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Pre- and Post-Testing

CASAS Pre- and Post-Testing Guidelines

CASAS recommends establishing an assessment policy and procedures that accommodate both the instructional delivery system, the intensity and duration of instruction, and the student population served. The following are general guidelines for establishing an assessment policy that will provide meaningful data for determining the impact of instruction. 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.


Students should be pre-tested as soon as is feasible upon entry into the program or before any substantial instructional intervention has occurred. CASAS standardized tests in reading, math, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension may be used. Students should be assessed in the areas that are the focus of instruction.


Agencies should administer post-tests, using alternate forms, at the end of a semester, term, quarter, or other substantial block of instruction to document learning gains. Typically programs assess after approximately 70-100 hours of instruction. However, testing should not occur before at least 40 hours of instruction.

Programs offering high intensity courses (e.g., class meets more than 15 hours per week) may choose to test at the end of a semester, term, quarter, or other substantial block of instruction, even though the instructional intervention is more than 100 hours of instruction.

Programs offering low intensity courses with less than 70 hours in a semester, quarter, term, or other substantial block of instruction, may choose to post-test at the end of the instructional period.

Programs may choose to assess students who indicate they are leaving the program before the scheduled post-test time, to maximize collection of paired test data.

Agencies should establish a policy for assessing learners with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities. Generally more hours of instruction are needed for these populations to show substantial learning gains. Please see CASAS test accommodations for assessing learners with disabilities.

For more information, review the CASAS Assessment Policy Guidelines.

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