Better Edition of Structure Tests

Better Edition of Structure Tests—English Language (BESTEL) ESL Assessment Test

Narrative Summary: 

BESTEL was developed to provide adult school programs with an ESL/EFL assessment test that (1) places students into language levels of proficiency, (2) can be administered within an hour, and (3) places students into a wide range of levels that reflect their curriculum needs.

Intended Population: 

BESTEL is intended for high school, college, and adult ESL students.


BESTEL assesses adults and places them into ESL/EFL courses, measures progress through pre- and posttesting, and compares placement scores of new and continuing students.

Skills Measured-Test Content: 

Grammar and reading to understand correct sentence structure

Range of Skill Levels: 

Seven levels, ranging from low beginning to advanced plus.

Number of Items per Test: 

Seventy-five items

Types of Items: 

Three-choice multiple choice

Development of Items: 

Sample items were written to represent content and objectives taught at each of six levels: two beginning, two intermediate, and two advanced. Level item banks were developed from these items and from oral performance and achievement tests. Teachers then reviewed 200–300 items per level and removed ambiguous and poor items. One-hundred to 150 items representative of different grammar and structural objectives per level were selected and made into two tests of 50–75 items each for the 6 levels. The 50–75 item tests for each level were administered to the appropriate levels. Through item analysis, 60 items from the 100–150 items per level were then selected for each level and developed into 2 equivalent 30- item forms. The 6 level tests contained a total of 360 items but were awkward to administer as placement tests. Therefore, 300 items representative of objectives taught at the 6 levels were selected and made into 6 forms of 50 items each. Field tests were then conducted. To further simplify placement procedures, these same 300 items have been placed into 4 equivalent forms of 75 items each.

Size of Item Bank: 

300 items



Alternate Test Forms: 

Two forms are available for use.

Required / Recommended Administrator Training: 

User’s Guide

Test Administration Procedures: 

Paper-and-pencil. Written test administration procedures are provided by the Association of Classroom Teacher Testers.

Scoring - How: 

Hand scoring or machine scoring (scan)

Scoring - Type: 

Raw scores may be converted to seven levels, ranging from low beginning to advanced plus.

Scoring - Who: 

Test administrator

Scoring - How Long: 

A few minutes

Reporting Procedures: 

None required

Time Needed for Assessment: 

Approximately 1 hour total: 15 minutes to give instructions and 45 minutes to take the test

Publisher / Company / Source: 

Association of Classroom Teacher Testers (ACTT)
1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1, PMB 378
Montecito, CA 93108–2794
Telephone: 805–965–5704
Fax: 805–965–5807

Versions & Publication Dates: 


  • Site Licensing Fee: $95 for 1–60 students tested per year, $195 for 61–200 students, $295 for 201–400 students, $495 for 401–750 students, and $795 for 751–1,200 students. More than 1,200 available by quote.
  • Test Booklets Form 1: $100 for 40
  • Test Booklets Form 2: $100 for 40
  • User’s Guide: $12
  • Student Answer Sheets: $25 for 250 answer sheets (may photocopy original provided)
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