[Assessment 1314] Re: CASAS vs. BEST

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Mary Jane Jerde mjjerdems at yahoo.com
Fri May 16 07:34:28 EDT 2008

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: CASAS vs. BEST 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.
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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