The assessment used in California to determine initial language proficiency in English is known as the English Language Proficiency Assessment for California or ELPAC. Federal and state laws require school districts to test students whose primary home language is not English as indicated on the Home Language survey.
All students in transitional kindergarten through grade twelve, whose primary language is not English, must take the ELPAC within 30 calendar days after they enroll at a California public school for the first time. The Summative English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC) must be given each spring to English learners until they have achieved the District’s criteria to reclassify and exit the English learner program. Students who have disabilities that prevent them from taking the ELPAC, may be tested with assistance and/or take alternate tests. All assistance or alternate tests must be noted in their Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan.
When a child first takes the ELPAC, it is referred to as the initial ELPAC test. The results are used to help identify English learners needing to develop their skills in English through English Language Development (ELD). An English learner (EL) is a student with a primary language other than English who needs extra language instruction to learn the skills in English required for success in regular school programs.
Each year, ELs take the summative ELPAC. The results from the summative ELPAC are used to monitor the progress of these students toward learning English. School districts also use summative ELPAC results as one of four measures to help decide when students may be reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP). The four measures students must meet in order to reclassify will be addressed later in this toolkit.