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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

FY2019 Assessment Policy Memorandum

To:Adult Education Directors
From:Wyvonne Stevens-Carter, Acting State Adult Education Director
Date:November 7, 2018

The following are updates to the FY2019 Assessment Policies:

Exception Allowed to Assessment Policy 1: Three Assessments in a Fiscal Year

Programs may administer no more than three NRS approved assessments per content or skill area in one fiscal year.

ACLS is now allowing one exception to this policy: students GLE 0–2 who max out of the TABE Literacy test can (when appropriate) be assessed with MAPT for Math and/or MAPT for Reading in the same fiscal year. This policy is effective starting FY2019.

Changes to Assessment Policy 2: Primary Assessment Area (PAA)

In order to align the state assessment policies with federal assessment guidelines and eliminate redundancies, ACLS is changing its current Primary Assessment Area (PAA) policy and renaming it Initial Placement Test policy.

Starting FY2019, when two or more pre-tests are administered in different content/skill areas, the test with the lowest score is, by default, marked in LACES as the student's initial placement test if the two (or more) pre-tests are administered within seven days of each other. If more than seven days pass between these test administrations, the first administered test is automatically selected as the initial placement test for federal reporting.

ACLS does not mandate the seven-day period but recommends that, whenever possible, programs that administer more than one pre-test do so within seven days of each other. The seven-day rule will also apply to tests copied over from the previous fiscal year with a July 1 default date in LACES.

This change in policy means that programs no longer need to choose the student's initial placement test (formerly known as the primary assessment area) based on the skill or content area (reading, math, writing, speaking, listening) in which the student needs to improve as expressed by the student or as determined by the program. The choice is made by either a) administering only one NRS-approved test within a seven-day period or b) administering two or more within that seven-day period, where the first NRS-approved test administered is automatically selected by LACES as the initial placement test.

Additionally, the following components of the current Primary Assessment Area policy are no longer applicable either:

  • The PAA must be set BEFORE the monthly attendance lockout period.
  • The PAA must not be changed during the fiscal year except when a student moves from ESOL services to ABE services (or vice versa)

This policy will not affect program performance. Under the new Initial Placement Test Policy, EFL outcomes in the initial placement test and any additional tests all count for NRS outcomes. Programs can get 1.0 credit for an Educational Functioning Level (EFL) completion in either a student's initial placement test or in the non-initial placement test. More details on partial credit as part of the MSG standard can be accessed here: ACLS: Accountability System.

Important note: Initial placement as defined in the above policy is different from class placement. A NRS initial placement test assigns the student to one of the twelve NRS levels (six for ESOL and six for ABE). Student placement in various program class levels may vary from one program to another and it is up to each individual program to create a rigorous and accurate class placement system that suits the needs of its specific student population.

Exception Allowed to Assessment Policy 3: Pre- and Post-Testing


Students in CALCs and Workplace Education programs must have 65 hours of instruction and students in Correctional Institutions must have 40 hours of instruction before they are administered a post-test.

ACLS is now allowing exceptions to the above assessment policy regarding required number of hours before post-testing.

ACLS understands that there are valid reasons for occasionally post-testing earlier than the policy allow. For example, a student leaving the program earlier than expected or teachers determining that a student is ready for a post-test earlier. Therefore, while the policy still mandates 65 instructional hours between tests (40 h for students in CI), programs (including CI) can test at fewer hours when the justifications for those exceptions are realistic, within reason, and rare.

ACLS will track these exceptions via LACES where a drop-down menu will be available for programs to choose the reason for the exception. Programs that consistently have a high volume of exceptions will be contacted by their program specialist to discuss their rationale.

Clarification on the Use of the TABE 11/12 for Class Placement

Programs using the TABE 11/12 for pre- and post-testing purposes cannot administer it for class placement purposes. The paper TABE 11/12 can be used for pre- and post-testing purposes.

Programs using the MAPT for Reading and/or the MAPT for Math for pre- and post-testing purposes can use the TABE 11/12 for class placement. In this case, the TABE 11 /12 paper or online versions may be used. If the online version is used, programs are responsible for providing their own technical support. ACLS and UMass CEA will not provide technical support when TABE 11/12 online version is used for class placement purposes.

ACLS will allow the use of paper and online TABE 11/12 for pre- and post-testing purposes starting FY2020. In FY2019, only the paper TABE 11/12 must be used for pre-and post-testing purposes.

Changes Coming in FY2019 to the Annual CLAS E-Writing and BEST Plus 2.0 Recertification Process

ACLS and UMass-Center for Educational Assessment, the provider of standardized assessment trainings and publisher of the MAPT, are working together to streamline the process for the annual CLAS E-Writing and BEST Plus 2.0 recertification. Here are some highlights of the coming changes. ACLS will release specific details about these changes in December 2018:

  • Timing
    Concurrent BEST Plus 2.0 and CLAS E-Writing annual recertification to provide more time and flexibility.

  • Determining who needs recertification
    UMass will circulate a link to a Google form for both tests to program directors to help identify practitioners who need to undergo recertification, eliminating the need to download two PDFs, complete them, and email them back. After the form is submitted, UMass-CEA will email program directors to indicate which practitioners are exempt from BEST Plus 2.0 recertification.

  • Delivery of materials
    Recertification materials will be emailed to program directors as well as practitioners, and will be available on the ACLS Test Help Blog.

  • BEST Plus 2.0 Refresher
    Practitioners will have the option to participate in a BEST Plus 2.0 Scoring Refresher webinar facilitated by a BEST Plus 2.0 trainer. The webinar will be recorded for viewing at a later date. The specific date of the webinar and related information will be announced soon. Programs can also carry out their own refresher sessions as has been done in the past.

  • TABE CLAS E-Writing Scoring Refresher
    A CLAS E-Writing Refresher packet will still be provided, and practitioners will have the option to participate in a CLAS E-Writing Scoring Refresher webinar facilitated by a TABE CLAS-E Writing trainer. The webinar will be recorded for viewing at a later date. The specific date of the webinar and related information will be announced soon.

For any questions related to this memo, please contact Dana Varzan-Parker, Assessment Specialist .

Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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