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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding English Language Proficiency Assessment

Below is a list of parents’ most frequently asked questions regarding the English proficiency assessment, which is required by the State of California. For information and questions regarding your student’s school site, please contact your school site administrator directly.

Why are you testing my child’s English language abilities?

As part of initial school enrollment, all parents enrolling a child in a California K-12 public school for the first time are required by State and Federal law to complete a Home Language Survey. If the answers to the survey indicate a language other than English in the home or in the child’s background, the school is required by State and Federal law to test the student for English language proficiency.

All California school districts are required to use the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) for two purposes. This Initial ELPAC, administered when a student is new to a California public school, is used to determine a student's English language proficiency. The Summative ELPAC is administered in the spring to measure the progress of students who need support to become proficient in English. No other test results can be substituted for this examination. There are four parts to the ELPAC: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

There is no provision in the law allowing students to waive this assessment.

Students with special needs are required to be assessed for English proficiency. We are able to provide accommodations for students in a variety of ways. Please feel free to ask your school site for further information.

What is the purpose of the ELPAC?

  • New Students: The purpose of the test is to determine a student's English language proficiency level. Initial ELPAC results are used by the teacher/school to determine appropriate instruction for developing English proficiency.
  • Returning English Learners: The purpose of the Summative ELPAC is to assess annual progress in acquiring the English language.

How are the Initial ELPAC results used and what programs are available to my child?

A student who is initially identified as English Fluent (Initial Fluent English Proficient - IFEP) will be enrolled in a mainstream classroom setting, and no further ELPAC will be administered.

A student who is initially identified as an English Learner (EL) or student with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) will be enrolled in a sheltered English immersion support class at the middle or high school level, or in a mainstream classroom setting and will receive appropriate daily instructional support in developing English proficiency. The type of assistance offered depends upon the school site and the student's English proficiency level. For specific questions regarding the type of support provided at your school site, please contact your site directly.

How often will my child take the ELPAC?

A student initially identified as English fluent (IFEP) will not be required to take the test again.

A student identified as an English learner will take Summative ELPAC assessments until all of the district criteria for Reclassification as Fluent English Proficient have been met. 

Do the results of the ELPAC affect my child’s classroom placement?

No. Elementary students are placed in a regular mainstream classroom, regardless of their English proficiency level. Middle and high school students are either placed in a general grade-level classes, or may be placed in a sheltered English immersion support class. The type of assistance offered depends upon the school site and the student's English proficiency level.

(Note: A student with an Individual Education Plan is placed in classes as specified in his/her plan).

How and when will I receive the results of the ELPAC?

The Summative ELPAC results are posted electronically on the parent portal of our student information system. These are posted within 30 days of receiving the results from the state.

We are transferring to San Ramon Unified School District from another school in California. Can you use information from that school instead of testing my child again?

Yes. Upon enrollment at your school site, please provide an official copy of your child’s most recent ELPAC results from the prior school, if possible. According to California state law, the ELPAC is the only assessment used to determine English proficiency.

I know my child is fluent in English. He was born in the USA. He had all A’s and B’s on his last report card. Do you still have to test him?

Yes, there is no provision in the state law for parents of public school children in grades K-12 to “opt out” of this testing. See Ed. Code 60810. We are not allowed to take any other test results, teacher opinion, grades, transcript of classes, etc., in place of this one examination to verify English language proficiency.

A student’s place of birth does not address the question of language development. The State Board of Education has established the four questions on the Home Language Survey regarding a child’s language background. The answers parents provide on the Home Language Survey determine who must be tested.

My child is quiet and shy. He/she may not talk to the examiner. How can you get accurate results?

Our examiners are experienced and have participated in the testing of hundreds of students, including shy and quiet children. We will do our best to make your child comfortable and to obtain a natural language sample. If you have concerns about your child, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or English Learner Support Services.