Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA)

Questions and Answers  (This document is also available as a PDF file.)


March 22, 2005


  1. What is the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA)?


The KELPA assesses K-12 English Language Learners (ELLs)/Limited English Proficient (LEP) students for their proficiency levels in the domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing English. It is based on the indicators in the Kansas English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Standards.  The Center for Testing and Evaluation (CETE) developed the assessment with input from the field.


  1. Why must school districts administer the KELPA?


No Child Left Behind mandates the annual assessment of grades K-12 ELLs to measure growth in the domains of English language acquisition. Even if the district does not receive any Title III or Kansas ESOL/Bilingual funds, the federal law requires all limited English proficient students be assessed annually for English proficiency.


  1. Who takes the KELPA in spring 2005?    


a) Any student identified as ELL/LEP according to the Language Assessment Scales (LAS), the Idea Proficiency Test (IPT), or the Language Proficiency Test Series (LPTS).


b) A student who has exited an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, but is not doing well in academic content areas due to the possibility that s/he may still be LEP. The commercial instruments (the LAS, the IPT, or the LPTS) sometimes prematurely classify students as “fluent” before they’ve acquired academic English proficiency.  If you suspect a student may still be LEP, give the KELPA to determine the student’s proficiency level.


  1. What if students whose home language is other than English were not assessed for their English proficiency after enrolling in the district?


In this situation, the students should participate in the KELPA.  No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires that students who enroll at the beginning of the school year and have a home language other than English be assessed with a language proficiency test within 30 days after enrolling in the district.  Those students enrolling after the beginning of the school year must be assessed for their English proficiency within two weeks.  Currently, the LAS, the IPT, and the LPTS are the assessments used by Kansas school districts to determine LEP identification and placement.


  1. What about LEP students whose parents waived their participation in an ESL program?


All LEP students must take the KELPA until they attain proficiency in all four domains. Even if the parents refuse services for their student, he or she must be assessed.


  1. When will KELPA results be returned to district?


August 2005


7.  Can the KELPA be given in lieu of state content assessments?


No.  The only exception is students in their first year in a US school may take the KELPA in lieu of the state Reading assessment. 


8. Do former LEP students who are now on “monitor status” (as required by NCLB for two years after exiting an ESL program) take the KELPA?


No, unless the student may have been prematurely identified as proficient in English.  The assessment is optional in this situation.


  1. How is comprehension measured since there is no comprehension test?


Comprehension is measured by a composite score of the four domains tested:  speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 


  1. What about ELLs who are also receiving special education services?


Students with disabilities who are also ELLs will take or not take the KELPA according to their IEP.  Students with disabilities taking the KELPA will be given accommodations according to their IEP. 


  1. Who can administer and score the KELPA?


Any district personnel fluent in the English language who has been trained in administering the KELPA. Only certified staff may score the constructed-response component of the writing sub-test.


  1. How do I register for the KELPA?


      Through the district’s testing coordinator who will contact CETE.


  1. When is the KELPA testing window?


       April 4, 2005 – May 11, 2005


14.  What is the KELPA-P?


The KELPA-P is the placement tool for students newly enrolled in a district.  It will be available on-line before the 2005-2006 school year begins.  The KELPA-P is a non-secure assessment used solely for local diagnostic and placement purposes.  It is scored locally and used only for local needs.


15.  Must the KELPA be given in one sitting?


There are four sub-tests within the KELPA:  listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  Each sub-test must be given in one sitting; however, each sub-test can be given in separate sittings.


  1. If a student scores proficient in some, but not all of the sub-tests, must that student retake the entire KELPA the subsequent year or only the sub-test with a non-proficient score?  For example, the student scored proficient in listening, speaking, and reading, but not proficient in writing.  The following year to measure the student’s growth, must s/he take only the writing sub-test or each of the sub-tests?


      The student must take each sub-test until s/he scores proficient on the entire KELPA:   

      listening, speaking, reading, and writing.


  1. What are the proficiency levels on the KELPA?


The proficiency levels on the KELPA reflect the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Standards:  beginning, intermediate, and advanced.  Once a student scores beyond “advanced”, that student is proficient in that domain (listening, speaking, reading, writing). 


  1. Is there any possibility that the testing window be earlier for subsequent years? 


No.  This year is the baseline year and we must keep the testing window the same in order to show accurate annual growth.


  1. What about students whose KELPA scores the districts must know before the end of the school year? 


There are cases when the district needs to know the student’s proficiency level (read: whether or not the student will need ESL services in the subsequent year) before the end of the school year.  This is especially true in districts that have ESL “Center Schools” and must determine whether or not the student will need to attend an ESL Center School for the upcoming year.  In these cases, it’s allowable for the district to hand-score the KELPA for local placement purposes, but the testing materials/answer sheet must be returned to CETE and those scores will be measured for annual growth.


20.  Is the KELPA or KELPA-P available to pre-K students?


No. KELPA is only required K-12. KELPA-P does not have a pre-K component.  For identification of pre-K students, a commercial instrument must be used (such as the Pre-LAS or the Pre-IPT). 


  1. Will alignment studies be conducted comparing the KELPA and the LAS, IPT, and LPTS to measure student’s progress from 03-04 to 04-05?


No.  04-05 is the baseline year using KELPA scores.  No alignment studies between the commercial instruments and KELPA will be conducted.


22.  How is growth measured – by grade level or individual student performance? 


This question is referring to the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs), which measure progress according to student cohort.  The definition of “cohort” for the KELPA is not yet determined.


  1. Must ELLs in non-public schools that are receiving Title III monies take the KELPA?


      It is not required; however, the non-public school may choose to give its ELLs the KELPA.


  1. Are all four domain tests (sub-tests) in one booklet or four separate booklets?


All sub-tests are combined into one booklet.


  1. Must the speaking sub-test be recorded and sent to CETE?


No.  It’s advisable to record the students while they’re taking the speaking test, but not required.


  1. Must the writing sample (constructed response) from the writing sub-test be returned to CETE?