Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:
English Language Proficiency Assessment Requirement
The California Department of Education (CDE) values the partnership of local educational agencies (LEAs) in supporting English learner (EL) students. The purpose of this letter is to remind all LEAs of the obligation to annually assess each enrolled EL student for English language proficiency (ELP) using the state’s test until they exit from EL services, which occurs at reclassification.
The CDE established an annual summative ELP testing window from February 1 to May 31, during which time LEAs are required to administer the Summative English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) or Summative Alternate ELPAC to each EL student (See Title 5, California Code of Regulations [5 CCR], Section 11518.15[a]).
The ELPAC is the state’s assessment used to determine the ELP of students who have been determined to be eligible for EL services. The ELPAC is aligned to the state’s English language development standards. Progress toward ELP is determined based on the progress results of the students’ annual Summative ELPAC or Summative Alternate ELPAC.
For accountability purposes, any LEA (and any applicable schools within that LEA) will receive a modified outcome on the California School Dashboard’s English Learner Progress Indicator (ELPI) if their participation rate in assessing EL students falls below 95 percent of enrolled EL students.
All students have a right to an equal and appropriate education, and any English language limitations left unidentified and/or unaddressed could preclude a student from accessing that right. (See 5 CCR, Section 11518; California Education Code Section 313, Section 60810, Section 3102 [20 U.S. Code Section 6812], Section 3111 [20 U.S. Code Section 6821], and Section 3115 [20 U.S. Code Section 6825]; and Titles I and Ill of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA], which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA]).
ESEA, as amended by ESSA, requires all EL students enrolled in schools served by the state to be assessed annually using the state’s ELP assessment. Each year, the LEA assures compliance with all assessment requirements when applying for any funds under ESSA. If the LEA fails to assess all EL students, the LEA may be selected for a Federal Program Monitoring Review. (See Code of Federal Regulations, Title 2, sections 200.208, 200.332).
The resources below are available to assist LEAs in meeting state and federal requirements for assessing all enrolled EL students with the Summative ELPAC or Summative Alternate ELPAC.
- The January 7, 2015, U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Justice “Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Student and Limited English Proficient Parents,” which reiterates the requirement of annually assessing the ELP of EL students. The letter is available at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-el-201501.pdf.
- Additional information on equal educational opportunities for EL students is available from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights web page at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/frontpage/pro-students/issues/roi-issue03.html.
- The CDE ELPAC Information Guide provides information regarding the process and protocols for administering the ELPAC and guidance for making critical decisions for students who, based on the outcomes of the assessment, are identified as or continue to be English learners. The 2023–24 ELPAC Information Guide is available on the CDE website at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ep/documents/elpacinfoguide24.docx.
- Further information regarding California’s statewide test for ELP is available on the CDE ELPAC web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ep/.
Questions related to this requirement for ELP assessment can be directed to the following contacts:
- For questions regarding the California School Dashboard, including the ELPI calculation, please contact the Analysis, Measurement, and Accountability Reporting Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For questions regarding programs and services for EL students, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office at LPLO@cde.ca.gov.
- For questions regarding the ELPAC assessment, the Informational Guide, or assessment materials, please contact the English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office at ELPAC@cde.ca.gov.
- For questions regarding requirements in ESSA, Title III, English Language Acquisition Program for English Learners and Immigrant Youth, please contact the Technical Assistance and Monitoring Office at TAMO@cde.ca.gov.
Thank you for your attention to this important annual obligation to EL students.
Instruction, Measurement, and Administration Branch
Opportunities for All Branch