Frequently Asked Questions regarding ELD, ELPAC, and the Home Language Survey
- Why does my child have to take an initial placement test?
The ELPAC must be administered to any student whose parent or guardian completed any of the first three questions on the Home Language Survey (HLS) by indicating a language other than English. Ed Code 52164.1. For LSD, we utilize all four questions on the HLS to determine eligibility for taking the ELPAC test as board policy does not specify exemption from this state mandated question.
- Why does my child have to take the ELPAC every year?
Annual testing must continue until a student is redesignated as a fluent English Proficient Student. Ed code 313(c)
- Can parents opt to have their students exempted from taking the ELPAC?
No. Parents cannot "opt out" of the ELPAC because English language proficiency assessment is both a state and federal requirement. (NCLB Title I. section 1111[b] and Title III, 2002) and state requirement (EC 313).
- Can parents demand to have the ELD status removed for their child?
No. Just as parents cannot opt their students out of taking the ELPAC test, they cannot opt their child out of the program until the student is redesignated English Proficient. Ed code313(c).
- I filled out my home language survey incorrectly –can I change it?
This is tricky. Ed code only allows a home language survey to be changed if there was an actual mistake made. We do not ask yes or no questions or ask parents to check the box. So, it seems difficult that an actual mistake occurred. (Do you think that a language other than English is spoken? If so, see #7)
- What does the school do when the HLS is incorrect?
Federal law requires us to “search and serve”. That means that we have a responsibility to seek out students that may qualify for special programs and to serve them. Many judgments from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have been made against school districts that do not effectively communicate with families about special programs and/or turn a blind eye when the parent does not want a service that is mandated. So, we can tell a parent that regardless of them writing English, English, English, English on the four questions of the HLS, if we think that another language is spoken in the home, we have an obligation to test the student.
- But my child doesn’t speak another language---they shouldn’t have to take the test.
(Refer to answer to #1 above) Regardless of whether the student speaks a second language, if the student has been or is exposed to another language in their home, research tells us that learning a second language can be delayed. By the Federal Search and Serve laws, we must provide services to the student to ensure they are acquiring the English Language. (refer to #8 for additional help)
- So what is the bottom line?
All students who have a language other than English spoken in the home need to take the ELPAC test. If the student takes the ELPAC and is determined to be fluent, he/she is designated initially fluent (IFEP) and will never take the ELPAC test again. If the student takes the ELPAC test and is determined to be an English Learner then the student is automatically enrolled in the ELL program and can’t exit until he/she meets all of the redesignation criteria. Even if the student is limited in both languages, the program WILL help him/her.