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National Reporting Standards

   Table of Contents


Reading For Expert Group "B"

Educational Functioning Level Descriptors and Outcome Measure Definitions For ABE & ESL


Outcome Measures Definitions


Literacy Level

Basic Reading and Writing

Numeracy Skills

Functional and Workplace Skills

Beginning ABE Literacy

Test Benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading 1-529

Total math 1-540 (grade level 0-1.9)

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 200 and below

AMES (B, ABE) scale scores:

Reading: 1-500

Computation: 1-476

Communication: 388-496

ABLE scale scores:

Reading 1-523

Math 1-521 

Individual has no reading or writing skills in any language, or has minimal skills, such as the

ability to read and write own name or simple isolated words. The individual may be able to

write letters or numbers and copy simple words and there may be no or incomplete recognition of the alphabet; may have difficulty using a writing instrument. There is little or no

comprehension of how print corresponds to spoken language.


Individual has little or no recognition of numbers or simple counting skills or may have only minimal skills, such as the ability to add or subtract single digit numbers.


Individual has little or no ability to read basic signs or maps, can provide limited personal information on simple forms and has few or no workplace skills. The individual can handle routine entry level jobs that require little or no basic written commu- nication or computational

skills and no knowledge of computers or other technology.


Beginning Basic Education

Test Benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading 530-679

Total math 541-677 (grade level 2-3.9);

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 201-210

AMES (B, ABE) scale scores:

Reading: 503-514

Computation: 477-492

Communication: 498-505

ABLE scale scores:

Reading: 525-612

Math: 530-591


Individual can read and print numbers and letters, but has a limited understanding of connected prose and may need frequent rereading; can write sight words and copy lists of

familiar words and phrases; may also be able to write simple sentences or phrases such as

name, address and phone number; may also write very simple messages. Narrative writing is disorganized and unclear; inconsistently uses simple punctuation (e.g.,periods,

commas, question marks); contains frequent errors in spelling.

Individual can count, add and subtract three digit numbers, can perform multiplication through 12; can identify simple fractions and perform other simple arithmetic operations.


Individual is able to read simple directions, signs and maps, fill out simple forms requiring basic personal information, write phone messages and make simple change. There is minimal knowledge of, and experience with, using computers and related technology. The individual can handle basic entry level jobs that require minimal literacy skills; can recognize very short, explicit, pictorial texts, e.g. understands logos related to worker safety before using a piece of machinery; can read want ads and complete simple job applications. 

Low Intermediate Basic Education

Test benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading: 680-722

Total math: 678-729 (grade level 4-5.9);

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 211-220

AMES (B and C, ABE) scale scores:

Reading (B): 517-609

Reading (C): 514-521

Computation (B): 494-603

Computation (C): 493-508

Communication (B): 508-605, (C) 509-513

ABLE scale scores:

Reading: 613-644

Math: 593-641


Individual can read simple material on familiar subjects and comprehend with high accuracy simple and compound sentences in single or linked paragraphs containing a familiar vocabulary; can write simple notes and messages on familiar situations, but lacks complete clarity and focus. Sentence structure lacks variety, but shows some control of basic grammar (e.g., present and past tense), and consistent use of punctuation (e.g., periods, capitalization).  

Individual can perform with high accuracy all four basic math operations using whole numbers up to three digits; can identify and use all basic mathematical symbols.


Individual is able to handle basic reading, writing and computational tasks related to life roles, such as completing medical forms, order forms or job applications; can read simple charts, graphs labels and payroll stubs and simple authentic material if familiar with the topic. The individual can use simple computer programs and perform a sequence of routine tasks given direction using technology (e.g., fax machine, computer operation). The individual can qualify for entry level jobs that

require following basic written instructions and diagrams with assistance, such as oral clarification; can write a short report or message to fellow workers; can read simple dials and scales and take routine


High Intermediate Basic Education

Test benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading: 723-761

Total math: 730-776 (grade level 6-8.9)

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 221-235

AMES (C and D, ABE) scale scores:

Reading (C): 525-612

Reading (D): 522-543

Computation (C): 510-627

Computation (D): 509-532

Communication (C): 516-611

Communication (D): 516-522

ABLE scale score:

Reading: 646-680

Math: 643-693


Individual can read text on familiar subjects that have a simple and clear underlying

structure (e.g., clear main idea, chronological order); can use context to determine meaning;

can interpret actions required in specific written directions, can write simple paragraphs with

main idea and supporting detail on familiar topics (e.g., daily activities, personal issues) by

recombining learned vocabulary and structures; can self and peer edit for spelling and punctuation errors.


Individual can perform all four basic math operations with whole numbers and fractions;

can determine correct math operations for solving narrative math problems and can convert fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions; can perform basic operations on fractions.


Individual is able to handle basic life skills tasks such as graphs, charts and labels, and can follow multi-step diagrams; can read

authentic materials on familiar topics, such as simple employee handbooks and payroll stubs;

can complete forms such as a job application and reconcile a bank statement. Can handle

jobs that involves following simple written instructions and diagrams; can read procedural

texts, where the information is supported by diagrams, to remedy a problem, such as

locating a problem with a machine or carrying out repairs using a repair manual. The

individual can learn or work with most basic computer software, such as using a word processor to produce own texts; can follow

simple instructions for using technology. 

Low Adult Secondary Education

Test benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading: 762-776

Total math: 777-789 (grade level 9-10.9)

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 236-245

AMES (E, ABE) scale scores:

Reading: 544-561

Computation: 534-548

Communication: 527-535

ABLE scale scores:

Reading: 682-697

Math: 694-716

Pass at least one GED practice test.


Individual can comprehend expository writing and identify spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors; can comprehend a variety of materials such as periodicals and nontechnical journals on common topics; can comprehend library reference materials and compose multi-paragraph essays; can listen to oral instructions and write an accurate synthesis of them; can identify the main idea in reading selections and use a variety of context issues to determine meaning. Writing is

organized and cohesive with few mechanical errors; can write using a complex sentence

structure; can write personal notes and letters that accurately reflect thoughts. 

Individual can perform all basic math functions with whole numbers, decimals and fractions; can interpret and solve simple algebraic equations, tables and graphs and can develop own tables and graphs; can use math in

business transactions.


Individual is able or can learn to follow simple multi-step directions, and read common legal forms and manuals; can integrate information from texts, charts and graphs; can create and use tables and graphs; can complete forms and applications and complete resumes; can perform jobs that require interpreting information from various sources and writing or

explaining tasks to other workers; is proficient using computers and can use most common computer applications; can understand the impact of using different technologies; can

interpret the appropriate use of new software and technology.


High Adult Secondary Education

Test benchmark:

TABE (5-6) scale scores:

Total reading: 777-999

Total math: 790-999 (grade lev el 11-12)

TABE (7-8): See Appendix C

CASAS: 246 and higher

AMES (E, ABE) scale scores:

Reading: 565-634

Computation: 551-645

Communication: 538-620

ABLE scale scores:

Reading: 699-813

Math: 717-885

Pass at least three GED practice tests.


Individual can comprehend, explain and analyze information from a variety of literacy works, including primary source materials and professional journals; can use context cues

and higher order processes to interpret meaning of written material. Writing is cohesive

with clearly expressed ideas supported by relevant detail; can use varied and complex sentence structures with few mechanical errors.


Individual can make mathematical estimates of time and space and can apply principles of geometry to measure angles, lines and surfaces; can also apply trigonometric functions.


Individuals are able to read technical information and complex manuals; can comprehend some college level books and apprenticeship manuals; can function in most

job situations involving higher order thinking; can read text and explain a procedure about a

complex and unfamiliar work procedure, such as operating a complex piece of machinery;

can evaluate new work situations and processes, can work productively and collaboratively in groups and serve as facilitator and reporter of group work. The individual is able to use common software and learn new software applications; can define the

purpose of new technology and software and select appropriate technology; can adapt use

of software or technology to new situations and can instruct others, in written or oral form on software and technology use.