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English Language Proficiency Assessments for CA - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

The English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) was established in 2018. The Summative ELPAC became operational on February 1, 2018. The Initial ELPAC became operational on July 1, 2018. The ELPAC replaced the California English Language Development Test (CELDT), which became inoperative on June 30, 2018.

The ELPAC satisfies the federal law which requires a statewide English language proficiency (ELP) test that local educational agencies (LEAs) must administer to: (1) newly enrolled students whose primary language is not English, as an initial assessment; and (2) students who are English learners (ELs) who have not been reclassified as fluent English proficient (RFEP), as a summative assessment. The initial ELPAC identifies students who are ELs, or initial fluent English proficient. The summative ELPAC assesses the progress of ELs in acquiring the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English.

Student Participation

ELPAC regulations require LEAs to administer the Initial ELPAC to all eligible students in kindergarten through twelve (K–12), ages three through twenty-one, whose primary language is a language other than English, to determine whether they are ELs, within 30 calendar days after they are first enrolled in a California public school or 60 calendar days prior to instruction, but not before July 1. LEAs also are required to administer the Summative ELPAC annually to students identified as ELs until they are RFEP.

Content and Format

The ELPAC assesses public school students in K–12 in the following four domains in English:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

It is aligned with the English language development standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). The task types included in the ELPAC are detailed in the ELPAC Initial and Summative Domain Information Sheets, located on the CDE ELPAC web page.

Reporting and Using Results

Summative ELPAC

In 2017, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) proposed threshold and composite weight adoptions for the Summative ELPAC. In 2018, the SSPI approved threshold and composite weight adoptions for the Initial ELPAC. The ELPAC allows for differential weights in the calculation of the Overall performance level for each grade span. The preliminary weight recommendations for the Summative and Initial ELPAC are presented in the chart below:

Grade Oral Language Composite (Listening and Speaking) Written Language Composite (Reading and Writing)
Kindergarten
70
30
Grades 1–12
50
50

Once testing is completed, individual student reports and student data files are sent to the LEA by the testing contractor. Section 3302 of Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (20 United States Code Section 7012) states that LEAs that receive Title III funds shall inform parents or guardians of the following:

  • The reasons for the student’s identification as an EL based on the ELPAC results
  • The need for placement in an English language instructional support program

In addition, LEAs that receive Title III funds shall inform parents or guardians of the pupil’s results:

  • within 30 days after receipt of Summative ELPAC results (EC 3302 [a]), or
  • within two weeks of the start of the next school year (if the results are received after the last day of instruction [EC 3302 {d}])

The Summative ELPAC results show the overall English performance level attained by students, as well as performance for each composite. The performance levels are reported as the following:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3
  • Level 4

Summative ELPAC data is used to calculate the English Language Progress Indicators (ELPI) for the California School Dashboard. ELPAC results are now used for federal accountability as required by Title I (See the ELPI Calculation web page.).

Initial ELPAC

In 2018, the SSPI approved threshold and composite weight adoptions for the Initial ELPAC. The ELPAC allows for differential weights in the calculation of the Overall performance level for each grade span. The preliminary weight recommendations for the Initial ELPAC are presented in the chart below:

Grade Oral Language Composite (Listening and Speaking) Written Language Composite (Reading and Writing)
Kindergarten
90
10
Grades 1
70
30
Grades 2–12
50

50


Students are given the Initial Assessment within 30 days of when they enroll at the school. Once testing is completed, LEAs score the operational assessments locally and use the local scoring tool (LST) to input raw hand-scored results. LEAs have two options for LST use during the summer, before the first day of classes:

  1. Request a Statewide Student Identifier, submit the English language acquisition status record of “To Be Determined”, and enter raw student scores into the LST to generate an official score.
  2. Use the preliminary score template to score the Initial ELPAC by hand and retain the results until the student arrives on the first day of school. Follow option 1 once student is enrolled.

Section 3302 of Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (20 United States Code Section 7012) states that LEAs that receive Title III funds shall inform parents or guardians of the following:

  • The reasons for the student’s identification as an EL based on the ELPAC results
  • The need for placement in an English language instructional support program

In addition, LEAs that receive Title III funds shall inform parents or guardians of the pupil’s results:

  • within 30 days of enrollment

The Initial ELPAC results show the overall scale score and performance level attained by students. The performance levels are reported as the following:

  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • IFEP

Public Reporting

The California Department of Education (CDE) public web reporting posts two types of reports (summative and initial) at four levels (state, county, district, and school) annually. Summary results are reported for all students and for a number of reporting categories that include gender, enrollment in specified student groups, and primary languages. These results are posted on DataQuest.

Interim Reclassification Guidance

This guidance established by the CDE, using the SBE-approved (November 2017) preliminary threshold scores for the Summative ELPAC can be found on the CDE Reclassification web page. This guidance clarifies the EC criteria in Section 313(d) to be used in reclassifying a pupil from EL to RFEP during this transition from the CELDT to the ELPAC.

For more information regarding the ELPAC, contact the ELPAC Office by phone at 916-319-0784 or by email at elpac@cde.ca.gov. Information is also available on the CDE ELPAC web page.

Questions:   English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office | elpac@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0784
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 7, 2018
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