About the ELPAC


Currently, the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is the mandated state test for determining English language proficiency (ELP). It must be given to students whose primary language is one other than English. California and federal law require that local educational agencies administer a state test of ELP to eligible students in kindergarten—or year one of a two-year kindergarten program, also referred to as transitional kindergarten—through grade twelve. The ELPAC is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards and is comprised of two separate ELP assessments: The Initial ELPAC, Summative ELPAC, and the Alternate ELPAC.

Types of ELPAC Assessments and Administration

Initial ELPAC—primary identification of students as English learners (ELs).

  • The administration window is July 1 to June 30.
  • See the How to Complete the Initial ELPAC Process quick reference guide for instructions on the process that begins upon a student's first enrollment in a California public school.

Summative ELPAC—an annual assessment to measure an English Learners progress and to identify the student's ELP level.

  • The administration window is February 1 to May 31.

Alternate ELPAC—Students who are English learners (ELs) or potential ELs and whose individualized education program (IEP) team designates the use of an alternate assessment. The Alternate ELPAC is an annual assessment to measure and to identify the student's ELP level for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

  • The Statewide Operational Summative and Initial Field Test: January through February of 2021
  • Administered one-on-one with a Certified Test examiner similar to the California Alternate Assessments.
  • Alternate ELPAC will assess the four domains similar to ELPAC: Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Listening.
  • More information about the Alternate ELPAC is available on the Test Administration webpage.

Computer-based ELPAC: In November 2018, the California State Board of Education (SBE) approved transitioning the current paper-based ELPAC to computer-based assessments. The Summative ELPAC will transition for the 2019‒20 administration, beginning February 1, 2020, and the Initial ELPAC will transition for the 2020‒21 administration, beginning July 1, 2020. As part of this move to an operational computer-based administration, Educational Testing Service will first conduct a field test of the ELPAC in an online environment in the fall of 2019.

The 2019–20 Initial ELPAC Administration (July 1 to June 30) will be a paper and pencil test and the timeline for the transition to the computer-based ELPAC for upcoming years is as follows:

2019–20 School Year
  • September 2019: Computer-based ELPAC Training Tests
  • October 1 to October 25, 2019: Computer-based ELPAC fall 2019 Field Test window
  • October 2019: Computer-based ELPAC Accessibility Pilot and Cognitive Lab
  • February 1 to May 31, 2020: First Operational Summative ELPAC Computer-based Administration
2020–21 School Year
  • July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021: First Operational Initial ELPAC Computer-based Administration
  • January to February 2021: Alternate ELPAC Summative Operational Field Test

More information about the Initial and Summative ELPAC is available on the Test Administration web page.

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