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Parent Guide to Understanding the ELPAC


This page is the Accessible Alternative Version (AAV) of the A Parent Guide to Understanding the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) flyer (PDF). The Adobe Portable Document Format should be the preferred version for downloading.

Available translations of A Parent Guide to Understanding the ELPAC.


The ELPAC is the test that is used to measure how well students in kindergarten through twelfth grade understand English when it is not their primary language. The ELPAC is taking the place of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). Information from the ELPAC helps your child’s teacher provide support in the right areas.

The ELPAC has two parts:

Initial Assessment

Who: Students will take the Initial Assessment if:

  • the student has a primary language other than English
  • the student has not taken the CELDT or ELPAC before, and
  • the student has not been classified before as an English learner.

What: The Initial Assessment is used to identify students as either an English learner who needs to support to learn English, or as proficient in English.

When: Students are given the Initial Assessment within 30 days of when they enroll at the school.

Why: Identifying students who need help learning in English is important so these students can get the extra help they need to do well in school and access the full curriculum. Every year students who are English learners will take the ELPAC summative to measure their progress in learning English.

Summative Assessment

Who: The Summative Assessment is given to students who are identified as an English learner on the Initial Assessment.

What: The Summative Assessment is used to measure the skills of English learners. The results will help tell the school or district if the student is ready to be reclassified as proficient in English.

When: Students who are English learners are given the Summative Assessment every spring between February and May until they are reclassified as English proficient.

Why: Identifying students who need help learning in English is important so these students can get the extra help they need to do well in school and access the full curriculum. Every year students who are English learners will take the ELPAC summative to measure their progress in learning English.

The ELPAC tests four different area:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

Do students with disabilities take the ELPAC?

Yes, the ELPAC has been designed so that students, including those with special needs, can participate in the test and demonstrate what they know and can do. As a result, the test includes accessibility resources that address visual, auditory, and physical access barriers—allowing virtually all students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

How Can I Help My Child Get Ready for the ELPAC?

You are an important part of your child's education. Some things you can do to help your child are:

  • Read to your child, or have your child read to you in English, daily.
  • Use pictures and ask your child to tell you in English what they seein the picture or what is happening in the picture.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about which areas of learning English (listening, speaking, reading, writing) he or she may need extra help.
  • Discuss the test with your child. Make sure he or she feels comfortable and understands the importance of taking the test.

The ELPAC is aligned with the California English Language Development Standards (PDF).

For More Information

California Department of Education ELPAC Web page or the Educational Testing Service ELPAC Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

More information about your child's ELPAC scores can be found by contacting your child's teacher and/or the school office.

Questions:   English Language Proficiency Assessments Office | elpac@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0784
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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