Powerful Assessments for Your English Learners

ELPA21 is the right choice

English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century
ELPA21 is the solution to your EL assessment needs – The system is reliable, easy-to-administer, and deepens engagement for students and educators.

Our Values

Our Values


ELPA21 is committed to helping students master the English skills needed to succeed in their academic careers. By helping students achieve proficiency in the English language (EL), we can unlock their potential.

To support student’s growth, ELPA21 has developed an assessment system informed by states for states. Every item in our item bank – developed by classroom experts – incorporates cutting-edge research and methodology. We are focused on capitalizing on innovative technologies to assess EL proficiency accurately and consistently across all levels of English learners.

We are committed to not only on our student’s development but also our educators as well. Our Professional Learning Workshops – now also available online – are offered to all ELPA21 states. These training opportunities empower EL and content teachers with impactful concepts and instructional strategies and tools.


As an organization, we prioritize collaboration – especially with our states. We are informed and led by their needs and vision of our assessment system. They maintain an active role in the design, policy, and implementation decisions.

We listen to our educators, rely on their expertise and experience with students, and value their input. We collaborate with our educators to create and review test items, conduct post-field test reviews, develop enrichment activities, and incorporate their expert judgement via standard-setting and other panels.

We believe collaboration is vital for successful outcomes – including our students’ language proficiency. ELs must acquire English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills to collaborate with their peers, including native English speakers, and learn grade-appropriate tasks. ELPA21 test items replicate “real world” academic and social settings, allowing students to demonstrate their ELP in familiar and engaging environments.


From the beginning, ELPA21 has incorporated thoughtful accessibility tools and accommodations for those with disabilities and documented access needs. We believe English learners have the same potential as non-English learners. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences are valuable resources for classroom learning. All ELs are capable of making progress toward English language proficiency.

ELPA21 aims to exceed industry standards for interoperability, accessibility, and reliability. Our accessibility and accommodations work includes

  • A grant to develop an Alt-ELPA
  • Policy analysis
  • Educator guidance
  • Incorporation of the federal government’s EL definition
  • Research on accessibility and accommodation tools and supports
  • Reviews of platform accessibility
  • Integration of accessibility features into test and item design
  • Examination of policies, and practices used by states and large-scale assessment consortia
  • Recommendations and implementation of accessibility features and accommodations
  • ELPA21 Accessibility and Accommodations Manual for School Year 2017-1018

Our Assessments

Flexible solutions

ELPA21 serves diverse educational institutions with a wide range of stakeholder needs. We can tailor the ELP assessment program features and branding to meet your organization’s specific needs and goals.

Tangible benefits

ELPA21 clients realize reduced test times, reduced costs, higher student engagement, and increased ease of administration.

Feature-rich assessment delivery

Our assessment system incorporates features based on ease-of use by administrators, accessibility and accommodations for test-takers, and options for system-wide incorporations such as Individualized Education Plans and customizable user permissions.

Our Assessments

Our Expertise

Our Expertise

An academic foundation

ELPA21 resides at the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing at the University of California, Los Angeles, a national research center at the forefront of educational innovation in standards, instruction, student testing, and evaluation. CRESST Director Li Cai, known worldwide for his work in innovative latent variable models, acts as ELPA21’s Principal Investigator. The ELPA21 team boasts national thought leaders who lead ground-breaking research and development, and contribute to education policy at a national level. And ELPA21 partners with experts at research universities, technical assistance centers, thinktanks, and governmental institutions to seek advice and refine our vision.

A legacy of collaboration

ELPA21 was born as a federally-funded consortium of states and thought partners, collaborating to build and maintain an exceptional ELP assessment system. That legacy echoes throughout ELPA21 as our state partners are actively involved in decision-making through a thoughtful committee structure and participation in ongoing strategic planning, as well as frequent opportunities for classroom and school-based educators to participate in ELPA21 events.

Rigor and validity

ELPA21’s assessment system is designed to support the rigor of modern English language arts, math, and science college- and career-ready standards. ELPA21 has created a fully standards-aligned screener, allowing schools to fairly, accurately, and consistently identify incoming students who will benefit from supplemental EL services. A student who is determined to be proficient by an ELPA21 assessment is one who can keep up in class and fully participate with their peers.