BEST Literacy

Current Users

Current Users

Thank you for being a valued customer of the BEST family of testing products published by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). We share your dedication to helping adult English learners succeed in the classroom and in their careers.

CAL is committed to providing our test users with the highest quality of valid and reliable assessments. As part of this process, CAL works closely with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) to ensure that our assessments meet the needs of programs utilizing the National Reporting System.

This section of our website is designed to provide our customers with easy online access to tools and tips for using our assessments. In addition to the Quick Links section to the right, browse our right-hand navigation to get targeted information for administrators of BEST Plus 2.0 and BEST Literacy. There is also a section for BEST Plus 2.0 trainers.

Email CAL with any questions or suggestions you may have about how we can improve our testing instruments, tools, or customer service.

BEST Literacy is a print-based, combined test of reading and writing skills. The test uses authentic situations specifically geared for adult English language learners in the United States as the basis for test questions. BEST Literacy is aligned with the ESL descriptors of the National Reporting System and the Student Performance levels.

  • Reading tasks include reading dates on a calendar, labels on food and clothing, bulletin announcements, and newspaper want ads.
  • Writing tasks include addressing an envelope, writing a rent check, filling out a personal background form, and writing personal notes.

BEST Literacy Components

  • Examinee Test Booklets (Form B, C, or D)
  • BEST Literacy Test Manual (June 2008)

Read the BEST Literacy Test Usage Policy to learn about the appropriate uses of BEST Literacy.

Test Administration
BEST Literacy may be administered to groups or individuals in one hour or less. Each examinee is given one test booklet which contains instructions and the test questions. The test administrator verbally provides test directions and examinees then write their answers in the test booklet.

Training is not required by CAL, however, your state or funding agency may require its own training. Please check with your state director of adult education or funding agency.

Scoring BEST Literacy
All scoring is done after the testing is complete, either by the test administrator or by a designated test scorer. Scoring instructions are provided in the BEST Literacy Test Manual.

Using the separate scoring sheet that corresponds to the appropriate examinee test booklet (Form B, C, or D), the examinees responses are scored based on comprehensibility. The specific answers for the reading and writing sections (including the multiple choice, fill in the blank, completion, extended response, and cloze exercises) are provided for the scorer on the scoring sheet.

The BEST Literacy Test Manual contains a writing rubric and benchmarks to score the writing tasks. A raw score is calculated based on the combined scores of the reading and writing tasks. A scale score is determined using the conversion tables located in the BEST Literacy Test Manual.

Interpreting Performance
Performances on BEST Literacy can be interpreted in terms of the National Reporting System (NRS) ESL educational functioning level descriptors or the Student Performance Level (SPL) descriptors, designed specifically for adult learners of English.