ELPAC Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of ELPAC?

State law (California Education Code section 313 ↗ and California Education Code section 60810 ↗) and federal laws (Titles I and III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) require that local educational agencies (LEAs) administer a state test of English language proficiency to (1) newly enrolled students whose primary language is not English, as an initial assessment, and (2) students who are English learners (ELs), as an annual summative assessment. For California’s public school students, this test is the ELPAC.

The ELPAC is used to identify and monitor EL students’ progress toward English language proficiency. EL students continue to take the Summative ELPAC annually until they meet their LEA’s reclassification criteria.

Can parents/guardians opt their child out of the ELPAC?

No. Parents and guardians cannot opt their child out of the ELPAC. State law (California) and federal law (Titles I and Ill of the Every Student Succeeds Act) require that all students whose primary language is a language other than English be assessed for English language proficiency (ELP). The legal basis for requiring ELP testing is that all students have the right to an equal and appropriate education, and any English language limitations (left unidentified or unaddressed) could preclude a student from accessing that right.

Which students are required to take the ELPAC?

Any student with a primary language other than English, as determined by a home language survey, who has not taken the California English Language Development Test or ELPAC before and who has not been previously classified as an EL, must take the Initial ELPAC.

Students designated as ELs via the Initial ELPAC are required to take the Summative ELPAC annually until they are reclassified as fluent English proficient by their LEA.

If a student takes the Initial ELPAC and is classified as an English Learner during the Summative ELPAC administration window, will the student be required to take the Summative ELPAC as well?

Yes, if a student takes the Initial ELPAC and is classified as an EL prior to May 31, the student will be required to take the Summative ELPAC as well.

How is the ELPAC administered?

The Summative and Initial ELPAC tests are delivered on a computer-based test delivery platform identical to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The four domains (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) will be administered by computer, with the exception of the Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two, which will remain on paper.

Who can administer the ELPAC?

Per California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11518(I) ↗, ELPAC assessments can only be administered by employees or contractors of an LEA or nonpublic school who are proficient in English, have received formal ELPAC Administration and Scoring Training, and have signed a Test Security Affidavit.

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).