Skip to main content

What is the ELPAC?

The ELPAC (English Language Proficiency Assessments for California) is the required state test for English language proficiency (ELP) that must be given to students whose primary language is a language other than English.

The ELPAC is aligned with California’s 2012 English Language Development Standards, and is comprised of two separate ELP assessments:

  1. Initial Assessment (IA)—An initial identification of students as English learners upon enrollment.
  2. Summative Assessment (SA)—An annual summative assessment in February to measure an English learner's progress in learning English and to identify the student's ELP level.

Who takes the ELPAC?

State 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, sometimes referred to as “transitional kindergarten”) through grade twelve (ages 3-21). Students who take the Initial ELPAC and are designated EL will also take the Summative ELPAC in the spring.

Purposes of ELPAC are:

  • To identify students who are English learners (ELs).
  • To determine the level of English language proficiency of EL students.
  • To assess the progress of EL students in acquiring the skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing in English.

Students who will be tested:

  • INITIAL: All students whose primary language is not English and who are obtaining a California Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) for the first time will take the initial assessment only once as a grade K-12 student in California. Teachers will be notified by the testing team of students who will need initial assessments.
    • Click here to review information sheets in English or Spanish for each domain of the Initial ELPAC.
  • SUMMATIVE: All identified English learners will take the summative assessment annually in February. Teachers will be notified of students who require testing by the testing team.
    • HSTs may wish to use the ELPAC practice tests throughout the school year with EL students who will be taking the summative assessment in February.
    • Paper/pencil practice tests can be found here. The content is very similar to the new test that is now online.
  • Alternate ELPAC: The proposed Alternate ELPAC will be a statewide language proficiency assessment administered to English learners and potential English learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Initial Alternate ELPAC will be used to identify English learners, and the Summative Alternate ELPAC will be used to measure their progress in English language proficiency until reclassified. Students that take the CAA would take the Alt. ELPAC.

Legal Responsibilities for Schools

  • Law: Students that have been previously designated in CALPADS (even if it was years ago) must be tested by law every year. Once they reach a level of proficiency they will be reclassified and will no longer need to take the test.
  • Incoming students: New students that have declared any language besides English on their home language survey must be assessed. This includes TK students.
  • No education code provision for opting out of ELPAC.
  • Purpose of ELPAC is to ensure all students receive adequate support to succeed.

Summative ELPAC Update

  • All SSL teachers administering the ELPAC Summative will need to go through the training - EVEN IF you trained for the Initial this fall.
    • These are two different tests and the training modules are also different.
  • Students who were already identified as English Learners when the school year started will take the Summative ELPAC.
  • Some students who took the Initial ELPAC earlier this school year may also need to be tested with the Summative ELPAC.
  • Online practice and training tests and DFA’s can be found at under Resources. You can use the online practice and training tests with your students at your learning period meetings so you can both become familiar with the new test format. Make sure to reference the DFA for the grade you would be practicing in.

CDE ELPAC Information

Parent Testing Resources Website


ELPAC Teacher Training Video

Video: Overview of the Computer-Based ELPAC (9:47)

Video: Overview of the Computer-Based ELPAC (Spanish) (10:32)

ELPAC Starting Smarter Website (for help with interpreting student score reports and for sample test questions)