[Assessment 1320] Re: CASAS vs. BEST

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Bryan Woerner bwoerner at cal.org
Fri May 16 17:48:27 EDT 2008

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.



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?


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.

Adult ESL Assessments
Center for Applied Linguistics


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


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>
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
- 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
National Institute for Literacy
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