Language Assessments and Language Program Eligibility

Language Assessments

For admission to SFUSD language programs, demonstrated proficiency of the language is required. Language assessments evaluate a child’s proficiency in the pathway language. Depending on the program, your child may need to pass a language assessment to be eligible.

For example, if your child speaks a language other than English and lists a dual language pathway or biliteracy program as a school choice, they may be assessed for current language skills.

Who is tested?

Any student who lists a language other than English on their Home Language Survey (HLS) may be tested.

  1. Language Proficiency. Any student who lists a language other than English on one of the first three questions on the Home Language Survey AND who is applying for one or more of the following programs may be contacted for a language assessment to show proficiency: Dual Language Immersion, Biliteracy or Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program (JBBP).

  2. English Language Proficiency. Any student who lists a language other than English on one of the first three questions on the Home Language Survey will be assessed to see what are her/his English language skills by using the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (Initial ELPAC).

When and where is the test given?

Assessments are conducted before school assignment letters are sent to families. We strongly encourage families applying for language programs to submit your applications early so that we can properly assess your student's eligibility.

  • Language Proficiency tests are conducted by the EPC after the enrollment application is received.
    • Main Round: December - March
    • Round 2: April - May
  • ELPAC assessments are given in August/September at the school site. 
    • If a student is enrolling during the school year, the ELPAC is conducted by the EPC. 

NEW: Due to COVID-19, all EPC Language Proficiency assessments are being conducted virtually. Please see below for more details and contact the EPC with any questions or needs.

How do I schedule a test?

When an application is received requesting a language pathway and/or listing a language other than English on the Home Language Survey, EPC will contact families using the contact information listed (phone, email) to schedule a language assessment before the school assignments are made. 

If your child is bilingual but you listed English for all 3 questions of the Home Language Survey, you may still request a language assessment by contacting the EPC at (415) 241-6085 or enrollinschool@sfusd.edu. 

What is the test about?

Initial ELPAC

  • Students: Grades K-12
  • Description: The Initial ELPAC is a state assessment that is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards and assesses four domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Learn more about the Initial and Summative ELPAC here.
  • Duration: ~2-3 hours

Language Proficiency - K-1

  • Students: Grades K-1
  • Description: The language pathway tests are developed by the Multilingual Pathways Department, and focus on listening and speaking.
  • Duration: ~15-20 minutes

Language Proficiency - 2-8

  • Students: Grades 2-8
  • Description: The language pathway tests are developed by the Multilingual Pathways Department, and focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing. 
  • Duration: ~30 minutes to 2 hours

What happens after the test?

Once the test is completed and scored, the EPC will contact the parent/guardian to share test results, and offer to review program options and support services. Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to change the school or program requests on their child’s application if they so choose and/or if their child is not eligible for a selected language pathway.

Students can only take assessments one time -- we do not offer retesting within the same school year, and invite students to take the test again the following year.

Please call the EPC at (415) 241-6085 for support. Testing coordinators are listed below.

  • Lynn Kwong (English/Cantonese/Mandarin)
  • Luis Ayala Chavez (English/Spanish)

Virtual Language Assessment (due to COVID-19)

Due to COVID-19, all Language Proficiency testing for the 2021-2022 school year will be conducted virtually.

  • All assessments will be conducted by video conference (Google Meet or Zoom)
  • Students must take tests independently and must be visible on the screen
  • Any coaching or guidance from any adult will result in a cancellation of the test

If you have issues accessing technology, please contact the EPC staff to discuss options.

Language Programs

Language programs provide all students with culturally and linguistically relevant education to maximize access to quality education. SFUSD offers programs for grades PreKindergarten through 12.

Learn more:

Program

Description

Students Served

Eligibility

Elementary Newcomer

Students receive more intensive English Language Development (ELD) supports, along with primary language supports and referrals to services. Elementary Chinese and Spanish Newcomer Programs provide instruction both in the primary language and Designated ELD for at least 60 minutes a day.

K-5

Recent arrivals to the U.S. who are Novice English Learners.

Elementary Biliteracy

Biliteracy Programs are K-5 programs taught in either Cantonese/English or Spanish/English. Instruction is similar to Dual Language Immersion (DLI), but designed for potential English Learners who are native speakers of pathway language.

K-5

English Learners and bilingual students with home language of program

Elementary Dual Language Immersion (DLI)

Taught in both a program language and in English. Students start with 80% instruction in the target language and decrease to 50% by 5th grade.

K-5

Grades K-1: All students are eligible to apply. 

K-1 students who indicate a language other than English on their home language survey must pass the EPC language assessment.  

Grades 2-5: Only students who are in a DLI or Biliteracy program, or who pass the EPC language assessment are eligible. 

Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES)

Programs are taught mostly in English and the objective is to expose students to 30-60 minutes per day in the target language: Arabic, Filipino, Japanese or Vietnamese.

K-5

All students

Middle School Newcomer

Newcomer Programs are designed to help newly arrived students to adjust to their new language and culture. Students receive sheltered content instruction with 45-90 minutes of designated English language development (ELD).

6-8

Recent arrivals to the U.S. who are Novice English Learners.

Secondary Dual Language Immersion Program

Students receive 1 period of language arts or world language and 1 period of social studies in the target language of the pathway

6-8

Students rising from DLI or Biliteracy programs or who pass EPC language assessment

Secondary World Language - Advanced

Students receive 50 – 60 minutes elective course (5 days/week or fewer in a block schedule)

6-8

Students rising from DLI or Biliteracy programs, or who pass EPC language assessment

Secondary World Language - Introductory

Students receive 50 – 60 minutes elective course (5 days/week or fewer in a block schedule)

6-8

All students

High School Newcomer

Newcomer Programs are designed to help newly arrived students to adjust to their new language and culture. Students receive sheltered content instruction with 45-60 minutes of designated English language development (ELD).

9-12

Recent arrivals to the U.S. who are Novice English Learners.

High School World Language

Students are required to complete two years or 20 credits of a World Language, or demonstrate proficiency using one of the methods listed in this manual, to graduate from high school.

9-12

All students

Dual Language Immersion vs. Biliteracy

Biliteracy Programs serve only potential English Learners and bilingual studetnes who are proficient in their primary language. Dual Language Programs serve a blend of English Learners, bilinguals, and monolingual English speaking students. 

English Learner Access to Special Education

For English Learners with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) who require English language acquisition services to obtain a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), their IEPs should include goals that address English Language Development and linguistic scaffolds to access core curriculum instruction. In addition, their IEP goals should outline ELPAC accommodations and designated supports for each domain as needed and/or consideration of an alternate assessment to the ELPAC and with access to core curriculum instruction. For more information ask your child's teacher, principal or visit the Special Education Department.

Language Pathways: Workshop Presentations

These resources were presented during the 2020 Virtual Enrollment Fair.

This workshop will provide an overview of language programs in SFUSD's elementary, middle, and high schools including our Dual Language Immersion and Biliteracy Programs that are designed to support the academic achievement and bilingualism of English language learners. We will also share an overview of our World Language programs that aim to promote bilingualism and global citizenship for all SFUSD students. There will be time for questions and answers about eligibility requirements and the goals of these programs.

Slides: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF) | Chinese (PDF)

View Session (English): via YouTube Live | Facebook Live (Closed Captioning)

View Session (Spanish): via Facebook Live

View Session (Cantonese): Zoom Video

Language Pathways Chinese Presentation