CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems)
- What can you tell me about CASAS?
CASAS is the most widely used competency-based testing system in the United States and continues to focus on its original mission — serving adult learners.
Our tests measure basic skill and academic achievement in reading, listening, math, writing, and related areas. We support adult educators and workforce development professionals in transitioning older youth and adults to postsecondary education, training, and the workforce. CASAS is a nonprofit organization, and its assessments are approved by the US Department of Education and the US Department of Labor.
- What assessments do you recommend for programs that serve English language learners?
English language programs should use the new ESL Listening STEPS series and the new ESL Reading STEPS series. The choice between testing reading skills or listening skills depends on the primary focus of instruction. However, most programs choose to test English language students in both modalities.
- What assessments do you recommend for an ABE or ASE program?
The ABE/ASE Reading GOALS series and the new ABE/ASE Math GOALS 2 series are two particularly useful test series for ABE and ASE programs. Both series offer an Appraisal (placement) test or an online Locator test as well as pre- and post-tests to monitor learning gains. ASE programs also may want to use the Secondary Level Assessment pre- and post-tests in seven high school level content area subjects.
- My program wants to test reading ability. What tests should we use?
CASAS recommends choosing a reading test series based on student and program needs.
- ESL Reading STEPS test series aligns with the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education. The series reflects the content critical to preparing English Language Learners for success in college, technical training programs, work, and citizenship.
- ABE/ASE Reading GOALS tests are aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. The standards reflect content most relevant to preparing adults for success in college, technical training programs, work, and citizenship.
- (NOTE: Reading GOALS 2 is a new reading series currently in development.)
- Secondary Level Assessment assesses reading comprehension in an academic context for seven high school content area subjects.
- Reading for Citizenship tests reading comprehension focused on citizenship for those with low-level reading skills.
- Braille Reading Assessment assesses reading comprehension for those who are blind and visually impaired.
- Spanish Reading Comprehension Test assesses reading skills in Spanish at a difficulty level of three to nine years of schooling in Spanish-speaking nations.
More information about these and other tests is available at Product Overviews.
- How do I begin testing? What test do I give first?
CASAS eTests (online testing) offers a short Locator test that seamlessly moves students into the correct pretest. This option saves testing time because the Locator is shorter than an Appraisal, and the Locator plus pretest is one testing event.
With paper test booklets, you should administer an Appraisal when a student enrolls in a program and before instruction begins. The Appraisal score indicates which pretest a student should take.
Please note that an Appraisal test is never appropriate for pre- and post-testing.
The Appraisal plus pretest helps to identify skill levels for appropriate placement into a program or a class level. Students should take the Appraisal at intake or shortly thereafter.
- What follows a Locator or Appraisal test?
Students take a pretest based on their Appraisal or Locator test score. The choice of test series to monitor progress (pretest and post-test) depends on the focus of instruction, e.g., reading, math, listening. After 70 to 100 hours of instruction, students take a post-test to determine how much they progressed during instruction.
- What tests do you recommend for students functioning at a high school level of proficiency?
We recommend that these students should take the Level D tests in the Reading GOALS series and the Level D or E tests in the Math GOALS 2 series. In addition, programs may want to use the Secondary Level Assessment tests that offer pre- and post-tests in seven high school content area subjects.
- What tests do you have for students who have low-level literacy skills?
CASAS Beginning Literacy Reading Assessment Forms 27 and 28 assess low literacy level reading skills. They are appropriate for anyone learning to read print. POWER standardized performance assessment and Adult Life Skills color photo tests measure basic skills of adults who have developmental disabilities.
- Are the tests timed or can students have extra time to finish a test?
CASAS adheres to a policy of pre- and post-tests not being so strictly timed that test administrators must issue a call of “pencils down.” Most of our tests require 60 or 75 minutes to complete. Please note that all students may have a few extra minutes to finish the question they are working on.
- Low-end scores on your scale score charts show an asterisk (*) but not a scale score. What do we do about those scores?
Those who score in the inaccurate range do not receive a scale score because they have not answered enough questions to do so. Those who score in the low-end range of their pretest at Levels B, C, D, or E should take the next lower test form to obtain a scale score and an NRS level. If a student scores at the low-end range on a Level A test, we recommend additional instruction prior to retesting that student on a Level A test.
- High-end scores on your scale score charts show a diamond (♦). What do we do about those scores?
Pretest: Those who score at the high conservative estimate/diamond range on a pretest form should retest at the next highest test level.
Post-test: Those who score at this range on a post-test also should retest at the next highest test level. If it is not possible to administer another post-test because the semester is over or the student is unavailable, programs may use the post-test score, even if it falls within the conservative estimate/diamond range.
- What is the recommended time between pretesting and post-testing?
CASAS recommends 70 to 100 hours of instruction between pretest and post-test. Research indicates that the more time allowed for instruction and learning between pre- and post-testing, the higher the probability of increased learning gains and other learning outcomes.
Data from more than four decades of progress testing in the CASAS system show an average gain of approximately five points for every 100 hours of instruction.
- What if students who are “stop outs” took a pre- or post-test, left the class, and then returned? What is a reasonable time for administering a new pretest?
Post-test scores may serve as the pretest for the next semester or reporting period, provided the interim does not exceed four months. Similarly, the most recent assessment results for “stop outs” returning to class may be used, provided the last test administered does not exceed four months. This policy reduces unnecessary testing.
Program personnel may wish to retest “stop outs” or students returning the following semester or reporting period if they have reason to believe that during the absence or summer recess a significant learning intervention occurred that could invalidate previous test results. In such circumstances, retesting is always an option.
- May I translate if a student does not understand something?
No. You may not translate a test item. Translation is permissible before the test begins to explain instructions and to collect demographic data.
- Does CASAS allow the use of calculators on its math tests?
The new Math GOALS 2 test series and the Math GOALS test series allow the use of a calculator provided by the testing program. Personal calculators are not permissible.
- Can I copy the audio files for listening tests onto my computer hard drive, flash drive, another CD, or another device to assess students?
No. CASAS tests are copyrighted intellectual property, and we cannot permit duplication of any sort. We want to ensure all test-takers use listening testing materials guaranteed by CASAS. You may use CASAS eTests to administer listening tests by computer. You will need to provide speakers or headphones.
- Is it permissible for an agency to laminate CASAS test booklets because of COVID-19?
We recommend that agencies continue to use paper test booklets by implementing rotation procedures. Agencies can safely use booklets by setting used ones aside for three or more days when they will be safe to reuse. For several reasons, we cannot allow agencies to laminate test booklets. We cannot guarantee that laminated booklets can be cleaned well enough. In addition, there is no guarantee that laminated test booklets are put together correctly in a binder – and that the binder ring holes will not cut off any part of a test question.
Accommodations in Testing
CASAS Testing Accommodations and Accessibility Features FAQs
Training and Implementation
- Why does CASAS require completion of a training workshop?
Accurate test results are possible only if test administration procedures are standardized and followed carefully. Therefore, it is important to understand fully how to use CASAS. Participation in a training workshop helps to ensure that your test results are accurate and your program, your instructors, and your students derive the maximum benefits from our assessments and resources.
- Who should enroll in a training workshop?
At least one staff member from each agency or school must complete training. Program coordinators and staff who administer tests and interpret results should complete a training workshop. Others may want to participate to learn more about testing and our system.
- What training workshop is right for my staff and for me?
CASAS recommends completing CASAS Implementation Training that provides a well-rounded understanding of CASAS. The training is offered in four modules that are online and at no charge. Module 1 is mandatory. Programs will need to choose one other module to meet their training requirements. Completion of training allows users to order and administer most tests. There are other training workshops available such as citizenship, workplace, or writing assessment. Technology training is available for CASAS eTests (online testing) and TOPSpro Enterprise (accountability software). Email CASAS at email@example.com if you are not sure which training you need.
- What will I learn in a training workshop?
Your workshop will help you learn to administer and score tests, interpret test results, and understand our system more fully. You’ll learn about resources available and the technology options that CASAS offers.
- How do I arrange for the training I need?
Many training workshops are no-cost self-paced courses available online. Visit Online Training to access training. Face-to-face training is available at the CASAS National Summer Institute each June. Visit www.casas.org/si for information about the Institute. Please check with your state Professional Development Department for information about any local training workshops.
CASAS National Summer Institute
- What Is the CASAS National Summer Institute?
The Institute is a yearly event held in June that offers training sessions and workshops geared to the needs and interests of adult education professionals. Presentations focus on the latest developments in testing, accountability, standards setting, certification, program evaluation, and other topics as well as using tests and resources effectively and efficiently.
- What are the benefits of attending Summer Institute?
This annual professional development event is for those who want to learn more about CASAS and adult education policies. Participants have a tremendous opportunity to learn more about testing, accountability requirements, program evaluation, and using CASAS in instructional programs.
- Why register on the CASAS website?
Registration lets you manage your profile and access resources such as QuickSearch Online (instructional materials database) and the Adult Low-Level Literacy Curriculum Modules (lessons for pre-beginning and beginning readers). You can join peer communities to receive up-to-date information. The National Consortium and California Accountability communities do require access from CASAS.
- I registered but I still cannot log in. What should I do?
When you register, you receive a confirmation email to verify your email address. Click the link in the email to activate your account. If you have not received your email, check your spam or junk folder. If you still are unable to locate the email, contact firstname.lastname@example.org,
- I forgot my password, or my password does not work. Now what?
On the log-in page, click the Reset Password button. Follow the email instructions you received when you registered. Remember, your new password must be seven or more characters with at least one number.
- Does CASAS sell or share my information with others?
Purchasing Our Products
- Is it best to order online?
Yes. Go to www.casas.org/product-overviews/order. Online ordering is the fastest way to receive your order.
- Are there other ways to place an order besides online ordering?
We accept orders by fax (858-292-2910) or mail (5151 Murphy Canyon Rd., Suite 220, San Diego, CA 92123).
You may complete a “fillable” order form at at https://www.casas.org/docs/default-source/newsroom/order-form.pdf
CASAS cannot accept telephone orders.
Where can I find more information about placing an order with CASAS?
Visit Ordering Terms and Conditions for complete ordering information.
- How soon can I expect to receive my order?
You should receive your order within ten working days of placing an online order or of your order form arriving at CASAS.
- What should I do if I have not received my order?
Please email email@example.com or call 1-800-255-1036, option 3.
- Where can I find more information about CASAS products?
The Products Overview section of this website is an excellent source of information.