CELDT: Understanding Scores

The California English Language Development Test (CELDT) is the state's English language proficiency test for all students whose home language is not English.

Which Students Must Take the CELDT and When?

All students whose home language is not English must take the CELDT within 30 calendar days of enrolling in a California public school to determine classification as Fluent-English Proficient (FEP) or English Learner (EL). ELs must take it every year thereafter until they are Reclassified as Fluent-English Proficient (R-FEP).

What is a Domain?

A domain is a test category on the CELDT. CELDT domains include Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, though each student taking the CELDT also earns an Overall score. Each student taking the CELDT earns a performance level in each of these 4 domains, as well as an Overall performance level. The Reading and Writing domains are relatively new to students in kindergarten and 1st grade, as questions for these 2 domains were created in 2008 and field tested in 2009, with standard setting taking place in 2010.

What is a Performance Level?

There are 5 possible performance levels that can be earned on each domain of the CELDT and Overall: Beginning (1), Early Intermediate (2), Intermediate (3), Early Advanced (4), and Advanced (5). For example, a student could score a 4 (Early Advanced) in Listening, a 4 in Speaking, a 2 (Early Intermediate) in Reading, a 2 in Writing and a 3 (Intermediate) Overall.

When Is a Student Considered Proficient on the CELDT?

Many people make the mistake of thinking CELDT proficiency is based solely on a student's Overall performance level. It is based partly on the Overall score, but also on all other domains.

A student is considered Proficient on the CELDT only when he or she earns a performance level of 3 (Intermediate) or above in every domain and also a 4 (Early Advanced) or above Overall. Only then should an EL student be considered for reclassification. K-1 students, however, only have to meet this criteria for Listening, Speaking, and Overall in order to score Proficient. Please note that 3 (Intermediate) Overall can, in some cases, allow a student to score proficient, but only when additional measures (e.g., alternate assessments) support proficiency, and also when the score is in the upper range of 3 (Intermediate).

For example, a student in grades 2-12 who scored a 4 (Early Advanced) in Listening, a 4 in Speaking, a 3 (Intermediate) in Reading, a 4 (Early Advanced) in Writing and a 3 (Intermediate) Overall would not be considered Proficient on the CELDT because of the 3 Overall score. Likewise, a student in grades 2-12 who scored a 4 (Early Advanced) in Listening, a 4 (Early Advanced) in Speaking, a 2 (Early Intermediate) in Reading, a 4 (Early Advanced) in Writing and a 4 (Early Advanced) Overall would not be considered Proficient on the CELDT because of the 2 score in one of the 4 domains (Reading).

A student in grades K-1 who scored a 3 (Intermediate) in Listening, a 4 (Early Advanced) in Speaking, a 1 (Beginning) in Reading, a 1 (Beginning) in Writing and a 4 (Early Advanced) Overall would be considered Proficient on the CELDT because of the scores for the Reading and Writing domains have no impact on CELDT students until they reach grade 2. Thus the student only have to earn a 3 or higher in Listening and in Speaking, as well as a 4 or higher overall, in order to be considered proficient on the CELDT. Please note that different criteria impacted K-1 students prior to 2009-2010.

More Information

Visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/el/documents/celdt09astpkt1.pdf for more help understanding individual student's CELDT results. Reference the "CELDT and AYP: AMAOs and Title III Accountability" lesson in this help manual for information on how CELDT impacts accountability.