The English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) is a group of states producing tests to measure English language proficiency in English learners (ELs). ELPA21 is a project housed at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The ELPA21 states are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia.
The goal is to provide assessments that best measure English learners’ mastery of the communication demands of states’ rigorous academic standards.
ELPA21 uses the federal definition of English learner available on the U.S. Department of Education's Data Express website here: http://eddataexpress.ed.gov/definitions.cfm.
According to the USDOE, an English Language Learner is, "An individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; or who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; or who is an American Indian or Alaska Native and who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on his or her level of English language proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language to deny such individual the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society."
The ELPA21 assessment system measures student proficiency relative to the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards developed by WestEd, CCSSO, the Understanding Language initiative of Stanford University, and states. The assessments assess English language proficiency in English language arts, mathematics, and science. The assessments measure all four accepted language domains: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. These domains are also known as reading comprehension, written production, listening comprehension, and oral production skills.
The assessments are administered online to students in member states.
ELPA21 has two types of assessments: a screener and a summative assessment. The screener is being developed for each of six grade bands (K, 1, 2–3, 4–5, 6–8, and 9–12) and will allow schools to assess baseline English language proficiency of incoming ELs. It will be used to inform placement and make instructional decisions. The summative assessment includes two fixed forms per grade band for increased security. This assessment is administered near the end of the academic year. Each state has its own testing window.
ELPA21’s screener is a short test form designed to be administered to students soon after they enter the school system to help determine if they are in need of EL services.
All ELPA21 member states use the ELPA21 assessments.
Yes. ELPA21 is the primary EL assessment tool in all member states. Criteria for assessing entry, placement, and exit from EL programs is the same across all member states.
The ELP Standards were developed by CCSSO, WestEd, and the Understanding Language Initiative of Stanford University, and correspond to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards.
No. Given the fact that ELPA21 is a language proficiency assessment, and PARCC is a content area assessment, some ELPA21 accessibility features and accommodations differ from those available on PARCC assessments. Some terminology and specifications of accessibility features and accommodations as well as policies for how they should be administered also differ. Please refer to the ELPA21 Accessibility and Accommodations Manual for information on ELPA21 accessibility features and accommodations. For those students who have IEP or 504 plans, their IEP or 504 teams would make decisions related to both accommodations and designated features.