Adult English Assessments

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. 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.

The number of adult English language learners in the United States continues to grow substantially and programs serving them face many challenges in providing instruction to meet their needs. Having tests that are appropriate, valid, and reliable is critical to the evaluation of oral and written English proficiency for this growing population. CAL understands these challenges and can help programs determine the best combination of assessments to meet the needs of both the programs and the students.

BEST Literacy and BEST Plus 2.0 address the needs of adult English language learners by providing assessment options that reliably demonstrate student progress. With BEST Plus 2.0 to measure speaking and listening skills and BEST Literacy to measure reading and writing skills, programs can test all of the four skill areas. Both assessments are aligned to the National Reporting System and the Student Performance Level ESL descriptors.

BEST Assessments Approved Through 2024

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education approved BEST Plus 2.0 and BEST Literacy for use by federally funded programs that report data through the National Reporting System (NRS) through February 2024. 
Read the Federal Register official notice.

BEST Assessments: the next generation

CAL is working to develop and release new versions of our BEST assessments: BEST Plus 3.0 and BEST Literacy 2.0. These new, enhanced versions of the tests will be available once they are approved for use for NRS reporting purposes. Each test has been refreshed with up-to-date content and new item types that assess college and career skills aligned with the 2017 NRS EFLs. In addition, BEST Plus 3.0 will be moving to a new app-based delivery with cloud storage. CAL has submitted the tests to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) for NRS approval in October of 2022.

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BEST Plus 2.0

BEST Plus 2.0 is an individually administered, face-to-face oral interview designed to assess the English language proficiency of adult English language learners in the United States. BEST Plus2.0 is a combined test of listening and speaking skills. As an oral assessment, BEST Plus 2.0 provides a short, practical test that meets the accountability needs of programs that report to the National Reporting System (NRS).

BEST Literacy

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.