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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
September 2, 2019

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

Reclassification Guidance for 2019–20

On January 18, 2019, the California Department of Education (CDE) provided guidance regarding changes to the Summative English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) threshold scores and the policy decision to standardize the ELPAC criterion to inform English learner (EL) student reclassification decisions. As set forth in this letter, the CDE continues to provide the same reclassification guidance for the 2019–20 school year.

Summative ELPAC Scores and Statewide ELPAC Criterion

Beginning with the 2018–19 administration, local educational agencies (LEAs) use the California State Board of Education (SBE)-approved Summative ELPAC threshold cut scores to determine English language proficiency (ELP) level designation.

In January 2019, based on the 2018–19 Summative ELPAC threshold scores, the SBE approved use of ELPAC Overall Performance Level (PL) 4 as the statewide standardized ELP criterion for reclassification beginning with the 2018–19 Summative ELPAC administration for grades K–12. Therefore, LEAs shall use Overall PL 4 to determine whether a student has met the ELP assessment criterion. No additional sub scores or criteria should be added to the Overall PL 4 determination. All other reclassification criteria remain locally determined.

Existing Reclassification Criteria

The reclassification criteria set forth in California Education Code (EC) Section 313, and further detailed in Title 5 California Code of Regulations (5 CCR) section 11303, remain unchanged. Accordingly, LEAs should continue using the following four criteria; with the SBE approved standardization of criterion 1 as ELPAC Overall PL 4. The remaining criteria continue to be locally determined.

  1. Assessment of ELP, using an objective assessment instrument, including, but not limited to, the state test of ELPAC (ELPAC Overall PL 4 only); 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.

Pursuant to 5 CCR, 11308 (c)(6) (Advisory Committees), any local reclassification procedures must be reviewed by the school district advisory committee on programs and services for EL students.

Use of Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Results for Reclassification

The CDE continues to provide the following guidance for LEAs using Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for English language arts/literacy (ELA) results as a local measure of the fourth criterion:

  • For all grade levels, LEAs can identify local assessments to be used to determine whether EL students are meeting academic measures and are ready to be reclassified; and
  • For grade levels 3–8, and 11, LEAs also have the option of using Smarter Balanced Summative ELA results to determine whether EL students are meeting academic measures and are ready to be reclassified.

For questions regarding student reclassification, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office by phone at 916-319-0845. For reclassification information, please visit the CDE Reclassification web page at

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



Sarah Neville-Morgan, Deputy Superintendent
Student Support Branch


cc: Regional Assessment Network
Title III Directors
Title III Regional County Office of Education English Learner Specialists
Bilingual Coordinators Network
LEA ELPAC Coordinators

Last Reviewed: Monday, May 01, 2023

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