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2021-22 ELPAC FAQs

Frequently asked questions and answers about the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).

Alternate ELPAC

  1. If a student is identified as eligible for the Alternate ELPAC after the testing window closes, how should they be assessed?

    The operational field-testing window for the 2021–22 Alternate ELPAC is November 1, 2021 through February 15, 2022.

    Districts are encouraged to test all eligible English learner students with the most signification cognitive disabilities during that time. Closer to the end of the window, the California Department of Education will evaluate their progress and determine next steps at that time.

  2. When will the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test take place?

    The Alternate ELPAC Field Test will take place from November 1, 2021 through February 15, 2022.

  1. I’ve heard that when a student is registered for the Alternate ELPAC, they will automatically be registered for the alternate CAASPP assessments. Does “Alt for All” work the opposite way as well? If a student is registered for the Alternate CAASPP, will they automatically be assigned the Alternate ELPAC?

    English Language Learner students registered for the Alternate CAASPP will automatically be assigned the Alternate ELPAC in the Test Operations Management System. With respect to students identified with a specific learning disability, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determination that the student has been identified with a specific learning disability rules out the consideration of the student being identified as cognitively impaired. For more information, please visit: Alternate Assessment IEP Team Guidance.

  2. What are threshold scores for the Alternate ELPAC?

    The Alternate ELPAC threshold scores refer to the overall score given to a student based on their performance on the test, including all receptive and expressive test questions. Threshold scores are anticipated to be brought to the State Board of Education in May 2022 for consideration and approval.

  3. If an eligible student does not take the Alternate ELPAC Field Test during the testing window, can they take the Alternate ELPAC during the regular Summative ELPAC window?

    It is requested that LEAs administer the Alternate ELPAC Field Test to all eligible students before February 15, 2022.

  4. Is participation in the English Only (EO) Study optional?

    Yes, the EO Study for the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test is optional. To ensure that the operational field test items are measuring students’ ELP, a sample of EO students with the most significant cognitive disabilities will take the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test. Each LEA will be asked to test a small number of EO students based on the number of eligible ELs that LEA will be testing. LEAs will receive a stipend based on the number of EO students tested. Information will be emailed in early September 2021.

    If you have specific questions about your LEA’s preparation for the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test and participation in the EO Study, contact the Sacramento County Office of Education at

  5. Will Alternate ELPAC Student Score Reports (SSRs) look different from the Initial or Summative ELPAC SSRs?

    Since the Alternate ELPAC uses integrated domains (i.e. receptive and expressive items), it will look different from the SSRs for Initial and Summative ELPAC. Also, it has its own performance levels, and the threshold scores will be developed at the standard setting in February 2022 and proposed to the State Board of Education in May 2022 for approval.

  6. If a local educational agency (LEA) was selected for Second Scoring for the Alternate ELPAC this year, is the LEA also automatically selected for second scoring for California Alternate Assessments-English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) or will these be separate groups?

    These are separate groups. To find out if your LEA has been selected you can use the look up tool located on the Second Scoring Assignments for the 2021–22 Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test Administration web page External link opens in new window or tab.. There may be some overlap.

  7. If English Learner (EL) students take the Alternate Assessment during the November 2021 to February 2022 field test window, when will they take the Alternate ELPAC next?

    All EL students who are eligible for alternate assessments must be administered the Summative Alternate ELPAC beginning February 1, 2023 through May 31, 2023.  If the student is reclassified and is no longer EL, then the test will not be required. As long as the student is classified as an English learner and their IEP indicates that they are eligible for the alternate assessment, they will take the Summative Alternate ELPAC annually until they are reclassified as fluent English proficient.

  8. Will there be an Initial Alternate ELPAC in addition to the Summative Alternate ELPAC?

    Yes. The Initial Alternate ELPAC will become operational starting July 1, 2022 (pending the annual rollover to update systems). The Initial Alternate ELPAC will replace all locally determined alternate assessments for Initial identification purposes from that point forward.

  9. Will accommodations and designated supports be available for students taking the Alternate ELPAC similar to the Summative and Initial ELPAC?

    Yes. Accommodations and designated supports will be available to Alternate ELPAC students. Please refer to the California Assessment Accessibility Resources Matrix.

  10. Which schools or local educational agencies will participate in the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test?

    All districts that have eligible English learner students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are expected to participate, as this is a census field test.

Summative ELPAC/Reclassification

  1. How soon upon receipt from testing contractor must 2020–21 Summative ELPAC SSRs be sent out to parents?

    LEAs must send Summative ELPAC SSRs to parents and guardians within 30 days of receipt if still in session during 2020–21. If received during the summer break, they must be sent within the first 15 working days of the 2021–22 school year.

  2. Which modes of communication can we utilize to notify parents of SSRs?

    There are four options available to LEAS for the distribution of electronic SSRs to parents and guardians. (1) access electronic SSRs using a locally provided parent portal or student portal; (2) download SSRs from the Test Operations Management System (TOMs) and make available electronically via a secure local method; (3) download SSRs from TOMS, print, and make available locally; or (4) purchase video SSRs from ETS. LEAs must also have a procedure in place to ensure that parents/guardians are receiving them in case of email or text bounce backs, or returned mail, etc.

  3. What happens to a student’s summative test results when they are Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP)?
    For 2020–21, results for students who were reclassified after the student started testing but before they completed testing will be excluded from the end-of-year file. For those who completed testing prior to reclassification, their results will be included in the end-of-year file unless the LEA entered a Security and Test Administration Irregularity Report System (STAIRS) case to remove them prior to the end of the testing window.

Initial ELPAC

  1. When will the Observation Protocol for Teachers of English Learners (OPTEL) training be offered?
    LEAs will be asked to participate in the OPTEL field test this year. General information about the OPTEL and updates will be published in the Assessment Spotlight newsletter as they become available. For more information about OPTEL, please contact the Multilingual Support Division at

Training and Certification

  1. How many test examiners must be certified to administer the Initial ELPAC in each district?

    Each LEA must have at least one certified Initial ELPAC test examiner or a Memorandum of Understanding with another district or county office to support Initial ELPAC testing. Local needs would determine further staffing requirements.

  2. If you were trained in the Alternate ELPAC last year, do you need to be recertified again?

    No, if you certified to administer the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test last year, there is no need to recertify. However, be sure that all test examiners are familiar with the test content and materials of the current grade of their eligible students.

  3. Will the Alternate ELPAC LEA certification need to be completed for the 2021–22 test administration window?
    Yes, all LEA ELPAC coordinators will need to complete the training certification this year if they have eligible English learner students in their district and they didn't complete certification last year.

Parent Communication

  1. Do we report Initial ELPAC results within 30 days of testing or 30 days of enrollment?

    Initial ELPAC results must be reported to parents/guardians within 30 calendar days of student enrollment (defined as their first day of instruction).

Questions:   English Language Proficiency and Spanish Assessments Office | | 916-319-0784
Last Reviewed: Friday, October 1, 2021
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