
Service and Support: CALPADS-CSIS Service Desk | calpads-support@cde.ca.gov | 916-325-9210
Last Reviewed: Monday, July 17, 2023
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