Testing / Assessment
BEST Literacy Frequently Asked Questions
Is training required to administer BEST Literacy?
The Center for Applied Linguistics does not require training to administer BEST Literacy. However state agencies, program administrators, test administrators, and test scorers should thoroughly review the BEST Literacy Test Manual - 2008 Edition in order to become familiar with proper testing and scoring procedures. The BEST Literacy Test Manual - 2008 Edition provides comprehensive information about administering and scoring the three forms (B, C, and D) of the test as well as information for interpreting the results and technical information.
Some states and programs may have internal training requirements for test administrators or scorers. Please check with your local contact for more information.
If all the BEST Literacy forms are parallel, why can’t I just use the raw scores to measure a student’s progress or level?
Scores attained on one form can be compared to scores attained on a different form only after the raw scores are converted to scale scores. For example, a raw score of 24 on BEST Literacy Form D does not mean that the student displays the same proficiency as a student who scores a raw score of 24 on Form C. Therefore, for the purpose of recording and tracking students’ developing literacy proficiency, raw scores must be converted to scale scores. Scale scores, not raw scores, are the true representation of students’ proficiency and are the only way that scores can be compared and progress accurately measured.
How do I get a scale score for BEST Literacy?
To get a scale score for a BEST Literacy Examinee Test Booklet follow the guidance in the BEST Literacy Test Manual - 2008 Edition, using the conversion tables from Appendix B. The BEST Literacy Test Manual also contains student examples for each test section, updated scoring and administration guidance, and new comprehensive writings samples including a writing rubric with clear benchmarks to provide test administrators and scorers with all the information they need to administer and score the test.
For an example on how to properly score BEST Literacy, click here.
What changes have been made to BEST Literacy score interpretations?
BEST Literacy scale score interpretations have recently changed in July 2008. See page one of our flyer for the revised scale score charts and for more information about the revised score interpretations. The score range to show gain using BEST Literacy has changed significantly across some of the revised NRS levels and SPLs.
Does BEST Literacy give a score that says a student is ready to take BEST Plus?
No, there is no relationship between scores on BEST Literacy and scores on BEST Plus. BEST Literacy is a reading and writing competency-based assessment and BEST Plus is an oral proficiency (speaking and listening) assessment. At this time, there is no screening tool on BEST Literacy to determine the examinee's ability to take BEST Plus, or vice versa. However, administering both BEST Literacy and BEST Plus can provide a more complete picture of an examinee's English language abilities than only administering one. For more information about using both BEST Literacy and BEST Plus in an adult ESL program, contact CAL Adult ESL Assessments at 866-845-BEST (2378).
What is the difference between BEST and BEST Literacy?
The Basic English Skills Test (BEST) was developed during the 1980’s as a measurement tool designed for adult English learners at the survival and pre-employment skill levels. BEST consisted of an oral interview section and a literacy skills section. BEST Oral Interview Section has been replaced by BEST Plus and BEST Literacy Skills Section has been replaced by BEST Literacy. BEST materials are no longer available for purchase as of September 30, 2006. Learn more about BEST Literacy.
Can I continue to score and use the results from the original BEST Literacy Skills Section for testing and NRS reporting purposes?
Yes. BEST Literacy and the original BEST Literacy Skills Section underwent a comprehensive study that verified their comparability. If you have remaining stock of the BEST Literacy Skills Section you may continue to use these forms until your stock is depleted, provided that you use different forms when pre and posttesting. For example, you can pretest with the BEST Literacy Skills Section (Form B) and posttest with BEST Literacy (Forms C or D).
For more information on converting BEST Literacy Skills Section raw scores to scale scores and for obtaining a corresponding NRS level for reporting purposes, click here.
How can I purchase BEST Literacy?
BEST Literacy materials can be purchased online from the CAL Store or by faxing your completed BEST Literacy order form to 1-888-700-3629.
Who can I speak to if I have other questions?
Please contact CAL's Adult ESL Assessment user support staff, at 866-845-BEST (2378), Monday through Friday 9 am to 7 pm EST, or via email to find out how we can help your program meet its needs, ask any questions you may have about the upcoming changes, or discuss which of CAL's assessments would best meet your program's requirements.
Updated: July 14, 2008
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