Introduction to the Initial ELPAC

The ELPAC is comprised of 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 California’s 2012 English Language Development Standards and assesses students’ ELP skills in Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

In November 2018, the State Board of Education approved a plan to transition the ELPAC to a computer-based assessment.

About This Manual

This test administration manual provides information and instructions about test preparation and administration of the computer-based Initial ELPAC, as well as the paper-based test for the Writing domain for students in kindergarten through grade two. The intended users of this manual are staff who play a role in the administration of the Initial ELPAC, including LEA ELPAC coordinators, site ELPAC coordinators, ELPAC test examiners, and proctors.

For specific questions not addressed in this manual, test examiners can contact their site ELPAC coordinator; site ELPAC coordinators can contact their LEA ELPAC coordinator; and LEA ELPAC coordinators can contact CalTAC.

When administering the Initial ELPAC, follow the instructions and criteria laid out in this manual.

For ELPAC policy questions, the LEA ELPAC coordinator should contact the CDE ELPSA office, by email at elpac@cde.ca.gov.

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 initial fluent English proficient. 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 within 30 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 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 test examiner, 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 are locally printed from TOMS by designated staff. 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 and Reading domains is 20 days from the day the test is first accessed. The expiration rule for Listening and Reading domains is 45 days from the day the test is first accessed.

What’s New for the Initial ELPAC in 2021–22?

TOMS

  • LEAs will need to submit the CAASPP and ELPAC Special Request For Paper Exam online form for any student with an IEP or Section 504 plan that requires a paper-based test (standard version, braille or large print). These materials cannot be ordered through TOMS.

STAIRS and Appeals

The CAASPP and ELPAC Security Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide describes the STAIRS process for both CAASPP and the ELPAC.

Test Administration and Scoring Applications

Data Entry Interface

  • LEAs must complete DEI entry for Speaking (K–12) and Writing (K–2) and submit the tests, including any Reset or Re-open Appeals, for all students in the LEA by the end of the testing window (June 30, 2022).

THSS

  • LEAs must complete scoring in the THSS for Writing (3–12) and submit the tests, including any Rescore Appeals, for all students in the LEA by the end of the testing window (June 30, 2022).

Test Administrator Interface

  • The test examiner must select the radio button for in-person testing and remote/hybrid button if testing remotely.

Training

  • LEA ELPAC coordinators who completed the Initial ELPAC LEA Certification course during the 2020–2021 school year do not have to complete certification again for 2021–2022.
  • All LEA ELPAC coordinators, new and experienced, will be expected to report and verify that their training requirement has been met in the Moodle Training Site.

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 (K–12) domains have been entered in the DEI, these identified LEAs will be asked to submit their scannable Answer Books for students in kindergarten through grade two 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 grades K–‍2) and the THSS (for grades 3–12).

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
Kindergarten Through Grade Two 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 test delivery system. The student types the responses directly into the test delivery system.
Scoring for Kindergarten Through Grade Two The test examiner scores the student’s responses and enters them into the DEI. The test examiner scores the student’s responses and enters them into the DEI.
Scoring for Grades Three Through Twelve The test examiner scores the student’s responses in the THSS. The test examiner 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 Instruction 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.