Frequently Asked Questions

Adult educators who have a general knowledge of measurement principles and are willing to abide by the assessment standards of the American Psychological Association may administer TABE. These professional standards require TABE administrators to follow specific guidelines, such as keeping tests in a secure place and administering them only as directed. For additional information, see the Purchaser’s Qualification Statement in the back of the DRC|CTB Assessment Products and Services Catalog.
For adult basic education or other programs that include students at various levels of ability, administer the TABE Locator Test first. The results will indicate which level of TABE to use by content area. If you are using TABE as a screening tool for a program that requires a certain level of ability, select the appropriate level of TABE commensurate with the content difficulty for the program. For example, if you were screening for a nursing program that requires a 10th-grade reading level for admission, you would select TABE Level A.
TABE 9&10 has one locator test—divided into three sections—one each for reading, mathematics, and language. The entire Locator Test takes approximately 35 minutes to complete. Each locator sub-test will determine the appropriate level of test that the student should take. NOTE: One should not assume that each student arrives to be tested with the same level of performance in each content area.
TABE can be used with a wide range of audiences: high school equivalency programs; vocational programs; certain community college programs; welfare-to-work programs; occupational or military advancement programs; alternative educational programs; and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) programs, which may include basic education, vocational, and life skills assessment.
TABE is useful for any program that needs to assess basic educational skills in an adult population. TABE has been used successfully by adult basic education, correctional education, vocational-technical programs, corporate training, one-stop career centers, military, college, non-profit, and union programs.
Yes. TABE was normed on a population aged 14 years and above. TABE is a viable option to current norm-referenced tests for high school levels.
Always keep tests, manuals, and answer sheets secure. Never allow examinees to leave the test site with answer sheets or test books. Do not show test items (other than those designated as Sample Items) to students or discuss their answers. Make sure your staff understands the procedures necessary to maintain test security when they administer and score TABE. If you would like to schedule a training session for your staff members, contact your DRC|CTB Assessment Solutions Consultant, or call DRC|CTB Customer Services at (800) 538-9547.
Please allow a minimum of six months between testing to avoid the “practice effect” in which a student scores artificially high because of familiarity with test items. Also, do not review TABE with students to show them the questions they answered correctly or incorrectly if you plan to retest with the same form at the same level.
DRC|CTB recommends any of the following combinations in designing a pre- and post-test program with TABE:
Pre-Test Post-Test

TABE 9 and then TABE 10
TABE 10 and then TABE 9

In each of these recommend pre- and post-test combinations, your program would be testing with different forms of TABE that are on the same scale in order to measure gains. The student is not taking the same set of test questions in these scenarios. If a student were to be pre-tested and post-tested with the same form, DRC|CTB’s best practices recommendation would be to wait six months before re-testing in order to eliminate a score that might be invalid due to the practice effect, or the effect of seeing the same questions in a short time frame. There is no recommended minimum number of hours of instruction that must occur if a different form or different level of the TABE pre-test is administered as a post-test.

It depends on which version of TABE you choose. The TABE 9&10 Survey takes about 2 hours, and the Complete Battery takes about 3.5 hours. Times for other TABE versions vary, so it is best to talk with your CTB/McGraw-Hill Evaluation Consultant to discuss your specific testing needs.
Yes. TABE scales are calibrated across levels so scores from various levels of TABE may be compared to show progress. For example, if a student’s initial Locator Test scores placed him at Level E, he or she should be pre-tested with TABE Level E.

After a program of study, it should be determined if a student has advanced to a new level before he or she is re-tested. Advancement may be indicated by a very high score on the original pre-test, extraordinary progress in class, or a higher score upon re-administration of the Locator. If the teacher judges that the student has advanced from Level E to Level M, a Level M post-test should be administered. Because all levels of TABE are calibrated on the same scale, results may be compared across levels.

Yes. Any of the sub-tests can be administered as a stand-alone assessment. If you want to “quick screen” a student for basic reading and mathematics application skills, for example, you can administer just the Reading and Mathematics Applications sub-tests from the TABE Survey. This will take less than an hour, yet give a fairly good picture of the student’s skills in those two subject areas. A word of caution, however: this use of TABE is not appropriate when detailed diagnostic information is needed, or when extremely valid, reliable data is needed to support a high-stakes decision concerning the student.

Questions about Accommodations

A testing accommodation is a change made to the test administration procedure to provide equal access for students with disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. If an accommodation is employed, it is important that the selected accommodation minimize any advantage or disadvantage of completing the test. In particular, if the accommodation under consideration is not used in instruction, then it should not be used in the testing situation.
Some TABE administrators have made other accommodations such as allowing extra time to complete the test or letting students mark answers in test booklets rather than on separate answer sheets.
If you use different time limits than were used in the standardization process, it compromises the interpretation of the norms. However, DRC|CTB recognizes that time extensions may be warranted to accommodate persons with certain disabilities, or when TABE is being used exclusively to diagnose the learning objectives an individual still needs to master.
Yes. Large-print, Braille, and audio editions of TABE Forms 9&10 are available from DRC|CTB and may be ordered by calling Customer Services toll-free at (800) 538-9547 or through our Web site here.
Whenever non-standard directions and time limits are utilized, norm-referenced comparisons should be treated with great caution, since the only norms available are those based on test administrations using standard directions and time limits. Nonetheless, DRC|CTB believes that information about instructional strengths and student needs can be obtained from a non-standard test administration. This is best done by focusing on the curriculum-referenced or objective mastery information the test can provide.

Correlations and Uses of TABE Scores

Yes. TABE 9&10 was designed to serve as a pre-test and post-test for the same group of students. Generally, educators administer different forms of TABE at the same level when pre-testing and post-testing. However, if a student pre-tested near the top of the range, has made extraordinary progress in class, or re-takes the Locator and scores at a higher level, you may elect to use the next higher level of TABE as a post-test. This type of multi-level testing will yield valid results because all levels of TABE are on the same scale.
TABE is an excellent tool to assist in making decisions regarding academic programs and employment. However, we don’t recommend TABE be used as the sole measure for such decisions. DRC|CTB strongly recommends that our customers use multiple measures of assessment for high-stakes decisions such as hiring or acceptance into a training program. TABE works very well as a screening tool when used in conjunction with other information gained from such sources as interviews, transcripts, and references. Note: DRC|CTB does not set or recommend cut-point scores for screening candidates into programs. Such standards must be determined by the user.
Yes. Survey results indicate which learning objectives a student has mastered and which still need more work, but the diagnostic information is not as reliable as that obtained from the Complete Battery, which includes more items.
TABE® is designed to measure progress throughout the continuum of Adult Education, from pre-literacy and basic mathematical concepts, through high school. It follows NRS guidelines, offers NRS EFLs, additional features such as predictive scores to high school equivalency tests, as well as a new correlation table to the TASC test. TABE also offers objective level mastery information to help educators better target instruction, and aggregate group information for a quick snapshot of the bigger picture. The TASC test, which was field tested on graduating high school seniors, is designed to measure high school equivalency based on College and Career Readiness Standards. TABE measures progress while the TASC Test measures a final outcome.

Questions about Purchasing TABE or Contacting DRC|CTB

If you need additional information, view the DRC|CTB Adult Education Catalog online or contact DRC|CTB’s Customer Services Department at (800) 538-9547.
Yes. Adult educators and administrators with a general knowledge of measurement principles who are willing to abide by the assessment privacy standards of the American Psychological Association may preview TABE test materials. To arrange for your materials, call your DRC|CTB at (800) 538-9547.