BEST PLUS ORAL ENGLISH PROFICIENCY TEST
Programs must use the BEST Plus for ESOL students SPL
2-10 whose primary goal is to improve their speaking and listening skills
and for all ESOL students at SPL 0-1, regardless of their goal.
This page will give you an overview of the BEST Plus
test and the specifics of test administration. You can visit www.cal.org/BESTPlus/ at any time for more information about the BEST Plus. You can also review or download a copy of the ACLS policy manual for BEST Plus here.
OF THE BEST PLUS
Plus is an adaptation of CAL's Basic English Skills Test (BEST) oral
interview. As with the BEST test, BEST Plus is administered
in a face-to-face interview with a student and is designed to assess
the student's interpersonal communication skills using language and
pictures from everyday life. The computer-adaptive version of BEST Plus,
however, is administered and scored using a computer with a CAL-developed
CD. As the test progresses, the computer adjusts questions to the skill
level of the student's responses.
version of the BEST Plus offers a number of advantages to programs and
administrators won't need to do co-administrations, thereby reducing
time/money constraints and stress on staff.
will be no need to alternate test forms when administering the test
to students because the software gives a different sequence of questions
every time the test is given.
to the current BEST test, the questions are more appropriate for a
variety of ESOL students from different countries, of different ages,
abilities, and levels of education.
Plus can be used to measure students up to SPL 10, so programs will
have the choice of when to use the REEP or BEST Plus, depending on
their students' and program needs.
Plus questions are appropriate for a student's ability and intended
to give the fewest number of test questions needed to determine a
student's test score and proficiency level.
computer generates a score report on each student's test, so administrators
don't need to tally up scores and determine the scale score or SPL.
These score reports can be organized in a variety of ways (by class,
site, and test administrator) and can keep track of pre- and post-tests
for individual students.
the BEST Plus has such a large item bank, it may be given at intake.
BEST PLUS IS ADMINISTERED
must first purchase a certain number of test administrations from CAL
by calling in the Registration Key displayed on their computer screen
and receiving in return a Purchase Code, which when entered will allow
the purchased number of administrations.
Teachers may not administer the BEST Plus to their own students. The administrator
sits at a computer and asks the student a series of questions that the
computer presents on the screen. The administrator scores each student
response for Listening Comprehension (on a scale of 0-2), Language Complexity
(0-4), and Communication (0-3) using a scoring rubric. The student sits
at a right angle to the test administrator and doesn't see the computer
screen, except when pictures are displayed for him or her to respond
As scores are entered for the various responses, the computer selects test questions
(from a large item pool) most appropriate for the student's demonstrated
ability level. When the computer has enough information to determine
the student's SPL level based on the scores entered, the computer prompts
the test administrator that the test is finished. The test administrator
then can print out a score report and go over it immediately with the
student. The program can also simply store the data on the hard drive
for retrieval later. SABES and DOE have developed a tipsheet to get program's started with score data management. See also CAL's resource page related to BEST Plus. (Use your "Back" button to return to this page.)
Programs need to pre- and post-test enrolled students each fiscal year in their primary assessment area in order to capture student educational gain. The general recommendation is to post-test after an interval of four months or 65 hours of instruction, whichever comes first. Because the intensity of classes varies among programs, some adult learners in intensive classes might attend 65 hours of instruction before two months have elapsed. "Meaningful educational gain" is considered to be 33 or more scale score points for this assessment.
Programs that offer intensive classes may pre- and post-test students who have enrolled after April 1st if they attend 65 hours of instruction before June 30th. Any type of attended hours qualify, including rate-based class hours, non rate-based hours, match hours, and distance learning hours.
Record BEST Plus scale scores in SMARTT, which will convert them to SPL scores
for reporting purposes. See information on scale score correlations, too.
YOUR STAFF TRAINED
will need to have two staff trained (minimum) to administer the BEST Plus
in FY05. SABES will provide trainings throughout 2004-2005. Information
on times and locations of trainings can be found on the SABES calendar,
or by contacting your regional Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator.
Best Plus trainings are 7 hours, including time for lunch. After the training,
program staff will be required to administer 10 BEST Plus "practice
administrations" before they can use the test for official purposes — i.e.,
the practice administrations cannot be used as actual student scores in SMARTT.
Program staff who attend the entire BEST Plus training will receive the following:
Indication of completion in SMARTT.
Form on which to log in their 10 practice administrations
Administration Guide, including the rubric and directions for test
administration and score data management, and
2 CDs, one for practice administrations and another that will prepare
computers to admininister tests, run the actual test, and manage data
on test scores.
TO USE BEST PLUS, WHEN TO USE TABE CLAS-E
Student SPL Level
Assessment Instrument to Use
|If student is below SPL 2:
||MUST use the BEST Plus.
|If student is at SPL 2 or above:
||Use the CLAS-E or the BEST Plus.
|If a student is interested in working on his/her English writing skills:
Use the TABE CLAS-E.
|If a student is interested in working on his/her English speaking skills:
Use the BEST Plus.
|Laptop or desktop computer
||Mac users will need to have Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMware Fusion installed.
||Windows 2000 or later is recommended
||Compatible with Vista and Windows 7 – additional setup required.
||BEST Plus runs only from the CD drive. It cannot be installed on the computer.
||A mouse is needed for test operations. However, command keys also can be used
for some functions.
|Hard drive space
||10 megabytes (MB)
||BEST Plus stores data and score reports on hard drive.
||100 MHz Pentium
||Slower speeds will not allow the program to run.
|Computer memory (RAM)
||16 megabytes (MB)
||Less memory will not allow the program to run properly.
||800 x 600 pixels
||Resolution settiing needed for proper display of BEST Plus screens.
|Flash drive or network access
||One or the other is required
||A flash drive (aka thumb drive) or network access is needed to transfer data from the
test administration computer to other computers.
||Recommended, not required
||It is easier to turn the computer screen or monitor toward the student when
photographs are displayed for responses.
|Flat screen monitor for desktop computer
||Recommended, not required
||It is easier to turn this style of desktop monitor toward the student.
|Laptop lock or secure storage
||Recommended, not required
||Laptops are easily stolen.
Top of page