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Interpreting TABE Assessment Scores

In this video program, I describe the TABE (Tests of Adult Basic Education) scores you'll receive for Basic Literacy students with whom you work. ESOL learners who score at or above 541 on the BEST Plus assessment are also required to take the TABE in order to stay in our program. The New York State Department of Education mandates that Literacy Volunteers of Rochester (LVR) use it.

In this video, I also suggest material in our LVR library, which might help you work with your student on areas the tests show as opportunities.

TABE Overview

TABE is a series of commercially-produced, multiple-choice tests from McGraw-Hill/Contemporary. LVR uses the following levels:

  • L = Limited Literacy
  • E = Easy
  • M = Medium
  • D = Difficult

McGraw-Hill/Contemporary also has an "A" or Advanced level, however LVR does not use it because our program aims to help people read at up to an 8th grade level.

After your student takes the TABE, you'll receive a sheet corresponding to the test questions s/he got right and wrong; we circle the latter. I suggest that you and your student focus on the area(s) in which the student missed the most items.

The "L" level assesses the following reading areas:

  • Pre-reading skills
    • Matching letters
    • Recognizing letters
    • Recognizing beginning sounds and ending sounds
    • Middle sounds
  • Reading skills
    • Interpret graphic information
      • Signs
    • Words in Context
      • Word meaning
      • Word recognition graphics
      • Context meaning
    • Recall information
      • Details
      • Sequence
      • Stated concepts
      • Literal
      • Phrase and sentence meaning
    • Construct meaning
      • Main idea
      • Interpretive
      • Passage meaning
      • Cause/effect

Levels E, M, and D assess the following reading areas:

  • Interpret graphic information
    • Signs
    • Maps
    • Index
    • Reference sources
    • Graphs
    • Forms
    • Consumer materials
  • Words in context
    • Same meaning
    • Opposite meaning
    • Appropriate word
  • Recall information
    • Details
    • Sequence
    • Stated concepts
  • Construct meaning
    • Character aspects
    • Main idea
    • Summary/paraphrase
    • Cause/effect
    • Compare/contrast
    • Conclusion
    • Supporting evidence
  • Evaluate/extend meaning
    • Fact/opinion
    • Predict outcomes
    • Apply passage elements
    • Generalizations
    • Effect/intention
    • Author purpose
    • Style techniques
    • Genre
    • Generalization
    • Effect/intention
    • Author purpose
    • Style techniques

You'll see "forms 9 and 10" on the results; this is McGraw-Hill/Contemporary nomenclature for their tests.

TABE, especially levels E and M, do not evaluate a person's decoding or word analysis skills. It is important for tutors to evaluate or assess these skills using some of the informal assessments we have in the office.

Remember, TABE levels E, M, and D are timed tests. If a student does not finish all 50 questions in the allotted time of 50 minutes, you should determine if there are fluency issues or test taking strategy issues. Test taking strategies are important to our learners who are trying to get their GED or enter a training program that has an entrance requirement.

We assess students each year. The office contacts students at the appropriate time. Reassessment helps gauge progress, drive instruction, and helps LVR demonstrate the effectiveness of our program. Please notify the office immediately if the learner is discontinuing for any reason.

LVR Library Resources

I suggest the following material in our library:

  • Contemporary's Reading Basics: Introductory
  • Contemporary's Reading Basics: Intermediate 1
  • The Steck-Vaughn Comprehension Skills series
    • Conclusion 1
    • Context
    • Context 1
    • Context 2
    • Facts
    • Facts 1
    • Facts 2
    • Main Idea 1
    • Main Idea 2
    • Teacher's Manual
  • TABE: Content area skill exercises
    This three-ring binder contains McGraw-Hill/Contemporary exercises for levels E through A

I welcome your questions; please see my contact information


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