CASAS GOALS: What Do We Know?Marty Olsen, SW ABE Coordinator / Assessment Trainer
On February 7, 2018, CASAS announced that its new Reading GOALS test series has received a full seven-year approval from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), for use in the federal National Reporting System (NRS) at all levels of Adult Basic Education and Adult Secondary Education.
What does this mean for ABE programs in Minnesota? What do we know about the CASAS GOALS series?
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE CASAS GOALS SERIES
The Reading GOALS (Greater Opportunities for Adult Learning Success) series is approved only for ABE/ASE learners. CASAS states that the series is fully aligned to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education. The GOALS series covers the full range of ability levels described in the CCR Standards, from Beginning Literacy through High Advanced, and can be used for transition to post-secondary education and training. Academic vocabulary and higher-order thinking skills are also measured. Test content continues to be based on the CASAS Competencies to maintain relevance to the interests and needs of adult learners, including an emphasis on employment-related topics as required by WIOA.
HOW SOON CAN I START USING CASAS GOALS FOR NRS REPORTING?
The official word on this comes from the state ABE office.
Before any new test can be approved for Minnesota ABE programs to use for official accountability purposes to show measurable skill gains:
- We need to review and understand the new tests;
- Our state ABE assessment trainers need to be ready to train and provide technical assistance for the new tests;
- Our SiD team needs to build it into the statewide ABE database;
- Local ABE programs need to be able to purchase the tests; and
- The Minnesota Department of Education needs to get specific approval from the federal government with a revised Assessment Policy that includes the new tests.
The earliest the new CASAS GOALS series would be approved for official accountability use with local programs here in Minnesota will be July 1 of this year. An official announcement with the decision on the use of CASAS GOALS will come later this spring.
WHAT TESTS CAN I USE FOR MY ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS?
Programs can continue to use the Life and Work Reading and Life and Work Listening series through June 2019. In December 2017 the U.S. Department of Education released NRS Skill Level Descriptors for ELL/ESL programs. CASAS is in the process of developing both a reading and a listening series for ELL/ESL learners based on those descriptors.
IN WHAT FORMATS WILL CASAS GOALS BE AVAILABLE?
CASAS GOALS assessments are currently available for online testing through CASAS eTests. Paper-based tests will be available in late March.
HOW DO WE PLACE STUDENTS IN THE APPROPRIATE CASAS GOALS READING PRETEST LEVEL?
If you are using CASAS eTests Online, you can use the short locater embedded in the assessment. It will seamlessly place the student in the appropriate test level.
Those who are using the paper version of the test will need to administer the GOALS Appraisal Form 900. Again, these paper test booklets will be available in March.
CAN WE PRETEST WITH THE LIFE AND WORK SERIES, AND POST-TEST WITH THE GOALS SERIES?
No. Programs must always pretest and post-test using the same reading series.
IS THERE A CASAS MATH TEST THAT IS ALIGNED TO THE CCR STANDARDS?
CASAS will submit a new Math GOALS series in spring 2018 to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.
WHAT CAN I USE FOR A CASAS MATH TEST NOW?
Programs may continue to use the Life Skills Math series through June 2019.
WHERE CAN I SEE SOME PRACTICE ITEMS?
CASAS GOALS Reading practice items can be found online on the CASAS website.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE LATEST UPDATES AND INFORMATION ON CASAS ASSESSMENTS?
For updates and additional information regarding CASAS assessments, go to casas.org.
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