The Alternate ELPAC is intended only for students with IEPs who have been identified by the IEP team as having the most significant cognitive disabilities and being eligible for alternate assessments, in addition to being identified as an EL or potential EL.

All students in kindergarten through grade twelve, ages three through twenty-one, whose primary language is a language other than English based on the results of the HLS, must take the Initial ELPAC or a locally determined alternate assessment to determine whether they are ELs. The first three questions on the HLS identify the use of another language at home; based on the answers to those questions, the ELAS must be assigned as TBD in the SIS. Per ELPAC regulations, this must be done within 30 calendar days after a student is first enrolled in a California public school or 60 calendar days prior to instruction but not before July 1. To take the Alternate ELPAC, an eligible student must have an SSID created in CALPADS and an ELAS of TBD.

In November 2018, the California State Board of Education approved an amendment to the CAASPP contract that includes the development of the Alternate ELPAC pursuant to California Education Code sections 313 and 60810. The Alternate ELPAC is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards, Kindergarten Through Grade 12 via the English Language Development Connectors. The Alternate ELPAC is administered to kindergarten through grade twelve students (including students up to age twenty-two) following the grades and grade spans of the Initial and Summative ELPAC.

The purposes of the Alternate ELPAC are twofold.

  1. The Initial Alternate ELPAC determines the English proficiency of students entering California schools for the first time. Identifying students who need help learning in English is important so students get the extra help they need to do well in school while receiving instruction in all school subjects.
  2. The Summative Alternate ELPAC provides information on annual student progress toward English language proficiency and supports decisions on student reclassification eligibility. For more information on reclassification, LEAs can refer to the ELPAC Information Guide.

About This Manual

This 2020–21 Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test Administration Manual provides information and instructions about test preparation and administration of the Alternate ELPAC. The intended users of this manual are staff who play a role in the administration of the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test, including LEA ELPAC coordinators, site ELPAC coordinators, TEs, and secondary TEs.

For specific questions not addressed in this manual, TEs can contact the site ELPAC coordinator; site ELPAC coordinators can contact the LEA ELPAC coordinator; and LEA ELPAC coordinators can contact CalTAC. When administering the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test, follow the instructions and criteria laid out in this manual in addition to those in the DFA. For additional queries, the LEA ELPAC coordinator should contact CalTAC by phone at 800-955-2954, by email at, or by using the chat function linked on the ELPAC website.

The CDE ELPSA office is available for assistance with questions related to the ELPAC program policy requirements. For ELPAC policy questions, the LEA ELPAC coordinator should contact the ELPSA office by email at