Frequently asked questions about EL students and ELAC
This document has been written so you can understand what it
means to be an English learner (EL) and which are the groups of people that can guide
you to obtain help for your child’s education.
1. Who is an EL student?
An English learner [also referred to as a student with limited mastery of the English
language or Limited English Proficient Student (LEP)] is a student that does not speak
English or speaks a native language that is not English and currently cannot perform the
normal class work in an English class (based on the Code of Education, Section
2. Who needs to take the CELDT?
The Education Code requires that each student (from pre-school to 12th grade) whose
first language is not English, based on the Home Language Survey, takes the CELDT
exam during the first 30 days after being enrolled for the first time in a California public
school in order to determine if he/she is an EL. Parents or guardians complete the
Home Language Survey as part of the enrollment process when they enroll their
children in school for the first time. The CELDT exam must be administered each year
to students identified as EL students based on the process of evaluation from the
School District until they are Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) students.
3. What is the California English Language Development Test (CELDT)?
Federal and state law require the development of a statewide test that school districts
should implement for students that speak a language other than English. In California,
this test is called the California English Language Development Test (CELDT).
4. When do EL students stop taking the CELDT?
EL students continue to take the CELDT each year until they are reclassified based on
the criteria established by the Board of the school district.
5. What is reclassification?
Reclassification is a local decision based on established criteria by the local Board of
Education in agreement with the state law. The school districts have to use individual
CELDT results as one of four criteria considered for EL students’ reclassification.
Additional measures that must be considered are the comparison of the English
learners’ progress in basic skills versus the level of progress of students who are nativespeakers
of English within the same age group, teacher evaluations, and opinions and
consultations with parents or guardians.
6. What is the English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC)?
The English Learner Advisory Committee is an advisory committee developed to advise
the school about programs for English learners students. A school that has more than
21 EL students is required to have an ELAC.
7. What are ELAC’s obligations?
a. ELAC advises the School Site Council (SSC) in the development of a Single Plan
for Student Achievement (SPSA).
b. ELAC makes recommendations to the principal and staff about programs for EL
c. ELAC assists in data analysis and review of the school’s language census to
decide which are the best programs for the EL students, and it will make an effort
to raise awareness among parents of the importance of regular school
d. ELAC has the responsibility to elect officers, including at least one DELAC
8. Who forms ELAC?
The membership of ELAC is comprised of the school principal, the officers elected by
the parents of EL students: president, vice-president, secretary and/or a DELAC
representative, and other parents and community members. The number of EL parents
in ELAC must reflect at least the same percentage as the number of EL students in the
9. What is DELAC?
The District’s English Language Advisory Committee consists of a group formed by
ELAC representatives of each school within the district. The purpose of this committee
is to advice the district in regards to the programs destined for EL students and to certify
that the district complies with the federal and state norms.
10. How does ELAC work in conjunction with other school organizations?
In some schools, ELAC is linked to SSC (School Site Council), but there are certain
legal requirements that need to be met if this alliance is wanted. ELAC is an advisory
committee and the SSC is a school governing organization. Other organizations such
as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) are
independent. It is very important that parents of EL students participate in these other