Assessment Materials

These are materials for educators, tutors, practitioners and anyone who is interested in assessment in community-based adult literacy programs.  Every item on this list is available, either from the library or online.


Background

Achievement in non-accredited learning for adults with learning difficulties: report of the scoping study.
Liz Maudsley and Christine Nightingale. Leicester, UK: NIACE, 2004.
» This publication discusses the literature and work on assessment and achievement, while also reporting on one survey of learning providers (RARPA). Shows the wide range of understandings and methods available, in literature and in practice, to identify learners’ needs and achievements. Helpful for teachers and students in finding out more about this and in celebrating their achievements.

Assessing student learning: a common sense guide. 2nd ed.
Linda Suskie. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009.
» This resource is “designed to summarize current thinking on the practice of assessment in a comprehensive, accessible, and useful fashion for those without formal experience in assessing student learning. Short on background and theory and long on practical advice, this is a plain-spoken, informally written book designed to provide sensible guidance on virtually all aspects of assessment …” xxiii.

Canadian and world research on assessment practices for adult learners.
Sara Gill, Adult Basic Education Association.  Kitchener, ON: Project READ Literacy Network, 2008.  Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/abea/canadian_world/canadian_world.pdf
» This paper describes assessment practices for adult learners in Canada and abroad in the following areas: adult literacy and upgrading classes, immigrants, secondary school completion, post-secondary education, apprenticeship training, pre-employment, and workplace-based education. It also examines trends in assessment practices for adults and offers general recommendations for adult assessment. Descriptions of assessment tools include: PDQ, Common Assessment of Basic Skills (CABS), Communications and Math Employment Readiness Assessment (CAMERA), Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES), Canadian Adult Achievement Test (CAAT), and Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA).

Community literacy benchmarks. (online)
Available at decoda.ca/adults/community-literacy-benchmarks/
An explanation of British Columbia’s Community Literacy Benchmarks.

Contested ground: performance accountability in adult basic education. NCSALL Reports #1.
Juliet Merrifield.  Cambridge, Mass.: NCSALL, 1998. Also available online at www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/report1.pdf
» “This policy paper lays out key issues in performance accountability and presents recommendations for policy and action. It is based on the literature from education, government, management, and other fields, and draws on interviews with researchers and adult education leaders at state and national levels. Its recommendations were informed by a discussion with a group of experienced adult education practitioners and researchers.” (p. iv)

Creative student assessment: a guide to developing meaningful evaluation. (Online)
Manitoba Advanced Education and Training, Adult Literacy and Learning. Winnipeg, Man.: Adult Learning and Literacy, 2003. Available at www.edu.gov.mb.ca/ael/all/publications/creative_student_assessment_oct03.pdf

Learning progressions for adult literacy. (Online)
New Zealand: Tertiary Education Commission. Available at www.tec.govt.nz/Documents/Publications/Learning-progressions-literacy.pdf
» The learning progressions in this document provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in literacy learning. It includes the prerequisite skills and understandings for reading and writing basic words, and looks at the sequence of skill development. This information can be used as a basis for developing curriculum, programs, assessment tools, and learning activities.

Measures of success: assessment and accountability in adult basic education.
Edited by Pat Campbell. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press, 2007.
» In this book, 13 known and respected practitioners and researchers explore the theory and practice of assessment and accountability… Building on the premise that literacy is complex and multi-faceted, the authors define the dominant types of assessment tools and then shift to the broader questions of assessment for whom and for what. In Part 1, the authors describe standardized, diagnostic, competency-based, and performance-based assessment tools. In Part 2, the authors provide insight into the assessment and accountability systems in Canada, the United States, Scotland, England, Wales, and Australia. Part 3 provides a set of seven key principles to guide effective accountability systems.

Measures of success: diagnostic assessment. (DVD)
Pat Campbell. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press, 2007.
» This DVD is an ideal training tool for workshops and in-services. It demonstrates how to administer and interpret a diagnostic assessment. (Running time: 25 minutes.)

Measures of success: performance assessment. (DVD)
Pat Campbell. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press, 2007.
» This DVD is an ideal training tool for workshops and in-services. It includes an interview, portfolios, building a rubric, and demonstrations. (Running time: 27:30 minutes)

Measuring adult literacy and life skills: new frameworks for assessment.
Edited by T. Scott Murray, Yvan Clermont and Marilyn Binkley. Ottawa,ON: Statistics Canada, 2005. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/measlit/cover.htm
» The objective of this report is to document key aspects of the development of the International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL). The ALL survey was meant to build on the success of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) assessments by extending the range of skills assessed and by improving the quality of the assessment methods employed.   This report documents several successes including: the development of a new framework and associated robust measures for problem solving; the development of a powerful numeracy framework and associated robust measures; the specification of framework for practical cognition, teamwork and information and communication technology literacy.

Monitoring and assessment in community-based adult literacy programs in British Columbia: phase 1: definition and selection of benchmarks.
Leona Gadsby, Sandy Middleton, Cynthia Whitaker. Vancouver, BC: Literacy BC and Literacy Now, 2007.  Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/lbc/monitoring/monitoring.pdf
» This project recommends a province-wide system for monitoring and assessing the progress of adults in community-based literacy programs. This is Phase 1 of a three-phased initiative for the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. Phase one proposes a set of benchmarks and an approach to monitoring and assessment that is consistent with the values and philosophy of community-based adult literacy programming.

Redefining how success is measured in First Nations, Inuit and Métis learning: report on learning in Canada 2007.
Ottawa, ON: Canadian Council on Learning, 2007. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/redefining_success_measured/redefining_success_measured.pdf
» This paper is a progress report on an ongoing initiative to cooperatively develop holistic learning models that: 1. help map the relationships between learning purposes, processes and outcomes, 2. affirm First Nations, Inuit and Métis values and beliefs, and 3. provide the basis for developing frameworks to measure learning success. Key characteristics of holistic lifelong learning for First Nations, Intuit and Métis are outlined; gaps and challenges that limit non-Aboriginal understanding of Aboriginal learning are identified; and three Holistic Lifelong Learning Models are presented. Three related websites with interactive learning tools illustrate how learning indicators and measures can be organized and arranged. They are accessible through the online resource.

Rethinking assessment: strategies for holistic adult numeracy assessment.
By Beth Marr, Sue Helme and Dave Tout. Victoria, AU: Language Australia, 2003.
» “Rethinking Assessment is both a practical and theoretical resource. It discusses key assessment issues, provides a bank of models of good practice in assessment and demonstrates how holistic assessment can be undertaken within the assessment criteria of accredited frameworks… Section 1 introduces the reader to the finding of the research and the thinking behind the examples of practice presented… Section 2 presents detailed descriptions of a selection of the assessment tasks developed and documented during the project, along with templates for a number of the tasks and strategies. Suggested observation and recording sheets are included where appropriate and samples of student responses are discussed.”

Student assessment in adult basic education: a Canadian snapshot. 
By Dr. Pat Campbell. February 2006. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/snape/cover.htm
» This document explains the methodology and reports the findings from a national survey on student assessment in adult basic education.  The intent is that this information be used to guide policy and practice

Teaching adult literacy: principles and practice.
Edited by Nora Hughes and Irene Schwab. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2010.
» This overview of teaching adult literacy Includes practical applications as well as theory with samples and case studies.  Includes a chapter on assessment.

Transforming formative assessment in lifelong learning.
Kathryn Ecclestone with Jennie Davies, Jay Derrick and Judith Gawn, Maidenhead, England: Open University Press, 2010.
» Based on an in-depth, three year study in Britain, this book looks at what formative assessment is, the impact of social and political factors on assessment practices, the reason similar assessment practices have different effects in different ‘learning cultures’, and how formative assessment can be improved.

Understanding assessment and qualifications in post-compulsory education and training: principles, politics and practice. 2nd ed.
By Kathryn Ecclestone. Leicester, UK: NIACE, 2005.
» Discusses the benefits and challenges of learner assessment in post-16 (post-compulsory) education in the UK. When used effectively, assessment can be powerful and positively motivate learners. But, complex and controversial, assessment often detracts from learning instead of complementing it. This book reviews basic principles, purposes and practices of post-16 assessment within the broader political and theoretical context. Offers practical strategies for improving assessment and accreditation; discusses the best uses for assessment at practitioner, organisational and policy levels.

What do practitioners say about assessment?
Betsy Alkenbrack. In Literacies: Researching Practice, Practicing Research, #3, Spring 2004, p 4-6.
» Summarizes what practitioners say about assessment in six reports from Alberta and BC and discusses common themes.

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Assessment Tools

Aboriginal adult literacy assessment tool. (online)
Saskatoon, SK: The Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network, 2011. Available at saln.ca/programsandservices/assessment-services/aalat/
» This Web page describes a project that developed a culturally relevant assessment instrument that assess workplace literacy skill development. Links to the pilot project summary, Saskatchewan results report, and a sample survey are included.

Adult reading toolkit: a research-based resource for adult literacy.
Margaret (Marn) Frank, Victoria Weinberg. Minneapolis, MN: LDA of Minnesota, 2007.
» The ART includes six chapters covering phonemic awareness, beginning phonics skills, intermediate decoding, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Each chapter includes background information, assessment ideas, instruction activities, use of authentic materials, recommended curricula and software and references. Six toolkits of reproducible assessment and instructional activities follow. Appendices include tools for informal assessments and instructional activities, study materials, and lesson plan organizers.

Assessment for learning: digital tools for effective practice.
Sally Betts and Alastair Clark. Leicester: NIACE, 2008.
» Practical advice on using digital tools (e.g. digital cameras, online quizzes, blogs and mobile phones) to identify where students are in their learning and what they need to do next. Shows how to use digital quizzes to assess learning, use tools like digital cameras and audio recorders to capture and record learning, and use tools such as blogs and video recorders to enable learners to reflect on their learning. Also a chapter on making e-portfolios for learners.

Canadian Adult Reading Assessment: instructor’s manual and CD-ROM.
Canadian Adult Reading Assessment: student’s assessment booklet.
By Pat M. Campbell and Flo M. Brokop. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press, 2000.
» CARA can be used for placement or diagnosis. As a placement tool, CARA will enable you to identify the individual’s independent, instructional and frustration reading levels. When used as a diagnostic tool, CARA enables you to identify an individual’s reading level. CARA includes narrative and informational passages at all levels of reading so that comparisons can be made in how a student reads these different genres.

Certificate in literacy and learning. (Online)
Winnipeg, MN: Adult Learning and Literacy, 2009.  Available at www.edu.gov.mb.ca/ael/all/publications/stages/
» These three manuals are designed for adult learners to work towards a certificate. Each of the three certificates has assignments with tasks to complete. The tasks help learners develop as readers and writers. The manuals contain the assignments and instructions for learners, with their tutors or instructors, to develop their own portfolio of work.

Circle of learning, The: Saskatchewan adult literacy benchmarks: Levels 1 and 2.
Saskatoon, SK: Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2006.  Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/sln-tcol/cover.htm
» The aim of the Circle of Learning project was to develop Level 1 and 2 Benchmarks for use by formal and non-formal literacy and adult basic education programs and services in Saskatchewan. The benchmarks provide ways to document and recognize learner accomplishments and achievements; enhance learner transitions between levels and across programs; and facilitate the development of courses.

Common assessment in the native literacy field.
By Christiann Jones, Kate Thompson and Pat Powell. Owen Sound, ON: Ontario Native Literacy Coalition, 2001.  Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/comass/cover.htm
» Contains material presented by the authors at a training conference for provincial Native literacy practitioners held Nov. 19-21, 2000 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in conjunction with the ONLC Annual General Meeting.

Diagnostic adult learning assessment for beginning readers (DALA). (Kit)
Pat Campbell. Edmonton, AB: Grass Roots Press, 2010.
» DALA is a user-friendly reading assessment for beginning adult readers. It measures a student’s knowledge of environmental print, text functions, print concepts and conventions, letter names, phonemic awareness (beginning sounds and rhymes), high frequency words, phonics, alphabetic principle and literacy practices. The DVD included in the kit demonstrates the use of the tools.

Documenting student success: the development of a learner portfolio.
By Jane MacDonald. Sydney, NS: Cape Breton Literacy Network Association, 2002
» “This resource is intended to enhance the assessment process in literacy / adult basic education programs in the province of Nova Scotia … It was designed to document student success and to be used in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Adult Learning Program (ALP) and the Intake Assessment Tools presently used in adult education classes throughout Nova Scotia.”

Evaluating learning: qualitative methods to document and assess informal literacy learning.
Toronto, ON: Frontier College, 2005.  Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/evlrning/cover.htm
» This book has a selection of qualitative tools to help Frontier College staff document learning. It updates the SCIL (student centered individualized learning) methodology and its relation to ‘hybrid literacy.’ The book gives various methods for recording learning progress.

Formative assessment in adult literacy, language and numeracy.
Jay Derrick, Kathryn Ecclestone and Judith Gawn. Leicester, NIACE, 2009.
» “This book provides practical ideas for teachers of adult literacy, language and numeracy in their day to day work of lesson preparation, teaching and assessment. Relevant for all levels and contexts, it focuses on basic principles of student-centred learning, teaching and assessment that put the goal of student autonomy at the heart of the process.” – back cover.

Intake and assessment toolkit. (Online)
Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2008.  Available at www.sk.literacy.ca/pages/intakeAssessToolKit.html

Intake assessment materials for fundamental level English and math.
Laurie Gould. Vancouver, BC: Basic Education Dept., Vancouver Community College, 1999.
» This manual is designed to provide Fundamental Level (0 to grade 8 ) instructors and adult students with a short and easy-to-use procedure for assessing a student’s educational goals and experiences. The manual is intended for use by experienced adult literacy instructors. The student assessment is divided into four parts: the initial interview, a reading assessment, a writing assessment, and a math assessment.

Learner centred intake and assessment process for literacy program in Saskatchewan manual. Revised edition. (online)
Sheryl Prouse & Elaine Ebenal. Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Literacy Network, 2008. Available at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/sln/intake/intake.pdf
» This document is a guide to the intake processes for Level 1 and Level 2 literacy programs. The author provides a guide for initial, ongoing and exit assessment processes; an exploration of the phases of assessment; an outline of the strengths and limitations of various types of assessment tools; guidelines for using a portfolio as an assessment tool; and suggestions for things to consider in selecting assessment tools.

Learning challenges assessment tool for adult literacy learners.
Sara Maggio. Hamilton, ON: Adult Basic Education Association of Hamilton, 2005.
» This comprehensive tool identifies learning challenges and learning strengths for training plan development and offers specific learning strategies and accommodations.

Learning progressions for adult literacy. (Online)
New Zealand: Tertiary Education Commission. Available at www.tec.govt.nz/Documents/Publications/Learning-progressions-literacy.pdf
» The learning progressions in this document provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in literacy learning. It includes the prerequisite skills and understandings for reading and writing basic words, and looks at the sequence of skill development. This information can be used as a basis for developing curriculum, programs, assessment tools, and learning activities.

Measuring learning readiness: a resource guide for students and LBS practitioners.
Pat Powell. Peterborough,ON: Peterborough Native Learning Program, 1999.
» This manual “was written to be used to look at the learner’s ability that goes beyond academics. The intent is that the identified exercises be used as part of the student assessment and training plan development process hand in hand with an academic skills profile.”

Monitoring and assessment in community-based adult literacy programs in British Columbia: phase 1: definition and selection of benchmarks.
Leona Gadsby, Sandy Middleton, Cynthia Whitaker. Vancouver, BC: Literacy BC and Literacy Now, 2007. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/lbc/monitoring/monitoring.pdf
» This project recommends a province-wide system for monitoring and assessing the progress of adults in community-based literacy programs. This is Phase 1 of a three-phased initiative for the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. Phase one proposes a set of benchmarks and an approach to monitoring and assessment that is consistent with the values and philosophy of community-based adult literacy programming.

Monitoring tools: adult goal progress chart: family literacy programs in the Fraser Valley. (online)
Developed by Pam Auffray and Penny Petersen. Vancouver: RiPAL, 2006. Available at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/groundup/mtagpc/cover.htm
» This document describes two tools developed in British Columbia to monitor progress and measure outcomes in learner-centred family literacy programs. They are designed to help learners as well as practitioners monitor their progress towards learner chosen goals. Qualitative and quantitative data are collected and the tools can be used to note progress throughout the program. The tools were based on 2 family literacy programs: Chilliwack’s “Family Literacy Program” and Abbotsford’s “Parent and Children Together (P.A.C.T.) Program”.

Monitoring tools: learning in a group setting – inreach/outreach program of the Carnegie Learning Centre. (online)
Lucy Alderson and Betsy Alkenbrack. Vancouver: RiPAL, 2006. Available at www.en.copian.ca/library/learning/groundup/mtlgs/cover.htm
» This report outlines three charts that are tools for examining attitude, engagement and skill development in group outreach literacy programs. The three tools look at the individual learner in a group setting, emerging peer tutors/leaders in a group setting, and group process. They are intended to be used with learners in non-formal learning situations where more structured assessment is not appropriate.

Naming the magic: non-academic outcomes in basic literacy.
Evelyn Battel. Victoria, BC: Ministry of Advanced Education, 2001. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/magic/cover.htm
» Forty basic literacy instructors, at a conference in May 1999, drafted six techniques for the documentation of non-academic changes that may occur in the lives of learners as a result of participation in literacy instruction. Several conference participants in consultation with the project coordinator, Evelyn Battell from Malaspina University-College, further developed the documentation techniques. The techniques were then field-tested by literacy practitioners including instructors, tutors, and tutor coordinators. The final report presents a description of the following techniques for documenting non-academic outcomes (NAOs) for literacy students: A Multi-Media approach, Using Journals, Goal Setting by Learners, Anecdotal Reporting and End-of-Term Reports (combination of two techniques) and Questions for Developing Awareness. The final report also documents the difficulties encountered during the field-testing process and identifies six recommendations, based on the project, that call for more extensive and focused study on non-academic outcomes.

Portfolios to assess literacy and second languages: an annotated bibliography.
Sarah Elaine Eaton. Calgary, AB: Onate Press, 2011. Also available online at www.en.copian.ca/library/research/eaton/portfolios/portfolios.pdf
» A selection of resources on portfolios for assessment for use by professionals working in second language and/or literacy sectors.

Read forward: user guide.
Audrey Gardner. Calgary, AB: Bow Valley College, 2011.
» “Read Forward is designed to provide a clear measure of incremental improvement in document and prose reading made by adult learners in a wide variety of programs and settings… It is equally relevant for groups and one-to-one, and can be used by learners, instructors, tutors and coordinators.” Based on IALS (middle of level 1 to beginning of level 3), the tests in this resource are easy to use, based on everyday reading, progressive, applicable to diverse cultures, ages, genders and life situations, and connect results to reading skills and learning goals. The USB flash drive contains all the tests and forms used in Read Forward.

The revised common writing assessment: a tool linked to Ontario’s LBX learning outcomes levels .
By Norman Rowen and Neil Graham. Toronto, ON: Ontario Literacy Coalition, 2000.
» Assessment instrument that shows how to evaluate a writing sample using scales based on focus, development and organization ; voice, vocabulary and sentence variety ; grammar and mechanics. Scales include summary statements for LBS levels 2-5 writing, Ready for post-secondary level writing, and Clearly post-secondary level writing, as well as descriptions of the same features and elements of writing below Level 2.

A tutor’s guide: setting literacy goals and recording progress.
Susan Reid and Ginnie Denny. Aukland, New Zealand: Workbase, 2005. Also available online at www.workbase.org.nz/media/15086/tutorsguidesettingliteracygoalsandrecordingprogress.pdf
» “This guide sets out a process for tutors and learners working together to: -set literacy goals -unpack those goals into realistic steps -identify appropriate strategies and resources for each of those steps -discuss and record progress -report to other stakeholders. This guide is designed to help tutors -develop procedures and recording systems in their own organisations -evaluate and revise their current systems and procedures -improve the effectiveness of their current practice. This guide places the learner at the centre of the learning process. It demonstrates how assessment, teaching plans and learning materials can all contribute to a quality learning experience for the individual learner.”

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Canadian Language Benchmarks

Canadian language benchmarks: literacy placement tool: volume 1: foundation and phase 1.
Ottawa, ON : Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2005.
» The Literacy Placement Tool (LPT) is intended to be used by practitioners and instructors as a tool for administering, scoring, recording and reporting the results of LPT assessments in adult ESL programs. The first volume is designed to help identify adult ESL learners who might benefit from placement into an ESL literacy class.

Canadian language benchmarks: literacy placement tool: volume 2: phase 2.
Ottawa, ON : Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2006.
» The second volume is designed to help assessors, workplace trainers and literacy practitioners to make informed decisions about an adult ESL literacy client’s literacy needs.

Canadian language benchmarks 2000: English as a second language—for adults.
Written by Grazyna Pawlikowska-Smith. Ottawa, ON: Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2005. Also available online at www.language.ca/display_page.asp?page_id=254
» The general aim of the benchmarks is to describe accurately where the learner’s ability to
use English places him or her within the national descriptive framework of communicative language.

Canadian language benchmarks 2000: ESL for literacy learners.
Written by Linda Johansson, the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, Manitoba Dept. of Labour and Immigration, and National Literacy Secretariat. Ottawa, ON: Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2001. Also available online at www.language.ca/display_page.asp?page_id=255
» The Benchmarks lay out the progression of reading, writing and numeracy skills for ESL adults who have little or no literacy skills in their first language.

Canadian Language Benchmarks/Essential Skills in the workplace. (Website)
Available at www.itsessential.ca/itsessential/display_page.asp?page_id=1
» This website includes resources to help align Canadian Language Benchmarks with Essential Skills for the workplace.

Integrating CLB assessment into your ESL classroom.
Written by Tara Holmes. Ottawa, ON: Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2005.
» This guide is intended to help Adult ESL teachers integrate the Canadian Language Benchmarks into their classrooms through assessment of learners on a day-to-day basis.

Relating Canadian Language Benchmarks to Essential Skills: A comparative framework.
Ottawa, ON: Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2005. Also available online at www.nald.ca/library/research/rclbes-e/rclbes-e.pdf
» This comparison of domain descriptions in the CLB 2000 and in the Reader’s Guide to Essential Skills Profiles is intended to assist practitioners in selecting Essential Skills resources and workplace materials that are relevant and accessible to newcomers and immigrants attending ESL and FSL classes.

SAM, Summative assessment manual for teachers. Volumes 1 & 2: Canadian Language Benchmarks 1-4. 
Developed by Grazyna Pawlikowska-Smith. Ottawa, ON : Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2007.
» These manuals serve as a tool for ESL teachers to assess achievement in adult ESL students whose reading/writing difficulties do not arise from their literacy needs in their first language

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Last updated: July 2012