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Functional Writing

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As writing ability becomes increasingly crucial for both personal and on-the-job success in a challenging economy, look to CASAS Functional Writing Assessment as your guide to establishing a strong, practical writing program.

Today CASAS Functional Writing Assessment is the premier system for assessing the writing skills of adults, whether they are enrolled in education and training programs or are already on the job.

The system uses dynamic picture task prompts that allow for creative demonstration of writing abilities while allowing instructors to focus on key writing skills:

  • Content
  • Organization
  • Word choice
  • Grammar and sentence structure
  • Punctuation, spelling, and capitalization

The Functional Writing Assessment was only approved for NRS reporting purposes through June 30, 2014. However, it can continue to be used for state and local accountability purposes.

Delivery Formats

Paper-and-Pencil Tests

Scoring Options

Manual Scoring

Advantages and Benefits

  • Appropriate for assessing beginning to advanced-level writing skills
  • Administered through thought-provoking picture task prompts
  • Easy to administer, score, and interpret results
  • Innovative balance between life skills and workplace-focused writing
  • Picture task prompts strongly focused on the everyday lives of today's adult learners
  • Appropriate for use with native and non-native English speakers

Writing Assessment Specifics

CASAS Functional Writing Assessment provides the tools you need for:

  • Placement
  • Monitoring writing progress
  • Screening for employment or training referrals
  • Determining program exit or level advancement
  • Certifying the completion of a level or a program
  • Norming across levels

Students have up to 30 minutes to complete a picture prompt writing task.

Functional Writing Assessment correlates to CASAS Competencies and to CASAS Content Standards. Use student test results to help target instruction.

Writing Assessment Scoring

Learning to score writing assessment is provided as a key component of Functional Writing Assessment training. In addition, a scoring service is available for agencies that have a limited number of writing tests for scoring. Arrangements must be made in advance with CASAS to schedule this service.


Use the QuickSearch Online database to determine instructional resources by assessment series, skill area, program type, CASAS competency, publication title, and by publisher.

Training is required to order and administer the CASAS Functional Writing Assessment. Contact CASAS for more information on training options.


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