[Assessment 1451] Re: TABE CLAS-E

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Anderson, Philip Philip.Anderson at fldoe.org
Mon Nov 3 08:45:28 EST 2008


I really appreciate your helpful thoughts. Your voice is one that I
will share with our ad hoc committee, so they can hear from someone with
similar issues. I heartily agree with you about trying to meet student
goals instead of state mandates. Thank you for pointing out the need
for flexibility in testing and not to test students too much. That is
exactly what we are grappling with now, and the purpose of convening an
ad hoc committee of practitioners is to sort this out and make a
recommendation to the state. We are considering the recommendations
from the publisher of TABE CLAS-E and we are trying to determine whether
their recommendations will fit our programs, and if so, how they can fit

We currently have in place a state assessment policy that requires
programs that offer federally funded ESL courses to assess students in
both reading and listening with the CASAS. There are exceptions to this
with students in the lowest level of the NRS levels.

The state assessment policy also allows programs that offer the
federally funded ESL course to use BEST Plus and/or BEST Literacy. We
do not require that programs assess students with both BEST Plus
(listening and speaking) and BEST Literacy (reading and writing).

I hesitate to speak on behalf of the publishers of CASAS, TABE CLAS-E or
BEST to say what their viewpoints are on this question of how many skill
areas the state should require programs to test students in, but they
are well aware of our policy and we have had many conversations about it
that have been very helpful.

The primary reason we think it is important to test students who are
enrolled in the main ESL course we offer (federally funded) in both
reading and listening is that we have found that the majority of the
ESOL population we serve has more difficulty with their listening skill
than their reading skill. The reading test scores among our students
across the state are consistently higher than the listening scores.
There are exceptions, yes. But overall, the trend points to a strong
need for the ESOL population in Florida to be able to understand spoken
English. If we were to put in place a policy that advanced and reported
students based solely on a reading score, we would be seeing students
exit the 6 ESL levels faster. In addition, we would be seeing students
who are still weak in the listening skill, but we would be unable to
serve them with our federal funds because they had exited out of the 6
ESL levels. We believe that by having a policy that requires programs
to report student scores and to move them from one NRS level to the next
based on the lower of the two scores, we are ensuring that students are
able to get the most comprehensive education possible.

Maybe I should have expanded by saying that Florida has several other
types of courses for ESL that do not need to use tests that are approved
for reporting to the NRS. Testing for these courses is handled
differently. These are courses that are funded with state dollars only,
and they are: Literacy Skills for Adult ESOL Learners (for non-literate
students), Academic Skills for Adult ESOL Learners (for students that
are above Advanced ESL), Workplace Readiness Skills for Adult ESOL
Learners (for employed students with classes held at a place provided by
the employer), and Citizenship (to prepare for taking the USCIS
Naturalization test). The Adult Education Workplace Readiness course
allows the school and the employer to choose the method of assessment
that best fits the employer's needs. A contract between the student,
school and employer is drawn up, and when the terms of the contract are
met, the state pays an established amount to the school for the
expenditure of its resources. Of course, there are other types of
workplace educational services provided through schools that are funded
entirely by the employer, and these are not funded through adult

Bottom line is that while we provide flexibility in assessment policy
for state-funded courses, for the main course that is federally funded
and which moves students through 6 levels with cut off scores at
different points, we have required that programs that use CASAS must
test students in both reading and listening to report a placement level
and to show progression. There are exceptions to this with students in
the lowest level of the NRS levels.

You can find our assessment Technical Assistance Paper and the
additional ESL courses we offer at our adult education
<http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/adult_ed.asp> web page,

By the way, I know the Crawfordsville, IN, area well - I grew up in
Illinois but my grandmother was from Indiana so I had lots of relatives
there. I think you have lots of covered bridges, right? There is a
Crawfordville in Florida (no s), about 20 minutes from Tallahassee. I
got my first exposure to teaching ESOL in the US in a small rural area
of IL (Kankakee Community College), with migrant farmworkers, in 1988.
What an experience!


(850) 245-9450


From: Burger, Karen [mailto:kburger at cville.k12.in.us]
Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:26 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1449] Re: TABE CLAS-E


Although I have not yet looked into the TABE CLAS-E, I find it
interesting that your state is looking at ESOL testing with regard to
how to level learners and which skill areas must be assessed. Our state
policy allows for some flexibility in this for the following reasons.
First, if it is a workplace project, and the employer is requesting
instruction in a specific skill area, then that is the area assessed and
used for leveling the learner. Also, some of our programs are very
small, have limit resources, staff, space and materials. This can make
it difficult to assess learners in all areas. Particularly in listening
because of the type of testing environment that it requires. Further,
there are times that a learner may have the goal to improve skills in a
certain area. Again, the goal would be set and the learner would only
need to be assessed in that area. I hate to see too much restriction
that gets in the way of providing classes that suit our learners needs.
Sometimes it would seem that we test our people to death, don't you

We are thankful that our state leaders have chosen to provide us with
good structure and flexibility in the assessment policy. Otherwise,
there are some programs that would find it difficult to comply with and
would not be able to report, or could not afford to serve some of our
ESL poplulation. Good luck!

Karen Burger

Professional Development Consultant

Adult Education Professional Development Project

John Beard Learning Center

1601 East College Street

Crawfordsville, IN 47933

(765) 362-8158

Toll free (866) 977-9902

kburger at cville.k12.in.us


From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Anderson, Philip [Philip.Anderson at fldoe.org]
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 1:03 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1448] Re: TABE CLAS-E


I'm glad to see your posting, since we at the state adult education
office in Florida are asking similar questions. Florida has an ad hoc
committee on assessment that is working on a set of recommendations to
the state office on the adoption of TABE CLAS-E.

Local programs may purchase and use the test if they choose to do so for
informational purposes, such as to guide instruction, and for purposes
that are not related to documentation for state and federal adult
education grants. But until the FL Department of Education State Board
approves TABE CLAS-E to be used for reporting any placement or
progression based on test results to the state or the federal National
Reporting System (NRS).

At our statewide conference in September, we had a session on how to
select tests for adult education programs that was well attended. I
developed an in-house guide and checklist on test selection, which we
provided to the participants. I would be glad to send it offline to any
one that requests it.

CTB McGraw Hill also provided us a planning/test selection tool they
developed. You may wish to request a copy of it from Dan Gall,
Dan_Gall at ctb.com, or Stephanie Seemann, Stephanie_Seemann at ctb.com. They
have been very responsive to our queries.

The primary issue we are grappling with as a committee is whether to
recommend that the state assessment policy mandate that programs must
assess adult ESOL students in more than one skill area, and to report on
the lowest score of the skill areas tested.

You can see our current state assessment technical assistance paper
online at the adult education webpage
<http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/adult_ed.asp> of the Florida Department
of Education, http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/adult_ed.asp.



Philip Anderson

Adult ESOL Program

Florida Department of Education

Tel (850) 245-9450

philip.anderson at fldoe.org

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From: Bryant, Kimberlee [mailto:kbryant at tcsg.edu]
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:17 PM
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Cc: Marie Cora
Subject: [Assessment 1446] TABE CLAS-E

Hello Everyone,

I'll keep this short.

Since TABE CLAS-E was recently approved for use by OVAE, have any states
adopted it for use in FY09? Or are planning to in FY10?

If so, would you be willing to share the issues/concerns that came up
during this process (crafting the state assessment policy, training
local program staff members, etc.)?

Based on this experience, what advice could you give to other states?

Kimberlee Bryant

Regional Education Coordinator

Instructional Services/Office of Adult Education

Technical College System of Georgia


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