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CASAS and California ESL Model Standards

Model StandardsThe ESL Model Standards document get adobe reader, originally published by the California Department of Education in 1992, reflects thinking about developmental stages in second-language acquisition and the nature of communicative competence. The goals of the document are to enrich curriculum and validate the success of existing programs. (Before downloading the document, you will want to download the ESL Model Standards Key get adobe reader, which will assist you in reading areas of illegible text that formed when the document was scanned for online archiving. The Key will provide you with the page numbers and general headings that precede each illegible text area. In cases of graphs and tables, the entire graph or table can be found in the Key.)

CASAS is frequently contacted for information on how CASAS assessments correlate with the basic skills objectives identified in California Model Standards documents. A team of CASAS assessment specialists has analyzed the California English as a Second Language Model Standards for Adult Education Programs to correlate test item content in CASAS reading and listening tests. The reading and listening tests in both the CASAS Life Skills series and the Employability Competency System (ECS) series were included in this correlation with the model standards documents.

Using the Correlation Charts

As a result of the assessment specialists’ work, CASAS has produced four charts which correlate CASAS assessments to the ESL model standards language skills. There are two sets of charts, one for the Life Skills test series and one for the Employability test series. Within each of these two sets, individual charts correlate model standards listening, reading, and grammar skills objectives for each ESL proficiency level to the test items included in each series. This correlation reflects the application of basic skills from Beginning Low through Advanced High levels.

The language skills which are addressed in the two CASAS test series are listed by ESL instructional level under each of the three skills (reading, listening, grammar), e.g. Life Skills Reading, Beginning – High. For example, the correlation chart for Employability Reading lists the six reading skills objectives for ESL Beginning High which are identified in the model standards document. The first skill listed at that level is: "Interpret isolated words and phrases in familiar contexts." The ECS reading correlation chart indicates that the CASAS test forms that address the above skill at the beginning high instructional level are Forms 11 and 12. Note the checks in the boxes below Test Forms 11 and 12.*

The check marks which appear in the boxes on the chart below the test forms indicate that the reading skill checked is used to identify the correct response to at least one of the items on this test form. In other words, the learner must apply this reading skill in order to respond correctly to the life skill competency item assessed (application of the basic skill in an employability context).

Example 1

You know that you are going to be pretesting your class using Form 11 of the Employability series and post testing using Form 12. The CASAS Test Content by Item charts you received with your testing materials tells you which competencies are addressed in these test forms. You also want to know which of the beginning high model standards language skills are being addressed. You can: 1) locate the reading correlation charts for the Employability series, (the test forms are indicated across the top of the chart}, and 2) locate the test forms you will be using. Scan down the columns for Forms 11 and 12 to identify which of the six reading skills listed under beginning high are addressed in the forms that you will be using. The boxes checked indicate that four of the six reading skills listed are addressed in Form 11 and three in form 12.

Example 2

You are interested in knowing which of the CASAS tests addresses the largest number of model standards reading, listening and/or grammar skills for the ESL proficiency level you are teaching, e.g. beginning - high. Using the correlation charts, you can 1) identify the charts for a specific skill area, e.g. reading, 2) identify the instructional level , e.g. beginning high 3) review the list of skills listed on the left side of the chart below the designated level. You will find that all seven of the model standards reading skills listed for the beginning high level are addressed in the two CASAS test series. At the beginning level of difficulty, Forms 31 and 32 of the Life Skills series each address the first three skills, Form 32x four. Form 11 of the Employability series addresses four skills and Form 12 three. You may want to identify alternative modes of assessment for assessing proficiency in the other two reading skills.

Multiple assessment measures

Standardized testing is not meant to assess all of the objectives included in an instructional program. Assessing the attainment of some standards and objectives requires the use of other modes of assessment such as portfolios and demonstration of performance to determine student progress.

* You will also note checks for this reading skill under Forms 13 and 14. These checks indicate that this reading skill is also addressed in these test forms which are intended for use at a higher instructional level.

To view the correlation charts click on the links below.

Model Standards - Life Skills Reading

Model Standards - Life Skills Listening

Model Standards - Employability Reading

Model Standards - Employability Listening

CASAS also has standardized writing assessments that address model standards for writing, and is currently field testing oral assessments that address model standards for speaking. New reading, grammar, and listening assessments are currently under development that are directly designed to assess the model standards. Please contact CASAS at or 1-800-255-1036 if you are interested in field testing these new assessments.

In the past few years, at the request of the CASAS National Consortium - representing approximately 30 states - CASAS has begun development of basic skills content standards as a formal part of the CASAS system. This enhancement of the CASAS system is intended to assist and encourage teachers to more fully integrate basic skills content standards and functional competencies in instruction.

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