Key Messages—ELPAC Transition to the Computer-Based Assessment and Alternate ELPAC

These key messages are provided to promote consistent messaging about the ELPAC and Alternate ELPAC online and the transition to a computer-based assessment. These key messages will be provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) to help their communications and support their stakeholder outreach efforts.

Transitioning the ELPAC from paper-based to computer-based delivery aligns with the state’s mission to equip students with 21st century skills needed to succeed in college and career.

  • Like other tests under the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), the ELPAC will be administered online to students in grades three through twelve, allowing LEAs to access results much earlier than the paper-pencil tests, helping inform critical decisions in a timely way. For earlier grades—kindergarten through grade 2, students will take a paper-pencil test for writing, and results will come in later than the computer-based results.
  • The computer-based ELPAC more closely aligns with what students in grades three through twelve are familiar with in statewide testing.
  • Students in kindergarten through grade two will be introduced to the technology they will use as they progress through their educational careers.
  • The computer-based ELPAC will also foster educators’ use of technology in the classroom throughout the school year, both in their daily instruction and as they prepare administration of the test.

The Summative ELPAC is used as one of multiple measures for reclassifying students who are English learners (ELs).

Once a student is classified as EL based on the Initial ELPAC, to ensure that EL students are appropriately reclassified, California uses criteria that includes Summative ELPAC scores, teacher input, and parent or guardian consultation and a comparison to English-proficient students of how students perform in basic English skills.

Information about how students are reclassified are available in detail on the California Department of Education’s EL Reclassification web page external icon.

Supports are available to all students in the transition to the computer-based ELPAC.

  • As experienced during the shift in the California Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the Smarter Balanced assessments, it will take time for students to get accustomed to taking the computer-based ELPAC.
  • Practice tests will be available in November 2019 and training tests will be available in September 2019 for students and teachers to become familiar with using the ELPAC online.
  • The Technology Readiness Checker for Students (TRCS) will be available for LEAs to help identify supports for students.
  • Assistance with technology and the navigation of the online testing platform will be available across all grades for students with limited technology experience.

California has taken steps to ensure that ELPAC scores are consistent in the transition to an online platform.

With the involvement of assessment and English language experts, California, along with Educational Testing Service (ETS), will be conducting a mode comparability study in fall 2019 between the computer-based test and the paper-based test. The results of the study will be used to determine an appropriate scale of scores for the online test and identify opportunities to improve test delivery.

The computer-based ELPAC allows for faster turnaround of student test results to educators.

Educators and parents will have student test results faster to inform critical decisions about instructional support and EL reclassification.

The computer-based ELPAC allows for a more engaging and dynamic test and an opportunity for continuous improvement of test development.

  • The full-color visuals and the online testing platform allows more student interaction than a paper-based assessment.
  • As we continue to gather more data and engage stakeholder feedback during test development, further technology-enhanced features will be considered and can gradually be implemented after the computer-based ELPAC is administered.

Moving ELPAC online will create a streamlined statewide test administration process.

Students and educators will now be using a single assessment system, one they are familiar with from the other California tests.

California is in the process of developing the Alternate ELPAC, which is a statewide assessment that will provide a consistent, standardized measurement of English language proficiency for English learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

  • Once operational, for the first time, California will have a statewide assessment of English proficiency for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities giving them the opportunity to more accurately demonstrate their progress toward English language proficiency.
  • The Alternate ELPAC is an online test aligned to Connectors adapted from the 2012 California English Language Development Standards.
    • The Alternate ELPAC consists of an initial assessment used as a screener for incoming students to classify students as English learners and a Summative Assessment used to measure progress in developing English proficiency and to inform reclassification decisions.
  • LEAs, educators, and parents will be able to provide students better support using data from the Alternate ELPAC. It will also help inform decisions on reclassification and assist in providing proper instruction to EL students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

The Alternate ELPAC is being developed using rigorous standards of assessment development along with input from California educators and assessment experts.

  • To ensure that students receive a high-quality assessment, the Alternate ELPAC will go through an extensive development process that includes pilot testing using cognitive lab methodology and field testing. The Alternate ELPAC will be piloted in January 2020 and then field-tested in 2021. The Initial Alternate ELPAC will become operational in July 2021, followed by the operational Summative Alternate ELPAC in February 2022.
  • During the 2019-20 school year, LEAs will continue to use locally determined Alternate English Language Proficiency assessments.

The Alternate ELPAC delivered online will create a consistent statewide test-administration process.

  • LEAs will no longer have to rely on local measures to identify and assess EL students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. A statewide Alternate ELPAC will provide consistency in test administration, results, and comparability across LEAs.
  • Like the ELPAC, the Alternate ELPAC will include an initial assessment and a summative assessment.
  • Consistent with the CAAs for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, the Alternate ELPAC will be administered to students in a one-on-one setting.
  • Students and educators will now interact with a single assessment platform ensuring technological parity between the Alternate ELPAC and the other California tests.
  • Accessibility and universal tools features will be more consistent across all California tests.

The Alternate ELPAC online allows for a more engaging and dynamic test and an opportunity for continuous improvement of the test development.

As we continue to gather more data and engage stakeholder feedback during the test-development process, including piloting and field testing, enhancements can be implemented.

The Alternate ELPAC is used as one of multiple measures for reclassifying EL students with significant cognitive disabilities.

California will use a list of alternate reclassification criteria that includes Alternate ELPAC scores, teacher input, parent or guardian consultation, and a comparison of Alternate ELPAC scores to the scores of non-EL students who take the CAA for ELA to ensure students are appropriately reclassified.

Supports are available to all students in the transition to the computer-based ELPAC and implementing the Alternate ELPAC.

  • The computer-based ELPAC provides all students access to new technology with enhanced accessibility resources.
  • Administering the ELPAC through an online platform allows consistent delivery of accessibility resources commonly used in CAASPP assessments.
  • To meet the needs of students taking the computer-based ELPAC and to support greater access for all students, including those with disabilities, enhanced accessibility resources will be allowed—such as assistance with technology, test navigation, and additional accommodations.
  • Practice and training tests will be available for students and teachers to become familiar with the computer-based ELPAC and Alternate ELPAC.