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From: Marie Cora (
Date: Tue Oct 04 2005 - 10:31:54 EDT

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Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1242] RE: New Computerized Literacy Tests
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Good morning, afternoon, and evening to you all.  I hope this email
finds you well.

Thanks for inquiring about these new tests David.  Here are the results
of my investigations so far.  Please note:  if there are folks on the
list who can add to what I'm contributing here, please do so - I've no
doubt that there are people who know much more than me regarding this

PDQ stands for Prose Literacy, Document Literacy, and Quantitative
Literacy - the framework that is utilized for the NALS, IALS, and ALL.
These computerized versions are based on the paper/pencil version of the
Tests of Applied Literacy Skills (TALS) which some of you may be
familiar with.  (If you are, please let us know what your experience has
been like using that set of tests.)  The TALS is acceptable to the NRS.

The TALS and subsequently the computerized versions are standardized
tests; they utilize the same scales as the NRS, NALS, IALS, and ALL.
Presently, ETS is working with AIR (American Institutes of Research) to
align the computerized tests with the NRS levels.  It would appear that
these can be used for the NRS - I believe that this is the effort in
motion right now:  to give the official OK for use with the National
Reporting System.  

If you go to:
you can find ample information on these tests.  Included there is a demo
you can check out, as well as info on test design and technical
specifications (i.e.:  the standardization process).  

If folks have further questions, please ask; and if folks have further
info or personal experiences to share, please do so.


marie t. cora
Moderator, NIFL Assessment Discussion List, and 
LINCS Assessment Special Collection at

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Rosen
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:00 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1240] New Computerized Literacy Tests

NIFL-Assessment Colleagues,

Below is a message cross-posted from NIFL-Womenlit about a new  
computerized adaptive literacy assessment.
Has anyone had experience with the PDQ assessments?
Are these standardized?
Can states use them for NRS assessment?


David J. Rosen

On Sep 21, 2005, at 4:35 PM, Daphne Greenberg wrote:

> ETS Announces New Computerized Literacy Tests
> The PDQ Profile Series and the Health Activities Literacy Test are  
> available
> online at <>   
> and
> consist of real-world materials and open-ended questions that are
> automatically scored by a computer. The tests also are adaptive in  
> that they
> select questions based in part on an individual's level of skill, thus
> making the individual's test shorter and more precise than it would
> otherwise be. Both of these measures provide information that can  
> be used to
> determine if and where there is a need to improve literacy skills;  
> better
> focus teaching and learning activities; and, compare results with  
> those
> obtained in state, national and international surveys.
> "Literacy skills are critical to developing the human capital that
> individuals and nations will need to succeed in the 21st century,"  
> says
> Irwin Kirsch, who directs the Center for Global Assessment at ETS  
> and who
> developed the framework for the assessments. "The assessments are  
> based both
> on the legacy of the National Adult Literacy Survey and the  
> International
> Adult Literacy Survey, and the extensive research base surrounding  
> these
> large-scale assessments."
> The PDQ Profile Series consists of tests that provide accurate  
> information
> about an individual's skill at using written and printed information
> associated with adult roles and contexts. PDQ refers to the Prose,  
> Document,
> and Quantitative literacy proficiency scales used in the large  
> scale surveys
> and these new computerized tests. Prose literacy measures how well
> individuals understand and use information found in newspapers,  
> magazines,
> novels, brochures, manuals or flyers. Document literacy assesses  
> how well a
> person understands information in forms, schedules, charts and  
> graphs, and
> tables. Quantitative literacy involves reading the same type of  
> materials
> associated with Prose and Document literacy, but differs in that the
> individual needs to identify the appropriate information and  
> perform one or
> more arithmetic operations using these materials.
> The Health Activities Literacy Test also provides accurate  
> information about
> an individual's skill at using written and printed information, but  
> focuses
> on health-related activities that are defined in terms of health  
> promotion,
> health protection, disease prevention, health care and maintenance,  
> and
> systems navigation. Both the PDQ Profile Series and the Health  
> Activities
> Literacy Test include a locator and full-length test version of the
> assessments. The locator is a useful tool for providing a general  
> evaluation
> of an individual's literacy skills for placement purposes, and the
> full-length tests are useful measures for pre- and post-testing, to
> determine whether skills have changed over time or as the result of a
> particular intervention.
> The PDQ Profile Series and the Health Activities Literacy Test  
> capitalize on
> new computer technologies that allow for automatic presentation,  
> scoring,
> scaling and reporting of the everyday open-ended literacy tasks.  
> The tests
> are available for purchase by individuals and institutions and are  
> designed
> to measure the skills of their learners, program participants, and
> employees. By using internet technologies, the administrative burden
> associated with traditional paper and pencil testing is eliminated.  
> Another
> feature of these measures is the automatic production of individual  
> score
> reports, emphasizing strengths and weaknesses with particular types of
> literacy tasks. The reports are accompanied by interpretive  
> material that
> includes functional competencies and near-term learning targets. In
> addition, downloadable data files will be available to institutions  
> and
> researchers using the tests.
> For further information or to purchase a test, please visit:
> <>
> About ETS
> ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and
> equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments,  
> research and
> related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals,
> educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS
> customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional  
> development
> products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and
> research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today
> develops, administers and scores more than 24 million tests  
> annually in more
> than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.
> ________________________
> Julie K. Eastland
> Program Administrator
> Center for Global Assessment
> Educational Testing Service
> Rosedale Rd.
> Princeton, NJ 08541
> Tel: 716-876-5802
> Cell: 716-982-1802

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