AZ English Language Learner Assessment (AZELLA)

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The Arizona English Language Learner Assessment (AZELLA) is a standards based assessment that measures a student’s proficiency of the Arizona English Language Proficiency Standards. AZELLA meets both state and federal requirements for assessing the language proficiency of students identified as second language learners and determines placement for appropriate instruction. The AZELLA score is used for entry and exit criteria for ELL program services and for measuring annual progress.


The AZELLA is offered at five different grade level groupings: Stage I (Preliteracy) for Kindergarten; Stage II (Primary) for Grades 1 and 2; Stage III (Elementary) for Grades 3, 4, and 5; Stage IV (Middle Grades) for Grades 6, 7, and 8; and Stage V (High School) for Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.  Each Stage assesses four domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Additionally, the test assesses grammar skills. Upon entering kindergarten the Primary Home Language Other Than English (PHLOTE) is used to determine if new kindergarten student needs to take the Kindergarten Placement Test. This placement test is specifically designed for entering kindergarten students. The assessment includes multiple-choice, constructed response, short answer and extended response items.

For additional information, please access the Arizona Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition Services ( 

AZELLA Proficiency Levels

Proficiency Level

Characteristics in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

Pre-Emergent (PE)/ Emergent (E)

Students at this level lack the English skills to communicate, retell stories heard, or add details to drawings. These students do not demonstrate sufficient skills in English to access mainstream curriculum and demonstrates the need for specific ongoing support in English language development instruction.

Basic (B)

Students at this level have a limited understanding of spoken social English. They respond orally with isolated words and simple sentences with grammatical errors. They are beginning to identify letter sounds and sound/symbol relationships. Students

Intermediate (I)

Students at this level have a moderate understanding of spoken social English, but are limited in their understanding of academic English. They generally respond orally with phrases and simple sentences. These students are able to decode CVC words. They can write letters of the alphabet and demonstrate an understanding of basic written conventions.

Proficient (P)

Students consistently understand social and academic English responding orally with simple but detailed sentences. They read CVC and high-frequency words and comprehend grade-level texts that are read aloud. These students write words, phrases, and simple sentences and demonstrate an understanding of a range of written conventions.