Dynamic Screener

Identify Potential English Learners

The ELPA21 Dynamic Screener is an easy to administer, year-round assessment used to determine whether students entering school would benefit from English language services. The screener is a concise, turnkey solution that allows educators and school staff to efficiently identify English learners and qualify them for additional services and language support.


Design and Development

The ELPA21 Dynamic Screener was designed with simplicity in mind and is the result of a collaboration between state departments of education, leading assessment researchers, and practicing educators who interact with English learners in schools.

The three-step screener test begins with an orientation in which the test administrator introduces the student to the testing platform and the test itself via a set of practice items. Steps two and three consist of computer-delivered tasks or task sets across all four language domains (listening, reading, writing, and speaking).

At the end of step two, a stopping rule will determine whether students have answered a sufficient number of test items for the assessment to make a determination about the student’s English proficiency. For students who continue on, step three consists of a mix of machine-scored and constructed-response tasks. This step is administered to a smaller proportion of screened students in order to differentiate students who are proficient from those who are nearly proficient but who would still benefit from English language development services.



As with our summative assessment, the screener may be administered via online, paper, and braille formats. All of the universal, accessibility, and accommodations features found in the summative assessment are likewise available for the screener.


Scoring and Reporting

We know program effectiveness and supporting English learners along their journey toward proficiency are important to you. The Dynamic Screener provides 3-digit scaled scores for each of the four language domains—listening, reading, writing, and speaking. These scores are used to assign a performance level (1–5) for each domain and an overall proficiency classification:

  • Emerging – Level 1 or 2 in all non-exempt domains
  • Progressing – at least one domain below Level 4 and at least one domain above Level 2
  • Proficient – Level 4 or 5 in all non-exempt domains

ELPA21 scores give educators and parents/caregivers the information they need to best support students. Scores can be used to:

  • Inform initial program eligibility decisions
  • Inform classroom instruction for English learners
  • Identify resource needs for both students and teachers

To learn more about the student report’s contents, please review the Sample ELPA21 Student Report. For further information on interpreting reports, please see the Quick Guide to Understanding Student Reports for Educators or the Parent Guide to Student Reports, available in both English and Spanish.