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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
July 1, 2020

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

COVID-19 Reclassification Guidance for 2019–2020 and Fall Administration

In January and September 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. This letter is to provide reclassification guidance, given the suspension of the California assessment due to the (COVID-19) pandemic, and notify you of future adjustments to the Summative ELPAC testing schedule.

Existing Reclassification Criteria

The reclassification criteria set forth in California Education Code Section 313 and Title 5 California Code of Regulations 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;
  2. Teacher evaluation, including, but not limited to, a review of the student's curriculum mastery;
  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.

ELPAC Overall Performance Level (PL) 4 has been established as the statewide standardized ELP criterion (1), and LEAs shall use Overall PL 4 to determine whether a student has met that criterion. All other reclassification criteria (2–4) remain locally determined.

COVID-19 Reclassification Guidance

Due to the school closures aforementioned and resulting circumstances caused by COVID-19, the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC was suspended for accountability purposes. The CDE is providing the following reclassification guidance for criteria 1 and 4:

  • Criterion 1: For those students who completed testing in 2019–2020, LEAs will use the results from the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC to determine reclassification eligibility. For those students who did not complete testing in the spring of 2019–2020, an optional fall Summative ELPAC window will be open and available between August 20–October 30, 2020. During this window, LEAs can administer the optional fall Summative ELPAC and use the results to meet criterion 1 eligibility for reclassification. The optional fall Summative ELPAC is highly recommended for all English learner students who have already met all other criteria in 2019–2020 except for criterion 1, particularly in grades four to eleven.
  • Criterion 4: For all grade levels, LEAs can use most recent local assessments or the Smarter Balanced Summative English language arts assessments.

More information regarding the details of the optional fall 2020 administration of the Summative ELPAC for reclassification purposes will be provided at a later date through the LEA ELPAC coordinators.

For more reclassification information, please 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



Sarah Neville-Morgan, Deputy Superintendent
Opportunities for All 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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