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From: Amy R. Trawick (
Date: Fri Jun 24 2005 - 14:35:01 EDT

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From: "Amy R. Trawick" <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1151] Re: TABE and definition of reading
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Marie, I appreciate the clarification.  I thought you were somehow privy to 
information that the TABE Reading test hadn't been intended to measure 
reading.  I think it would be fair to say that the TABE developers and 
users, for the most part, consider it a reading test. But you and Andrea and 
others are raising an important question:  how is the TABE defining reading? 
And, relatedly, is that a useful/meaningful definition of reading?

The "reading" that is assessed on the TABE seems to be implicitly defined as 
something that one does to written text in order to find or extract meaning 
(that is "in" the text, if you know how to find it).  I think a more useful 
definition of reading is found in the EFF Content Standard Read With 
Understanding.  I understand the development process of this standard to be 
somewhat like the "job analysis" that Judy described in her last response. 
That is, through use of focus groups including adults from various walks of 
life, consensus was reached about the key responsibilities that adults have 
in their major roles as workers, family members, and community members. 
Next the skills required to fulfill these responsibilities were identified 
and *then* what these skills looked like in application were described to 
create the content standards.  Thus, reading is defined in the Content 
Standard Read With 
as a problem-solving process that originates from a  meaningful purpose and 
requires the application of cognitive and metacognitive strategies to 
achieve that purpose.

This definition is much broader than the implied one used in the TABE.  If I 
were using EFF's definition of reading to design instruction, I would want 
to make sure students knew that we read for different purposes, that we 
apply different strategies based on those purposes, that figuring out the 
author's meaning is one part of the process, and that what I already know 
may help me figure out what the author's meaning is but then I have to 
figure out what that means to me (related to my purpose).  I would structure 
learning assignments that required them to apply this knowledge for 
meaningful, often life-based, as opposed to just academic, purposes (though 
learning how to read "academically" would certainly be a part of 
instruction.  And I would ensure that they encountered/used/read multiple 
kinds of texts, not just workbooks.  If I were using this definition of 
reading to design assessment, the same would apply.  I would want to measure 
to what degree students are able to identify their own purposes for reading, 
employ strategies to problem-solve, and construct meaning that addresses 
their purposes for reading.  The TABE just doesn't do this.

So, to your statement:
    "Do I think that it's time to re-examine our tests and our system so 
that it better meets our students' and teachers' needs:  yes.  And I believe 
that we can do this if we do it together with all the stakeholders that are 
involved in our field."

I absolutely agree!


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marie Cora" <>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <>
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 11:56 AM
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1146] Re: TABE

> Hi Amy,
> Thanks for your question.
> I cannot speak to what the TABE developers' intentions are or were.  I
> am referring to comments made earlier this week that it can be used to
> assess reading.
> The reading section may indeed capture some of a person's ability to
> read. I think I noted that some reading skills can be determined.
> However, what I often hear from folks in the field is that the TABE is
> the only test that can be used by a state or programs to report on
> reading levels and reading gains of the students they serve.  People
> just don't seem very satisfied with this.  Yes, you need to read, but
> are you examining the person's ability to take the test, or a person's
> ability to read?  That's really my question here.  I don't necessarily
> have an answer, just opinions.
> As for failing in an attempt to make a reading test (just my opinion
> here) - I don't think so.  The TABE was developed to try and capture
> stuff that is extremely hard to capture.  At some point (and others
> would know the history of TABE much better than I), folks were wise
> enough to understand that we need to build a coherent system of
> education for our adult population - which is only a good thing.  Do I
> think that it's time to re-examine our tests and our system so that it
> better meets our students' and teachers' needs:  yes.  And I believe
> that we can do this if we do it together with all the stakeholders that
> are involved in our field.
> marie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Amy R. Trawick
> Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 11:26 AM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1144] Re: TABE
> Marie, earlier you said that the TABE and GED are not reading tests.
> Specifically, you commented "They were not developed
> that way, constructed that way, and they are not structured that way."
> I
> understand your comment in terms of the GED, but I'm curious why you say
> this about the TABE Reading test.  Are you saying that the TABE
> developers
> had no *intention* of measuring reading, or that they failed in the
> attempt?
> Amy
> Amy R. Trawick
> North Wilkesboro, NC
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Marie Cora" <>
> To: "Multiple recipients of list" <>
> Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 10:32 AM
> Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1140] Re: TABE
>> Hi everyone,
>> Hmmm...I still don't find the TABE to be a test of reading.  Even with
>> the thoughtful ideas on it presented by folks.  You need to be able to
>> read to do the test, true.  So the way I interpret that is to say that
>> one has enough skills to be able to tackle (or master) a
>> selected-response test (multiple choice test).
>> What do others think?
>> marie
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [] On
>> Behalf Of
>> Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 5:33 PM
>> To: Multiple recipients of list
>> Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1128] Re: TABE
>> Debbie,
>> Thanks for your forbearance.
>> Thanks also for your cut on the TABE.  Yes, I'd say a readng
> achievement
>> test, with an assumption that the person knows how to read the words
>> presented.
>> Andrea

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