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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
February 8, 2024

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.

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
  • For questions regarding programs and services for EL students, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office at
  • For questions regarding the ELPAC assessment, the Informational Guide, or assessment materials, please contact the English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office at
  • 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

Thank you for your attention to this important annual obligation to EL students.


Signed by

Cheryl Cotton
Deputy Superintendent
Instruction, Measurement, and Administration Branch

Sarah Neville-Morgan
Deputy Superintendent
Opportunities for All Branch                                                                               

Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 8, 2024

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