Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory

* * CDE will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28 for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. * *

Approved Assessments for AEFLA Programs


The Basic English Skills Test (BEST Plus) is appropriate for learners enrolled in ESL classes whose primary need is for instruction in speaking and listening.

BEST Plus is a performance-based test that measures an ESL learner’s skills in three areas: Listening Comprehension, Language Complexity, and Communication.

In the computer-adaptive version of the BEST Plus, test items are delivered via a computer with a BEST Plus CD. The test administrator asks the examinee a question that is presented to the administrator on the computer screen, listens to the examinee’s response, uses a rubric to determine the score for the item, and then enters the score into the computer. Based on that score, the computer determines the difficulty level of the next question. As a result, the questions are appropriate for the learner’s ability and give the fewest number of test questions needed to accurately determine the student’s proficiency level.


    Choose a CASAS series based on the curriculum that reflects students’ goals. The Life Skills series covers a wide range of life skill content areas. The Life and Work series includes both employment and life skill-related content. The Employability series contains employment-related content. The Workforce series reflects the reading and math skills needed at the workplace.

    The CASAS Life Skills Assessment is used by Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs to help identify the basic skills in reading*, math, and listening** needed by individuals to function successfully in today's society.

    The CASAS Life and Work Series incorporates both general life skill and employment-related content, and helps identify the basic reading and listening skills needed to function successfully in today's society. The Life and Work Series is appropriate for ABE, ESL, and employment preparation and training programs.

    *Life and Work Reading, Forms 81–188 became available July 2006. Agencies began replacing Life Skills Reading, Forms 31–38 at that time.

    **Life and Work Listening became available July 2008. Agencies began replacing Life Skills Listening, Forms 51–56 and Employability Competency System (ECS) Listening, Forms 63–66 at that time.

    The CASAS Employment Competency System (ECS) is appropriate for older youth and adults, basic education programs, and English as a Second Language programs. It is designed to integrate basic skills instruction, job knowledge, and skill development. The instructional focus is based on the employment related competencies that a learner needs to attain and demonstrate in the workplace.

    The CASAS Workforce Learning System (WLS) is an employability-based program to determine current employee skill levels and to identify training standards. WLS is designed to test adult basic skills in the functional context of the workplace. It can be used with native and non-native speakers of English.

    The CASAS Functional Writing Assessment (FWA) is appropriate for use with ESL and ABE/GED learners at all but the literacy (0) level. Programs may administer and informally score the FWA of these learners for diagnostic and instructional purposes. FWAs will be officially scored by the National Scoring Services, Inc. and entered into the CDE data collection system CAESAR only for learners placed at two levels – ESL levels 4-6 and ABE High Intermediate Level 6-8.9.

    The CASAS Beginning Literacy Reading Assessment assesses the reading ability of individuals with very limited literacy skills. There are two sections of the test: a literacy enabling skills section and a life skills section that focuses on content relevant to everyday life. Forms 27 and 28 assess literacy level reading skills and are appropriate for use with native and non-native English speakers


    The Tests of Adult Basic Education 9&10 (TABE 9/10) assess basic reading, mathematics, and language skills, as well as including optional spelling, vocabulary and language mechanics tests. The assessment yields objective mastery information for basic skills, and provides percentile, scale scores, and grade equivalent scores. The scores reveal whether students have mastered topics similar to those covered by the new GED, or whether they will need more instruction and practice. TABE is appropriate for learners enrolled in ABE and ASE/GED classes.

    The complete battery consists of five levels (L, E, M, D, and A), two forms (9 and 10), and a Locator Test. Subtests cover reading, math computation, applied mathematics, and language. Vocabulary, Language Mechanics, and Spelling are optional tests.

    The survey consists of four levels (E, M, D, and A) and two forms (9 and 10). Subtests are the same as in the Complete Battery.

    The TABE Locator must be administered to determine the appropriate level of the TABE test to administer.

    Other Assessments

    In addition to the required standardized pre- and post-assessment instruments, a program should also use a variety of formal and informal instruments to collect information regarding student instructional needs and progress, such as:

    • Official GED Practice Tests
    • End of chapter tests
    • Teacher-made assessments
    • Writing samples
    • Student self-evaluations

    Assessing Non-readers

    For ABE students who are non-readers or who have significant difficulty on the locator or appraisal test for the selected standardized assessment instrument, use one of the following assessments to establish an EFL:

    < Assessment Index | Download Assessment Policy for AEFLA Programs (pdf)

    Quick Links


    Contact Us

    Colorado Dept. of Education
    201 East Colfax Ave.
    Denver, CO 80203
    Phone: 303-866-6600
    Fax: 303-830-0793
    Contact CDE

    CDE Hours
    Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    See also: Licensing Hours

    Educator Licensing