Sonoma County Office of Education

The Opportunity of the ELPAC: Part One

Author: Jenn Guerrero
Published: 05.29.18

Arrows pointing upward

Dedicated educators across the state have been diving into the new English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC), learning the logistics of administration and familiarizing themselves with the content. Like any new initiative, it’s often messy and there are bumps in the road. Yet as we become more comfortable and confident, the messiness fades and an opportunity shines through.

Developing Student Agency

Oftentimes, the ELPAC is administered by only a handful of people at a site or district. Consequently, not all educators are aware of what is being asked of English Learners (ELs) when they take this test. They receive the scores but are potentially unaware of the long term implications of the results.

When educators know more about the ELPAC they are able to more effectively speak with their EL students about the test and its implications for their future. By engaging in open and honest conversations with students about the test, the ELPAC becomes less shameful and mysterious and more empowering for students. The veil slowly lifts, and students begin to possess knowledge of the system. They are armed with information they need to advocate for themselves and their future. They no longer shuffle through their education but are instead aware of what is being asked of them and what to reach for. They are better positioned to become agents of change in their own lives.

On behalf of the 1.3 millions English Learners in California, we have a choice. As California moves into its first year of full ELPAC implementation, we can view the ELPAC as a compliance-based initiative or embrace it as one which builds the capacity of educators to cultivate student agency.  

Stay tuned for The Opportunity of the ELPAC: Part Two


Blog: The Language Lens

Lisa Wittke Schaffner, Board President
"I am proud to serve Sonoma County as President of the Sonoma County Board of Education in 2020. The Board of Education sets policy for its alternative education program, serves in an oversight role for SCOE, and supports our educational agenda. We believe every student has a unique set of abilities, potential, and needs. Our board compliments the work and innovation of SCOE, and serves as an educational partner for the Sonoma County community." - Lisa Wittke Schaffner, Board President