The New Assessments: What Do We Know?

You may have heard that NRS approval for the tests we currently use for reporting purposes ends on June 30, 2017. The good news is that the NRS has extended the approval date for all currently approved assessments to February 2, 2019! For those of you who have been looking forward to new tests that are updated and CCRS compliant, you may have to wait a bit longer to view and use the new assessments.

So What Do We Know About the New Tests?

Both CASAS and TABE completed test item development and testing, and submitted their new assessments for approval in October 2016. The approval process can take many months.


  • TABE 11/12 test items are 100% aligned to the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) and the new NRS ABE/ASE level descriptors.
  • The newest version of TABE will have only one length test (no longer will there be a Survey and a Complete Battery). New test times will be released sometime in January.
  • The Locator test will be a bit longer to have a stronger predictive value.
  • There will only be 3 tests: Reading, Math, and Language. The single Math test will incorporate both applied math and computation skills.
  • TABE 11/12 will continue to be available in both paper and online versions.
  • The online version will use a new platform, which will be released in the spring of 2017. TABE 9/10 will also be moved to the new platform.
  • TABE may release versions 11 and 12 prior to final NRS approval. These assessments cannot be used for reporting purposes until the NRS issues final approval and Minnesota ABE incorporates the assessments into the updated assessment policy and database.


  • CASAS test items are aligned to the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) and the new NRS ABE/ASE level descriptors.
  • The new reading test incorporates comprehension questions that assess higher order reading skills, including citing evidence from complex texts.
  • The text passages will incorporate numbered lines, which test items will be able to reference.
  • The new math tests assess math concepts via common life and work applications. A range of item types will include word problems, simple to advanced calculation, and situational scenarios that reflect real-world applications.
  • The new math tests will allow use of a calculator.
  • Formulae will be provided within the test item to keep assessment focused on math concepts and skills, not memorization.
  • The new CASAS tests will be available in both paper and e-testing versions.
  • Because the revised NRS ELL descriptors have not been finalized, the new series has not yet been submitted for approval for use with ELLs. CASAS hopes to be able to submit the assessments for approval for use with ELLs in October 2017.

Below is the current list of approved assessments for use in reporting in Minnesota. They are all approved by OCTAE and the Minnesota Department of Education for NRS reporting purposes through February 2, 2019.

TABE (Tests of Adult Basic Education)

CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems)

BEST Plus 2.0 (Basic English Skills Test)

Marty Olsen, ABE Coordinator / State Assessment Trainer SW ABE