Adult English Proficiency Assessments - Best Plus | Best Literacy

Frequently Asked Questions


What is BEST Plus used to measure?

BEST Plus is an individually administered, face-to-face  oral interview designed to assess the English language proficiency of adult ELLs in the U.S. An adult is anyone 16 years or older who is not in secondary school.

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What types of questions are on BEST Plus?

BEST Plus measures the examinee’s ability to communicate in English through questions tied to authentic situations that arise in daily life in the United States such as going to the doctor, getting a job, housing, and community services. The question types range from simple picture description questions to questions that require elaborate and organized discourse.

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How is BEST Plus administered?

BEST Plus is administered individually by a trained BEST Plus test administrator.

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What proficiency levels does BEST Plus assess?

BEST Plus measures the full range of proficiency levels from Student Performance Levels (SPLs) 0 through 10 and all six National Reporting System (NRS) Educational Functioning Levels.

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Is training required to administer BEST Plus?

Yes. All test administrators must complete the six-contact hour test administrator training workshop and be approved by a certified BEST Plus trainer prior to administering BEST Plus.

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How do I become trained on BEST Plus?

There are four ways to become a trained BEST Plus test administrator. For more information on training workshops, please click here.

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What are the delivery formats for BEST Plus?

BEST Plus is available in three delivery formats: CD-ROM, USB or as a network version.

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What technology do I need to use BEST Plus?

The computer-adaptive version of BEST Plus requires one computer for every test administrator. The print-based version requires at least one computer be available at the time of scoring in order to convert the raw scores from the test booklets into reportable scale scores using the Score Management Software. However access to a computer is not needed at the time of testing.

BEST Plus is available in three delivery formats: CD-ROM (received at training), on USB, and as a network version. The BEST Plus TEST: USB can be used by programs using computers without CD-ROM drives, such as netbook computers. The network version allows organizations to access and store their data in one central location instead of on the individual computers if using the CD version. For more information, send us an email.

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What are the differences between the three delivery options?

The BEST Plus test can be delivered through three delivery options: CD-ROM, USB, and Computer Network.

The BEST Plus USB and network delivery versions have enhanced management software and features and do not require CD-ROM drives to run the program.

In addition, the BEST Plus network version allows organizations to run, administer, and access the BEST Plus test and Score Management Software from any computer on the organization’s local area network.

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How long does BEST Plus take to administer?

The computer-adaptive version takes 3 - 20 minutes to administer, depending on the examinee’s level of oral proficiency. Higher proficiency speakers (SPL 7-10) usually take longer than speakers with lower proficiency because they are asked more questions and their responses tend to be longer and more complex.

The semi-adaptive print-based version takes 5 - 20 minutes to administer because administrative information and scores must be written in the test booklet by hand by the test administrator and raw scores manually added and calculated.

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What information is included in the BEST Plus score report?

The score report contains the following information:

  • BEST Plus scale score

  • Student Performance Level

  • Administrative information (student name, registration number, date, time of the test, name of the test administrator, class, site)

  • Average subscale score for Listening Comprehension, Language Complexity, and Communication.

All score reports can be viewed through the included Score Management Software.The corresponding NRS level for each scale score listed on the score report can be found in Table 2 in Section III-9 of the BEST Plus Test Administrator Guide.

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What is the difference between the computer-adaptive version and the semi-adaptive print-based versions of BEST Plus?

The print-based version is administered in the same manner as the computer-adaptive version except the test administrator writes the scores in the test booklet, uses a Picture Cue Book for the picture description questions, and manually enters the scores into the Score Management Software to get a complete score report. All of the test items in the print-based version are drawn from the same item pool as the computer-adaptive version.

The primary difference is the print-based is semi-adaptive in that it has three fixed forms (A, B, and C) and three sublevels per form. For more information on the print-based version of BEST Plus, click here.

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How do I decide whether to use the semi-adaptive print-based or computer-based version of BEST Plus?

The decision to use either the semi-adaptive print-based version, computer-adaptive version, or both should be based on your capacity to administer the test. If your testing site does not have computers available when testing or laptops are too cumbersome to transport from one site to another, then you should consider using the print-based version. Keep in mind that access to a computer is required to convert the semi-adaptive print-based raw scores into scale scores.

Even if you use the computer-adaptive version exclusively, CAL recommends that copies of the print-based version be available as backup to allow for testing under all circumstances.

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How can I get started using BEST Plus?

The first step is to attend a BEST Plus test administrator training workshop either through your program, state, or CAL. Once you and your staff have been trained, we can help you order the materials you’ll need to get started. For more information on BEST Plus training, click here.

If you would like to review a sample copy of BEST Plus, please send us an email.

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