ELP standards

Clear Expectations: 10 Standards for all 13 grades

The ELPA21 assessment system measures student growth based on a set of English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards developed by educators. The assessment system is designed to ensure English learners leave high school prepared for college and career success. Developed for and by educators, the ELPA21 approach to ELP standards centers on features and professional learning for not only EL educators and administrators, but content teachers as well. The ELP standards are adaptable, student-centered, and clear.

The ELP Standards meet the needs of educators and administrators by offering a common language for EL and ELD educators and content teachers to best support ELs:

  • Deepen connections between language and content with the ELP Standards.
  • Articulate expectations clearly.

The ELP Standards enhance EL education and services:

  • Correspond to states’ college and career-ready standards for English language arts, mathematics, and science.
  • Highlight and amplify the critical aspects of language, knowledge about language, and skills using language needed by ELs as they progress toward English proficiency.
  • Are concise and measurable, understandable, and coherent.

The organic approach to English proficiency

Educators often tell us the ELPA21 assessments replicate real-world settings and experiences in students’ use of English, which make their students feel comfortable during testing. They also tell us they appreciate our high-quality standards and assessments because they’re grounded in the organic way language is acquired—as opposed to earlier standards, which treated language acquisition as a strict progression. Our ELP Standards underscore the interconnectivity between language and standards-driven content.

Prioritizing communication over correctness

Previous ELD standards focused on grammar and vocabulary attainment as primary expressions of an EL’s language development. ELPA21’s standards focus on receptive, productive, and interpretive English language skills and subordinates concerns about the correctness of grammar and spelling to the overall function of the language the student produces and receives. Development is the process; proficiency is the target.

Organization of the 10 ELP standards

The 10 ELP Standards are organized according to how language skills correspond with ELA and literacy, mathematics, and science standards in six grades and grade bands: kindergarten, 1, 2–3, 4–5, 6–8, and 9–12.

How standards have changed