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(2) Assessing English Language Learners

What do I do if an English Language Learner tests out of or remediates out of ESL level 6?

For programs using different NRS assessments for English Language Learners and ABE learners, learners who test above the range for ESL Level 6 (aka “Completed ESL 6”) must be re-pre-tested on an ABE assessment. This is because ESL levels above 6 are not recognized by the National Reporting System (NRS) as an EFL.

English Language Learners who pre-test with an Entry EFL below or at ESL Level 6 may remediate out of ESL Level 6, and will show a current EFL of “Completed ESL L6” in LACES to demonstrate an EFL gain. If these learners accumulate additional hours for subsequent post-testing they must then be tested on an ABE assessment. They may be placed in ABE/ASE classes, if appropriate.

Grantees may choose to utilize the CASAS Life and Work Reading assessment approved in the current assessment policy for both ESL and ABE placement. If a program chooses to use this option, they must edit the ESL Student Checkbox in LACES to ensure the assessment correctly tracks to ESL or ABE levels. More detailed instructions are located in the LACES Data Dictionary

What does a program do if an English Language Learner has remediated out of ESL Level 6 in Reading but the program believes the learner would benefit from more speaking and listening instruction in an ESL class before transitioning to ABE? How does the program then track the learner’s progress in speaking and listening in LACES?

If the program assessed the learner in listening at program entry, gains for the learner will be tracked in listening.

If the program did not assess the learner in listening at program entry, it is allowable for the program to assess the learner in listening after program entry. Note that per the assessment policy, learners must be assessed in skill areas relevant to the learner’s need. If AEI program coordinators notice additional skill areas being assessed outside of entry, programs may be asked to address why these assessments were not given at entry.

What are the rules for moving English Language Learners (ELLs) from CASAS assessments to BEST Plus 2.0, in particular, for learners who have already started classes based on their CASAS test scores?

As BEST Plus 2.0 was added as an approved assessment at the start of program year 2020-21, programs may use BEST Plus 2.0 in tandem with CASAS -OR- transition out of using CASAS    and solely use BEST Plus 2.0 moving forward. Programs intending to replace CASAS with BEST Plus 2.0 will need to make sure that learners have a valid pre-test/post-test combination on the same assessment type. That is, if a learner pre-tests on CASAS, they must post-test on CASAS, then pre-test and post-test on BEST Plus 2.0.