Introduction to the Initial ELPAC

The ELPAC comprises two separate ELP assessments: the Initial ELPAC and the Summative ELPAC.

The Initial ELPAC is the required state test for ELP that is given to students whose primary language is a language other than English. State and federal law requires that LEAs administer a state test for ELP to eligible students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The purpose of the Initial ELPAC is to determine the English proficiency of students entering California schools for the first time. Identifying students who need help learning in English is an important step in ensuring students get the support they need to do well in school while receiving instruction in all school subjects. This assessment is available throughout the year, from July 1 to June 30.

The Summative ELPAC is an annual assessment to measure an EL student’s progress and to identify the student’s ELP. This assessment is given in the spring, from February 1 to May 31.

The ELPAC is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards and assesses students’ ELP skills in Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

In November 2018, the SBE approved a plan to transition the ELPAC to a computer-based assessment.

The Initial Alternate ELPAC is also launching on July 5, 2022, and is available for students who meet the criteria for the Initial ELPAC and have been identified by their IEP team as having the most significant cognitive disabilities and being eligible for alternate assessments. Refer to the Initial Alternate ELPAC Online Test Administration Manual for further details.

What Is the Difference Between the Initial ELPAC and the Summative ELPAC?

Table 1 offers a side-by-side view of the Initial ELPAC and the Summative ELPAC.

Table 1. Initial ELPAC and Summative ELPAC Comparison

Initial ELPAC Summative ELPAC
The Initial ELPAC is a separate test used to identify a student as either an EL student who needs support to learn English or as IFEP. The Summative ELPAC is a test used to measure the ELP of EL students. The results will help the school or LEA determine if the student is ready to be reclassified as proficient in English.
The Initial ELPAC is administered to students with an HLS that lists a primary language other than English within 30 calendar days of when the student enrolls in a California public school for the first time. The Summative ELPAC is administered every spring, from February 1 to May 31.
The student takes the Initial ELPAC one time only, as long as the student completes all domains within the administration window. The Initial ELPAC is taken before the Summative ELPAC. The student takes the Summative ELPAC annually until reclassified.
A student must log on to all four domains to be counted as tested. A student must log on to at least one of the two domains in each of the oral and written language composites to be counted as tested.
There is one test form or edition of the Initial ELPAC. The Summative ELPAC test form is refreshed annually.
The Initial ELPAC is administered in six grade levels and grade spans: kindergarten, 1, 2, 3–5, 6–‍8, and 9–12. The Summative ELPAC is administered in seven grade levels and grade spans: kindergarten, 1, 2, 3–5, 6–‍8, 9–10, and 11–12.
The Speaking and Writing domains are locally scored by a trained ELPAC TE, whereas the Listening and Reading domains are machine-scored. Raw scores are entered into the DEI for Speaking (K–12) and Writing (K–2) and the THSS for Writing (3–12). SSRs available to the LEAs in TOMS. The Speaking domain is locally scored, and raw scores are entered into the DEI. The Writing domain is scored by ETS. The Listening and Reading domains are machine-scored. SSRs are available to the LEAs in TOMS.
The primary ordering window begins in April. The primary ordering window begins in the fall.
The expiration rule for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing domains is 30 days from the day the test is first accessed. The expiration rule for Listening and Reading domains is 45 days and 20 days for Speaking and Writing domains from the day the test is first accessed.

RSVP for the Initial ELPAC

The CDE will identify approximately 10 percent of LEAs that will annually take part in the RSVP. The purpose of this process is for ETS and the CDE to collect statistical item analyses for the Initial ELPAC, as well as to conduct a comparison between the results provided by LEAs and the results determined by ETS.

After local scores for the Writing (K–2) and Speaking (kindergarten through grade twelve) domains have been entered in the DEI, these identified LEAs will be asked to submit their scannable Answer Books for students in K–2 to ETS. Only identified LEAs will receive Pre-ID labels and precoded GISs to return scannable Answer Books.

ETS will only score the Writing domain to compare with local scores in the DEI (for K–‍2) and the THSS (for grades three through twelve).

For each subsequent year, a new group of LEAs will be identified by the CDE to take part in the RSVP. The RSVP list of LEAs will be posted on the ELPAC website annually prior to the Initial ELPAC Administration and Scoring Training in April.

Each LEA that is a part of the RSVP will receive a comparison report that will be available in TOMS. What follows in table 2 is a comparison of the additional materials and steps for LEAs participating in the RSVP versus materials and steps for LEAs not participating in the RSVP.

Table 2. Participating in the RSVP versus Non-RSVP

Document Type/Activity In-Person Testing: Non-RSVP LEA In-Person Testing: RSVP LEA
K–2 Answer Book The student writes in the nonscannable Answer Book. There is a note at the bottom of the cover page of the Answer Book indicating that the Answer Book is not scannable. The student writes in the scannable Answer Book. There is no note in the cover page of the Answer Book.
Grades Three Through Twelve Writing Response The student types the responses directly into the TDS. The student types the responses directly into the TDS.
Scoring for K–‍2 The TE scores the student’s responses and enters them into the DEI. The TE scores the student’s responses and enters them into the DEI.
Scoring for Grades Three Through Twelve The TE scores the student’s responses in the THSS. The TE scores the student’s responses in the THSS.
Answer Book, After Testing

The non-scannable Answer Book is securely shredded by the LEA at the end of the test administration window.

NOTE: If you are testing closer to the end of the test administration window, please remember that parents/guardians should be provided with 30 days to request a review of the results before destruction.

After receipt of the pre-ID label, the completed, scannable Answer Books—with the pre-ID label attached—are shipped to the contractor for tests administered between July and October. Refer to the Initial ELPAC Rotating Score Validation Process User Instructions for Test Materials Handling After Testing instructions.

NOTE: The LEA should hold completed Answer Books for 30 days after the scores have been reported to the student’s parent/guardian, to give the parent/guardian an opportunity to review the results. After 30 days, the LEA should send the Answer Books to the contractor.