[Numeracy 294] Re: Diagnostics for ABE students

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Steven Ewert Steven.Ewert at fresnounified.org
Wed Apr 7 18:32:50 EDT 2010

I teach at Fresno Adult School in our GED program. Since it is a large school, we are able to level students based on their abilities. Before they enter my class, they are given the TABE test and placed according to ability. When they come to my class, they are to bring with them the printout of the TABE result with the breakdown of their results. I also give them a basic skills math test that is correlated to Contemporary's Number Power series, books 1 & 2. Between the TABE breakdown and my basic skills test, I feel like I have a very good grasp of their skills from number operations through fractions, decimals, and percents. If there are problems in any of these areas, I assign specific work for them to builod their skill level. My assumption is that most of my students dropped out of high school while doing algebra or before that and therefore struggle with this level of math.

In class, I give students a weekly opportunity to take practice GED tests, if they feel they are ready and use those results as a diagnostic tool also, and I am sometimes surprised by the number of basic skills problems they exhibit on the test. Then we go back of what is missing for them.

One observation that I have made this year is that a vast majority of students who read above an 8th grade level score higher on the Applied Math portion than on the Math Computation portion. I'm not sure why, although I have a few theories about that.

I hope this is helpful.

Steven Ewert
Fresno Adult School
Fresno, CA

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Andrew Isom [isom at centerforliteracy.org]
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 6:29 AM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 293] Diagnostics for ABE students

How do you all diagnose your students' math needs? I was wondering if there isn't a nice, extensive battery out there that examines and highlights the lower level skills as well as higher level skills. I'm thinking about my colleague who is a literacy specialist and tests students in various ways, usually in a timed fashion, for different literacy skills.

Also, does everyone use the TABE? Our job is to raise our students 2 grade levels on the TABE, so I struggle with which skills to prioritize. This is especially difficult to answer because of the "Applied Mathematics" section.

Any ideas, advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.


Andrew J. Isom
Math Specialist
Center For Literacy
North Philadelphia Community High School
isom at centerforliteracy.org
(215)744-6000 ext. 210