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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 2, 2018

Dear County Superintendents, District Superintendents, and Direct-funded Charter School Administrators:

Interim Reclassification Guidance for 2017–18

On April 28, 2017, the California Department of Education (CDE) provided guidance regarding reclassification options during the transition from the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) to the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC). Options included, but were not limited to, administering the CELDT RETEST or using 2016–17 CELDT scores.

Given that the summative ELPAC is scheduled to be operational on February 1, 2018, the CDE is providing interim reclassification guidance utilizing the State Board of Education (SBE)-approved (November 2017) preliminary overall threshold scores at

Interim Guidance for the English Language Proficiency Assessment Criterion

Once the Summative ELPAC is operational, local educational agencies (LEAs) may elect to use these results to determine whether or not a student has met the English language proficiency assessment criterion, in addition to the existing reclassification criteria listed below. Because the threshold scores at this time are preliminary, LEAs may locally determine their own ELPAC threshold scores, in combination with the general performance level descriptors provided at, for reclassification purposes until the SBE approves the final threshold scores in fall 2018, at which time the CDE will provide new reclassification guidance for the 2018–19 school year and beyond.

Existing Reclassification Criteria

As a reminder, since the 2015–16 school year, the reclassification criteria, pursuant to California Education Code Section 313, has remained unchanged. However, Senate Bill 463 (Lara), which is currently under review, could impact reclassification criteria. If it becomes law, the CDE would issue further reclassification guidance.

At this time, LEAs are to continue using the following four criteria to establish local reclassification policies and procedures:

  1. Assessment of English language proficiency (ELP), using an objective assessment instrument, including, but not limited to, the state test of English language development; and
  2. Teacher evaluation, including, but not limited to, a review of the student’s curriculum mastery; and
  3. Parent opinion and consultation; and
  4. Comparison of student performance in basic skills against an empirically established range of performance in basic skills based on the performance of English proficient students of the same age.

In spring 2015, LEAs administered the first operational Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. On September 16, 2015, the CDE provided guidance to LEAs for using those results, if they chose, as a local measure of the fourth criterion. The guidance is available on the CDE Reclassification web page at LEAs were also advised that they could identify local assessments to be used to determine English learners (ELs) who were meeting academic measures that indicated they were ready to be reclassified. This guidance regarding the fourth criterion remains unchanged.

Use of the CELDT RETEST for Reclassification

January 31, 2018, is the last day that LEAs can administer the CELDT RETEST if it is being scored locally. However, LEAs may continue to use the CELDT RETEST scores for reclassification throughout the Summative ELPAC window (February 1 through May 31, 2018). If students do not meet the reclassification criteria, they must take the Summative ELPAC.

As a reminder, California regulations (5 California Code of Regulations, sections 11303 Reclassification and 11308 [c][6] Advisory Committee) specify that any local reclassification criteria must be reviewed by the school district committee on programs and services for ELs.

If you have questions regarding the reclassification policy, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office by phone at 916-319-0845. For more information on reclassification, please visit the CDE Reclassification web page at

For questions related to the assessment of ELs, please contact the English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office, by phone at 916-319-0784 or by email



Thomas Adams
Deputy Superintendent
Instruction, Learning, and Standards Support Branch


Keric Ashley
Deputy Superintendent
Performance, Planning, and Technology Branch

TA/KA: md/ta

cc: Regional Assessment Network
Title III Directors
Bilingual Coordinators Network
LEA ELPAC Coordinators
CELDT District Coordinators

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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