New Questions:

GROWTH
How is growth measured as defined by the test developer?
What are the DC averages?
What is the national average or norm?
WHAT IS YOUR SUGGESTION FOR AN ACHIEVABLE TARGET/MINIMUM LEVEL ACCEPTABLE FOR GROWTH? (so if we go with a yes/no dichotomous scoring scheme)
WHAT IS YOU SUGGESTION FOR A REACH/IDEAL TARGET FOR GROWTH? (so if we go with a low/mid/high performance three tiered scoring scheme)

ACHIEVEMENT
How is growth or achievement measured as defined by the test developer?

BEST Plus is a performance based assessment that is correlated to the Student Performance Levels (SPLs). Each SPL has a descriptor what states what the student can do orally in English at his or her level. The SPLs range from 0 to 10 with 0 being “No English ability” to 10 having the “ability equal to that of a native speaker.” (http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/slspls.html). Students demonstrate growth as the move from one SPL to another.

BEST Plus is also aligned to the six National Reporting System (NRS) Educational Functioning Levels. These levels are mainly used by states to report gains to the US Dept of Education Office of Adult and Vocational Education (OVAE) for funding purposes. (www.nrsweb.org) The NRS levels do not go as high as the SPLs, stopping at SPL 7, but they do provide useful information when looking at groups of students.

What are the DC averages?

There are no programs in DC that currently use BEST Plus. BEST Plus is used by programs in MD and VA.
What is the national average or norm?
Table 4 shows the number and percentage of students in the study who made level gain. The greatest rate of level gain, regardless of number of instructional hours, occurred in Low Beginning (78%) and High Beginning (77%) ESL levels, with Beginning ESL Literacy (54%) and Advanced ESL (55%) making the lowest rates of level gain. Overall, 60% of the students made one or more level gains.
|||||| Table 4. Number of Students Attaining NRS Educational Level Gain by NRS Level
||
Initial NRS Level
Number Making Level Gain
Percentage Making Level Gain
Beginning ESL Literacyn=3,209
1,720
54%
Low Beginning ESL n=519
407
78%
High Beginning ESL n=709
543
77%
Low Intermediate ESL n=989
614
62%
High Intermediate ESL n=718
408
57%
Advanced ESL n=455
252
55%
Totaln=6,599
3,944
60%

WHAT IS YOUR SUGGESTION FOR AN ACHIEVABLE TARGET/MINIMUM LEVEL ACCEPTABLE? (so if we go with a yes/no dichotomous scoring scheme)
45%
WHAT IS YOU SUGGESTION FOR A REACH/IDEAL TARGET? (so if we go with a low/mid/high performance three tiered scoring scheme)
low=0-40%, mid=41-54%, high=55% or above

Old Questions:
- Quick overview of this assessment.
- What are the proficiency levels or cut scores?
- How is growth calculated for this assessment (i.e., 3 points is adequate growth for students in the 220-250 range)
- Test reliability if that information is available.- anything else you find relevant about the assessment and how scores are used
- Anything else you find relevant about the assessment and how scores are used.


BEST Plus and BEST Literacy were developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL).
BEST Plus measures speaking and listening skills and assesses interpersonal communication using everyday language used in practical situations. Test items reflect language used at home, at work, and in the community.
BEST Literacy is a combined test of reading and writing skills using authentic situations as the basis for test questions. BEST Literacy is a competency-based assessment that measures adult English language learners’ ability to read and write in a variety of functional literacy tasks. (http://www.cal.org/aea/bestliteracy/index.html) (Lorie)
HOW GROWTH IS MEASURED AS DEFINED BY THE TEST DEVELOPER
The BEST Tests can be administered as a pretest and posttest. CAL recommends that the BEST Tests be given as a posttest after a minimum of 60-100 hours of instruction. BEST Plus 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 Literacy is available in three parallel, consumable forms (B, C and D) for pre- and post-testing.
Performances on BEST Tests 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. (BEST Plus Test Administrator Guide, Section III-8 – III-19 and BEST Literacy Test Manual (June 2008), pages 53-60). (Lorie)
CUT SCORES
|||||| Table 2. Alignment of NRS Levels, Student Performance Levels, and BEST Plus Scale Scores
||
NRS Level
SPL
BEST Plus Score Range
Beginning ESL Literacy
0-1
400 and below
Low Beginning ESL
2
401 to 417
High Beginning ESL
3
418 to 438
Low Intermediate ESL
4
439 to 472
High Intermediate ESL
5
473 to 506
Advanced ESL
6
507 to 540
Exit from NRS ESL levels
7
541 and higher
LEVEL GAINS
Table 4 shows the number and percentage of students in the study who made level gain. The greatest rate of level gain, regardless of number of instructional hours, occurred in Low Beginning (78%) and High Beginning (77%) ESL levels, with Beginning ESL Literacy (54%) and Advanced ESL (55%) making the lowest rates of level gain. Overall, 60% of the students made one or more level gains.
Table 4. Number of Students Attaining NRSEducational Level Gain by NRS Level
Initial NRS Level
Number Making Level Gain
Percentage Making Level Gain
Beginning ESL Literacyn=3,209
1,720
54%
Low Beginning ESLn=519
407
78%
High Beginning ESLn=709
543
77%
Low Intermediate ESLn=989
614
62%
High Intermediate ESLn=718
408
57%
Advanced ESLn=455
252
55%
Totaln=6,599
3,944
60%
(Effects of Instructional Hours and Intensity of Instruction on NRES Level Gain in Listening and Speaking, December 2007; http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/levelgain.html) (Lorie)
TEST RELIABILITY
To ensure reliability and validity of BEST Plus, test administrators are required to attend the BEST Test Administrator Training Workshops. The BEST Literacy Technical Report (2008) contains test development information and study results including data from the field testing, equating, and standard setting studies. This report also provides technical data and results concerning the validity, reliability, and measurement precision of BEST Literacy. (126 pp.) (Lorie)