California English Language Development Test (CELDT)

Students in kindergarten through grade twelve whose home language is not English are required by law to be assessed in English language proficiency (ELP). In California, the ELP assessment is the CELDT.

The CELDT allows schools to identify students who need to improve their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. Schools also give the test each year to students who are still learning English.

Student Participation

LEAs are required to administer the CELDT to all students whose home language is not English within 30 calendar days after they enroll for the first time in a California public school. LEAs also are required to administer the CELDT annually to identified ELs until they are designated RFEP during the annual assessment window from July 1 through October 31. Additionally, Section 3302 of Title III of the ESEA (20 United States Code Section 7012) indicates that LEAs that receive Title III funds shall, not later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year or within two weeks of the child being enrolled in a language instruction program after the beginning of the school year, inform parents or guardians of the reasons for the identification of their child as an EL and that the child is in need of placement in a language instruction program.

Content and Format

The CELDT assesses the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English and is aligned to the English-language development (ELD) standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). In California, EC Section 60810 has been amended to authorize early literacy assessment of ELs in kindergarten and grade one (K-1) commencing with the 2009–10 school year. The early literacy assessment must be administered for three years or until July 1, 2012. A report on the results of the administration of the early literacy assessment and the administrative process is due to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2013. The early literacy assessment was designed to be age and developmentally appropriate, and to the greatest extent possible, to minimize the testing burden on these young students.

Reporting and Using Results

In 2010, the SBE adopted performance level cut scores for the K–1 reading and writing assessments, modified the English proficient level for K–1 students given the inclusion of reading and writing scale scores, and allowed for differential weights in the calculation of the Overall performance level for K–1 students (45 percent each for listening and speaking, and 5 percent each for reading and writing).

The CELDT results are reported by the following performance levels: beginning, early intermediate, intermediate, early advanced, and advanced. The CELDT results show the overall English performance level attained by students as well as performance in each domain by level. Individual student reports and student data files are sent to the school district. Districts must inform parents of test results within 30 calendar days of receiving student results from the testing contractor, or, as indicated in the Student Participation section above, within two weeks of the child being enrolled in a language instruction program after the beginning of the school year.

CELDT data are used to calculate Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) 1 and 2 as required by Title III. Each LEA receiving Title III funds is accountable for meeting the AMAOs established by the SBE beginning with the 2003–04 school year. The CDE provides LEAs with annual Title III accountability reports.

The CDE posts three types of reports (all assessments, annual assessments, and initial assessments) at four levels (state, county, district, and school) annually. Summary results are reported for all students and for a number of reporting categories that include gender, enrollment in specified programs, and primary languages.