[Assessment 1323] Re: CASAS vs. BEST

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Ted Klein taklein at austin.rr.com
Mon May 19 08:10:47 EDT 2008


Mary Jane,

I developed the following oral interview for initial placement. The scores below for each question are based on part of the federal Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) system. It's quick and it works.

Ted
www.tedklein-ESL.com



ORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE



Block 2 Ted Klein



Questions marked with an asterisk * are mandatory. Of the remaining questions, ten should be selected at random. Speech of the interviewer will be at normal speed and clarity, with NO exaggeration.



1. What is your name please?* -----------------------------------------------------------------------



2. Where are you from?* -------



3. What part of XXXXXXX are you from?-------



4. What is your native language? -------



5. How long have you been in America? -------



6. Do you read English?* -------



7. Did you study English in your country? -------



8. How long did you study English? -------



9. Are you enjoying the U.S.A? -------



10. What do you like here? -------



11. Is there anything that you don't like? -------



12. Have you studied any other languages besides English? -------



13. Why do you want to learn English? -------



14. How many years of education have you had? -------



15. Do you have any hobbies? What are they? -------



16. Do you have any American friends to practice English with? -------



17. Do you work? Where? -------



18. What are your plans for the future? -------



19. Why did you come to America? -------



20. Do you have any questions for me? -------





Mark responses: 0 no answer. 0+ telegraphic/very simple response.

1 simple, but complete response. 1+ functional and clear response.

2 somewhat elaborate, fairly clear and mostly grammatical response.



Interviewees with ten or more answers in the 1+ to 2 range should be ready to take a written

proficiency test of listening and reading skills. Non-readers are excluded. (ref: Ques. 6)




----- Original Message -----
From: Mary Jane Jerde
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 6:47 PM
Subject: [Assessment 1322] Re: CASAS vs. BEST


Hello All,

Since with BEST Plus the ESL students are scored on comprehension, complexity (grammar), and communication (how easily their responses can be understood), I think that either BEST or BEST Plus would make the leap to another English speaking country fairly easily. Certainly much better than most other test instruments like CASAS.

The questions are for adults on common topics, shopping, neighborhood preferences, exercise, daily activities, etc. The occasional pictures are fairly generic.

I think it would be worth a good look.

It is too bad that the paper BEST is not available. It was great for quick placement in ongoing programs with rolling enrollment.

Mary Jane Jerde
Howard Community College






Bryan Woerner <bwoerner at cal.org> wrote:
Hello Maria,

BEST Plus and BEST Literacy were developed for use with adult English language learners who need to use English to function in day-to-day life in an English-speaking context in the 50 United States. This means that all test items and graphics were developed and included in the tests based on cultural assumptions about life in the US. Therefore, the results from either test really wouldn't be valid. They also wouldn't suitable test for non-American English speakers who first language is English, if I understand you correctly. The tests were designed for non-native speakers. If, however, a non-native speaker who learned British English came to the US and took ESL classes, then he or she could be tested with BEST Plus or BEST Literacy.

What was known as the "BEST test" or the Basic English Skills Test, is no longer published. It was developed in the 1980's and hadn't been updated since then. The oral interview was replaced by BEST Plus in 2003 and the literacy skills section was updated and became BEST Literacy in 2006. Since the BEST test was around for so long, the nomenclature sometimes get mixed up. But, like its descendents, it too was only valid within the US for the same reasons.

And I would suggest to Anthony that he contact the TESOL organization. They published a book called ESOL Tests and Testing which is a compilation of many different ESL, EFL and ESP assessments.
http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=856&DID=3460

Bryan





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From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Marie Cora
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 5:11 PM
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List'
Subject: [Assessment 1318] Re: CASAS vs. BEST


Hi Bryan and Anthony,

A question to you Bryan - is the BEST then available for folks outside the US? Also, do you believe it's suitable for English speakers from countries other than the US?

Thanks!
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Marie Cora
Assessment Discussion List Moderator


-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Bryan Woerner
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 2:35 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1317] Re: CASAS vs. BEST

Hello Anthony,

BEST Plus was designed for use with adult English language learners in the United States.

Bryan
Adult ESL Assessments
Center for Applied Linguistics


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From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Anthony Berry
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 8:34 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1315] Re: CASAS vs. BEST
Could someone please tell me how I an have sight of BEST. I have been looking for an adaptive, normative, diagnostic test for ages and this seems as though it might fit the bill.

What flavour of English is it? Yes, you can see that I am of the Queen's English brigade!

Thanks for any help - btw this would be for research purposes not productive use.

Anthony Berry
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Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 04:34:28 -0700
From: mjjerdems at yahoo.com
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Subject: [Assessment 1314] Re: CASAS vs. BEST

The BEST is great for assessing the learner's production of English. Its additional pluses are that there are not test forms that learners can learn it identify and recall easily; the test questions become harder or easier depending on how the learner's responses are scored, which mitigates differences between assessors; and it would be better able to identify small progress than CASAS forms.

The one major downside is that it takes time and more time as the learners progress. A large program simply cannot afford to put the hours into testing that BEST Plus requires.

I've used both CASAS and BEST Plus in smaller programs because one instrument cannot give a full picture on a learner (Assessment 101), and it maximizes the chance to show improvement at post-test.

Good luck,

Mary Jane Jerde
Howard Community College

"Rodrick Beiler, Ingrid" <Ingrid.RodrickBeiler at montgomerycountymd.gov> wrote:
Hi everyone
I serve as the coordinator for an adult ESOL program in Montgomery County, MD. We offer classes mostly at the beginner level, with some classes at literacy and intermediate levels as well. I am fairly new to this field and am trying to determine the comparative usefulness of CASAS and BEST for assessment of our program. Can anyone comment on how/why their organizations might have chosen one over the other?
In case it is helpful for understanding my organization's needs, here is some more background information:
- We serve about 275-300 learners per semester.
- Many of our learners have a very low educational level.
- Pre- and post-tests are administered by our instructors during the first and last classes of the semester.
- Placement tests are administered by coordinators at each of our sites in one-on-one interviews.
- We provide 36-48 instructional hours per semester. (I wonder if this precludes our using the BEST.)
- Most of our funding comes from two sources (government and a private funder).
- The cost of standardized assessments is an important factor to us.
Your advice is much appreciated.
Thanks,
Ingrid Rodrick Beiler
Ingrid Rodrick Beiler
ESOL Coordinator
Linkages to Learning
51 Monroe Street, Suite 1700
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: (240) 777-1110
Fax: (240) 777-1111
ingrid.rodrickbeiler at montgomerycountymd.gov
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