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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Scoring Guide for CLAS-E Expository Writing

Dear Program Directors:

Please read and share this important assessment information with TABE CLAS-E Test Administrators on staff regarding their use of CLAS-E for pre- and post-testing of learners.

In order to make each step of using the TABE CLAS-E easier and more efficient this year, SABES and ACLS staff have developed new materials to help staff when pre-and post-testing. Please ensure that staff follow these directions and use these materials. There are eight new documents that programs are required to use that are attached to this email:

  1. Updated CLAS-E Assessment Policy Manual and short document outlining new changes/additions
  2. Tips for Taking the CLAS-E handout for adult learners with teacher directions
  3. Adapted CLAS-E Locator Test Directions
  4. Adapted Locator Test Answer Booklet to be used Statewide with substitute script for directions included in item #3 above
  5. Guidelines for Re-Testing with CLAS-E (for pre-testing only)
  6. CLAS-E Supplementary Scoring Guide
  7. "Notes to the Scorer" and other scoring caveats reformatted by Test Levels 1-4

If pre-testing has already begun, there is no need to go back to use these materials, but I encourage you to integrate them into your CLAS-E testing as soon as possible.

  1. The CLAS-E Assessment Policy Manual and short document of new changes: The manual will be on the ACLS web page at http://www.doe.mass.edu/acls/assessment/, under "Assessment News" shortly. Test administrators must read the manual and document outlining the changes prior to pre-testing. Take special note of clarified scoring procedures for expository writing items, and the date for annual recertification for CLAS-E scorers in both of these documents.
  2. The Tips for Taking the CLAS-E was developed to help learners prepare for taking the CLAS-E Locator and Writing Assessment if they are new to testing, to encourage test-takers to move on to other items if a particular item appears too difficult, and to try to relax about taking the test. It must be used prior to testing, whether in class (if the whole class is taking the CLAS-E together, even if at different levels) or with individual test-takers. In order to maintain consistency statewide, test administrators must introduce the handout according to the teacher directions, and neither add to nor change the document or their introduction of it.
  3. Adapted TABE CLAS-E Locator Test Directions includes a new addition to the test directions entitled "CLAS-E Locator Pre-Test Activity." The activity was developed in part to help learners understand the "Sample A" test item in the Locator Test. Many learners have been confused by the question prompt for "Sample A" (e.g., "What belongs on Line 1?"), and so this activity explains how to respond to this and similar items on the Locator. Test administrators must introduce this exactly as written in order to maintain consistency in its use statewide.
  4. The adapted directions also include a script that was developed because many learners spent all or most of their time on difficult test items and failed to complete easier ones. While some items are appropriately difficult in order to discriminate between test-takers at Level 1 versus Levels 2, 3 or 4, it is important for learners to know to go on and complete what they can on the Locator (or any test). The Locator directions for taking the test are verbatim except for having taken out references to bubbling test responses. Nothing else has been changed about the Locator test Directions, and these three documents have been inserted into the existing CLAS-E Locator Test Directions. Test administrators must use this script exactly as written in order to maintain consistency in its use statewide.

  5. The Adapted Locator Test Answer Booklet was developed to mirror our use of the SABES-developed CLAS-E Answer Sheet for Levels 1-4 but maintain the look of the Locator Test Answer Booklet. This answer sheet does not use bubbles, which learners would have to fill in to respond to a question. Test Administrators must use the substitute script in the Adapted TABE CLAS-E Locator Test Directions to compensate for the difference in format. Programs must use this Locator Answer Sheet, and may not use other answer sheets or ones which they developed.
  6. The Guidelines for Re-Testing with CLAS-E addresses many questions test administrators and directors raised about the scaling of Levels 1 through 4 of the CLAS-E Writing Assessment and whether learners would be able to show gain if they score into the "NRS/SPL Plus" category of scale scores in Levels 1-4. Note these guidelines for re-testing apply to pre-testing only. They do not need to be used for mid-year or post-testing, or with scores rolled over form the previous fiscal year. If the score learners achieve on a pre-test indicates that re-testing is needed, test administrators must re-test as soon as possible. They should not be used to make decisions for other testing (e.g., whether or not to move levels for the post-test or in relation to scores rolled over from the previous fiscal year.)
  7. The CLAS-E Supplementary Scoring Guide was developed to address questions that were raised this past year in scoring CLAS-E expository writing tests. Programs must use the Supplementary Scoring Guide along with the Rubric and Notes to the Scorer when scoring student tests to insure inter-rater reliability both within programs and statewide.
  8. "Notes to the Scorer" and other scoring caveats reformatted by Test Levels 1-4 was developed to pull together the disparate scoring notes in the CLAS-E Writing Scoring Guide into one document for each CLAS-E Expository Writing Test Levels. Programs must use the Notes to the Scorer when scoring student tests to insure inter-rater reliability both within programs and statewide.

Massachusetts ESE-funded ABE teachers may contact April Zenisky at acldtesthelp@educ.umass.edu to receive the attachments. Thank you for your continued hard work.

With Literacy in Mind.

Anne Serino
ABE State Director
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education



Last Updated: October 3, 2011
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