A Parent Guide to Understanding
The English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)
The ELPAC is the test that is used to measure how well students in kindergarten (K) through grade twelve understand English when it is not their primary language. Information from the ELPAC helps your child’s teacher provide support in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
The ELPAC has two parts:
Students take the Initial ELPAC if they have a primary language other than English and have never been previously classified as English learners.
Students are given the Initial ELPAC within 30 days of when they first enroll in a California school.
The Initial ELPAC is used to identify a student as either an English learner who needs support to learn English, or as fluent English proficient.
Identifying students who need help learning English is important so students can get the support they need to do well in school while receiving instruction in all school subjects.
The Summative ELPAC is given to students who are identified as English learners.
The Summative ELPAC 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 fluent English proficient.
Students who are English learners are given the Summative ELPAC every spring, between February and May, until they are reclassified as fluent English proficient.
The Summative ELPAC is an untimed computer-based test. Students in K through grade two will continue to take the Writing portion of the test on paper. Students in K through grade two will be tested on a one-to-one basis.
Students who are identified as English learners will take the Summative ELPAC to measure their progress in learning English.
The ELPAC tests four different areas:
Do students with disabilities take the ELPAC?
Yes, the ELPAC has been designed so students, including those with special needs, can participate in the test and show 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?
- Read to your child, or have your child read to you, on a regular basis.
- Use pictures and ask your child to tell you what they see in the picture or what is happening in the picture.
- Provide your child with opportunities to use language outside of school.
- Talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to help support your child’s progress.
The ELPAC is aligned to the California English Language Development Standards. These standards can be found at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/documents/eldstndspublication14.pdf.
Sample questions, as well as links to practice tests and resources, are available on the Starting Smarter web page at https://elpac.startingsmarter.org.
More information about the ELPAC can be found on the California Department of Education ELPAC web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ep/.
For more information about your child’s scores, contact your child’s teacher or the school office.