Lesson 5 - Learner Assessment Illinois State Library

Necessity of Testing and Understanding the Results

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In order for assessment to be authentic and meaningful, the initial test, called a pre-test, must be the same type of test as the one that is given after a specific time frame, called a post-test. To measure progress, post-tests must be given after a certain amount of instructional tutoring hours, or whenever a student is leaving the program. As a tutor, you will need to know the interval of time between pre- and post-testing that your agency requires. You will either need to administer a post-test yourself at that point or alert the Tutor Coordinator when a student is leaving the program so that they may give the post-test.

Literacy programs use a variety of assessments based on a combination of state requirements and learner goals. If a learner wants to improve basic reading, the SORT or the TABE should be administered. If the student's goal is to improve English-speaking skills, the BEST, BEST Plus, ESLOA, CASAS, or CELSA test must be used.

Name of Test ABE or ESL Measures What? Administered by:
SORT ABE Word recognition Tutors
TABE ABE Reading, math, vocabulary, language arts Trained Administrators
BEST ESL English listening and speaking (oral language) Trained Administrators
BEST Plus ESL English listening and speaking (oral language) using a computer Trained Administrators
ESLOA ESL English listening and speaking (oral language) Tutors
CASAS ESL English reading, writing, listening and speaking within a functional context Trained Administrators
CELSA ESL English reading, writing at a level beyond beginning Trained Administrators

Keep in mind that while all assessments can indicate if a learner is making progress, many adult learners face obstacles to their learning process. A learner may be challenged by learning differences or the learner may have visual and/or auditory impairments that may require accommodations for their testing as well as for their subsequent instruction. There are special accommodations available for testing. Consider the following survey questions. You will not be able to complete this survey online. This survey is meant as a tool for you as you think about becoming a tutor.

Literacy Assessment for Adult Learners

  1. I understand that adult learners must take the appropriate pre-test and post-test in order to measure progress.
Yes _____
No _____
  1. I understand that English as a Second Language adult learners should be given a different test than a learner who knows English.
Yes _____
No _____
  1. I understand that pre-testing must be done to determine what an adult learner already knows.
Yes _____
No _____
  1. I understand that tutors can administer the SORT.
Yes _____
No _____

Integrated Curriculum - Reflective Activity

Now that you have read the lesson so far, you should have a better understanding of the connection between assessment and the learning process. This will lay the foundation for an effective and memorable tutoring experience.

Please take a few minutes and reflect on the information on assessment. Submit a reflective email about adult literacy assessment to your tutor trainer. Include the following information:

  1. How would you use initial assessment to assist with tutoring?
  2. What questions do you have about standardized testing?

Compose an email to your trainer. Put the title Understanding Learner Assessment - Reflective Activity in the subject line. Copy and paste the question into the body of the email. Then type in your answer and send it. Completing this assignment is a requirement of your training. Your trainer will respond to you through email.