ELPA21 Assessment

Nebraska’s English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21)


Table of Contents
Important Dates
2017 Administration
Technical Requirements
Reporting and Interpreting Scores
Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs)


Nebraska is a member of the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century, ELPA21, a group of states committed to supporting educators, member states, and the public as they adopt and implement the new English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards and college- and career-ready standards. The consortium is developing an assessment system based on the ELP Standards that will inform instruction so that all English language learners (ELLs) leave high school prepared for college and career success.

The ELPA21 assessment system measures and reports on student’s English language proficiency overall, as well as in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and comprehension. It is being designed to be interactive for students; reduce turnaround time on reporting results; improve efficiency of data collection and management; increase security of test content and student data; and reduce administrative burdens on school and district staff.  Learn how ELPA21 is working to support English language learners as well as their parents and teachers at www.elpa21.org.

ELPA21 Important Dates

2018 ELPA21 Test Window – February 5th – March 16th

ELPA21 Updates

ELPA21 Update May 2017

ELPA21 Update April 2017

ELPA21 Update March 2017

ELPA21 Update Jan 2017

Rule 15: There are no immediate changes to Rule 15 exit requirements. A score of Proficient on ELPA21 OR the standard being MET on NeSA-R would qualify a student for exit from the ELL status in grades 3-12. For grades K-2, a Proficient score on ELPA21 coupled with a teacher recommendation qualifies a student for exit.

ELPA21 Screener

The ELPA21 Screener will be available to districts beginning in August 2017.  Information and about the screener will be available soon.

ELPA21 Screener Important Info (August 2017)

ELPA21 2017 Administration

ELPA21 2017 new vendor will be American Institutes for Research (AIR).

AIR Help Desk Information:
Email:  neelpa21helpdesk@air.org
Phone:  1-866-287-5617       

Link to the Nebraska AIR Portal.  The portal contains all the information and resources needed to administer the ELPA21.

ELPA21 Technical Requirements

Additional ELPA21 Headset Information – Operational

ELPA21 Hardware Specifications – Operational (2)

Headset Specifications – Operational

ELPA21: Reporting and Interpreting Scores  

Score Reporting Webinars

AIR Online Reporting System Webinar Recording

ELPA21: Score Report Webinar

Score Reporting Documents

NE ELPA21 Score Interpretation Guide

ELPA21 Score Reporting FAQ

ELPA21 Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs)

Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) are available to use in interpreting the ELPA21 scores for both educators and parents. ALDs describe achievement in terms of skills measured and demonstrated on the ELPA21. They are broken out by domain and grade band. Also, included on the ALDs are the scale score ranges by specific grade. No translations are available this year.

Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs), also known as Performance Level Descriptors, describe what students know and can do by domain based on the assessment. These indicators can be used by educators to target instruction for each of the four domains, and to inform parents and students of the expectations for students to be considered proficient in English at a particular grade level or grade band. The final Achievement Level Descriptors for ELPA21 are the result of the work of ELPA21 member-state education department staff and panelists at the standards setting event in July 2016.

Updated Approved Kinder ALDsFinalized Kinder ALDs
Finalized Grade 1 ALDsFinalized Grade 1 ALDs
Finalized Grade Band 2-3 ALDsFinalized Grade Band 2-3 ALDs
Finalized Grade Band 4-5 ALDsFinalized Grade Band 4-5 ALDs
Finalized Grade Band 6-8 ALDsFinalized Grade Band 6-8 ALDs
Finalized Grade Band 9-12 ALDsFinalized Grade Bank 9-12 ALDs


OCR Guidance for English Learners and Limited English Proficient Parents

Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents

Important Notice, Updated January 15

New Guidance from Departmarts of Education and Justice on Equitable Educational Access for English Language Students (January 2015)

Fact Sheet II: Additional Questions and Answers Enrolling New Immigrants Students (pdf)
This fact sheet supplements the August 2014 publication “Education Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States” (below)

Fact Sheet: Education Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the United States (pdf)
Fact sheet on educational services for immigrant children and those recently arrived to the United States. The fact sheet identifies existing resources that may be helpful to communities enrolling immigrant children, including newly arrived immigrant children.

English Learner Programs

The purposes of Title III are to:

  1. Improve the education of English Learners by assisting them attain English proficiency, attain high levels of academic achievement in English and meet challenging academic standards. AND

  2. Provide enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youth.

Contact Information

Terri Schuster, 402-471-4694

Brooke David, 402 471-2451


Updates and Announcements

Here is a list of resources that NDE has made available this year to help support English Learner Programs.

ELL Learning Modules
NDE is partnering with Nebraska educators and administrators to develop learning modules for schools and districts related to services for English Learners.  Four modules are now available.

  • Welcoming and Identifying English Learners
  • Language Instruction Educational Programs
  • Staffing
  • Program Review

To access the first module, click on ELL Learning Modules on the right under Professional Development. You will need to create a free Moddle account to access this resource.

ELA_ELP Alignment Work
This spring, NDE and the NorthCentral Comprehensive Center hosted ELA and ELL Teachers to work on a standards alignment document.  This work resulted in a process for aligning standards and working with ELA and literacy teachers to support English Learners. The final document including sample lessons is available here. You can also access the documents under State Resources, Nebraska English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards.

Program Review: The Written Report Guidance
Under Rule 15, English Learner Programs are required to submit a written report of their annual program review.  This written report should be kept on file in the superintendent’s office and available to the public.  Guidance on the written report can be found here.

Book Study Guide for Classroom Instruction that Works for English Language Learners, 2nd Edition. 

This resource is a Book Study Guide that accompanies the second edition of Classroom Instruction that Works with English Language Learners published by McREL International. 

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