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Comprehensive English Language Learning Assessment (CELLA) Online


 CELLA Connections links individual student results in each CELLA Online diagnostic skill category with the

  • Definition and detail of the required skills.
  • Targeted instructional activities that teachers can use to improve student skills.
  • Relevant research findings and citations that enhance professional discourse.
  • Opportunity for professional collaboration.

 For additional information about CELLA Connections, go here.


 Shorter Kindergarten Form: An abbreviated version of the CELLA Online Listening and Speaking Level A
 test form designed specifically for Kindergarten students and their teachers.

  • Reduces total time required to administer and score by 40%, from an average of 24 minutes to just 14.5 minutes.
  • Test instructions now tailored for individual administration to Kindergarten students.
  • Maintains content validity and test reliability comparable to the full form.

 Enhanced Diagnostic Skill Categories on CELLA Online student reports now also include:

  • Language of Instructional and Social Settings, Language of Math and Science, Language of English Language Arts, and Language of Social Studies and the Arts.
  • Reading Comprehension is now disaggregated into Literal, Simple Inference, and Complex Inference.

 For a full listing of the CELLA Online diagnostic skill categories provided in student reports, go here.

CELLA Basics


  • Identification and program placement for ESL or bilingual programs.
  • Enhanced diagnostic breakouts that support data-driven instructional decision making.
  • Access to CELLA Connections℠, including targeted, research-based instructional activities that teachers can use to improve the language skills of English Learners (ELs).
  • Data useful for charting individual and group progress over time, including a student's first year in a school system.

   Development and Design

  • CELLA was developed by AccountabilityWorks and ETS and a consortium of five states: Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
  • Research-based emphasis on Academic English to assist in determining whether students have the English language skills to succeed in a general education environment.
  • Standards-based assessment measures content benchmarks developed after review of English language proficiency standards in multiple states.
  • CELLA Online includes English proficiency levels at Beginning, Low Intermediate, High Intermediate, and Proficient levels at each grade, K through 12. Proficiency levels are adjusted for Fall, Winter, or Spring test administration.
  • Functionally-based (rather than grade-based) assessment in Reading and Writing assures a non-frustrating experience as well as reliable scores for students at a very wide range of literacy levels.
  • Three core vertical scales (Listening/Speaking, Reading, Writing) and two composite scales (Comprehension, Total) permit reports describing score gains over time.


  • CELLA Online is available as several single modality assessments—Listening/Speaking, or Reading, or Writing—or as a comprehensive assessment that includes all modalities.
  • Students take all sections of CELLA Online using a computer connected to the internet.
  • Test administration ranges from 15 - 40 minutes for Level A modality assessments to 35 - 70 minutes for Level D modality assessments.


  • No teacher hand-scoring of multiple-choice items or the overall test!
  • Scores and reports are instantly available as soon as students complete the test and teachers enter ratings for open response items (e.g., speaking items, some writing items).


  • A range of reports are available on demand at the individual/class/grade/school levels, including proficiency levels, content subcategories, scale scores, diagnostic breakouts, snapshots/trends, gain scores, etc.
  • Reports are designed to assist teachers in addressing individual student needs.
  • Data are accessible online at any time using a secure username and password system.


  • District and school bulk purchases start at licenses for 25 students which may be tested up to three times in a given school year. Standard bulk pricing details are available here. If you have any questions, please email us at: contact@awschooltest.com


  • The system is accessed online through a computer using a recent version of the Internet Explorer (IE) browser on Windows or Safari on Macs. Bandwidth of at least 100 Kbps is recommended, especially for tests with included audio, such as CELLA Online. No software is installed on local client or server computers.

Interested in additional information about CELLA?

  • The CELLA brochure provides a short, two-page description: CELLA brochure (5.6mb)

 Other Resources
The U.S. Department of Education has published a useful set of research-based publications on serving ELLs:

 Instruction and Academic Interventions

 Serving Adolescent Newcomers

 Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments