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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 18, 2019

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

Updated Reclassification Guidance for 2018–19

On September 14, 2018, 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). This letter is to notify you of changes to the Summative ELPAC threshold scores and the policy decision to standardize the 2018–19 ELPAC criterion for English learner (EL) reclassification.

Existing Reclassification Criteria

The reclassification criteria set forth in California Education Code (EC) Section 313 and Title 5 California Code of Regulations (5 CCR) section 11303 remain unchanged. Local educational agencies (LEAs) should continue using the following four criteria to establish 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 ELPAC; 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 of English proficient students of the same age.

Updated Guidance: Summative ELPAC Scores and ELPAC Criterion

In November 2018, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved new Summative ELPAC threshold scores by grade level for K–8 and by grade span for grades 9–10 and grades 11–12, which are reported on a Level 1–4 scale. LEAs will use the new scores to determine level designation for ELP beginning with the 2018–19 Summative ELPAC administration.

In January 2019, based on the new 2018–19 Summative ELPAC threshold scores, the SBE approved the 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. All other criteria remain locally determined. 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 English learners.

Use of Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Results for Reclassification

The CDE continues to provide the following guidelines for LEAs using Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment results as a local measure of the fourth criterion:

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

For reclassification information and Frequently Asked Questions, please contact the Language Policy and Leadership Office by phone at 916-319-0845 or visit the CDE Reclassification web page at

For questions related to EL assessment, please contact the English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office by email at



Thomas Adams, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent
Teaching and Learning 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: Thursday, March 14, 2024

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