TABE Complete Language Assessment System

TABE Complete Language Assessment System - English (TABE CLAS-E)

Intended Population: 

The TABE CLAS-E is intended for use with adult, non-native English speakers.


The CLAS-E proficiency test provides ESL educators and employers with student evaluation, placement, and instructional progress (pre-test form, post-test form) data in the reading, listening, writing, and speaking skill areas. CLAS-E is designed to present assessment items within workplace, community, and education contexts that will motivate adult ESL learners.

Skills Measured-Test Content: 

Reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills

Range of Skill Levels: 

Beginning to advanced

Number of Items per Test: 

For each level, scored items include:

  • Reading: 25 items
  • Listening: 25 items
  • Writing: 25 items
  • Speaking: 25 items
Types of Items: 

TABE CLAS-E has both Selected Response and Constructed Response items on the test.

Development of Items: 

The CLAS-E is built on a solid foundation of research, and provides valid test results. To ensure the validity of the assessment, the test developers reviewed a wide spectrum of current ESL curricula and standards frameworks and gained input from educators in adult ESL programs. Here are highlights of the stages of test development for the assessment.

Content specialists developed items, passages, and stimuli according to test design specifications. Every item was reviewed for accuracy, appropriateness of content, context, and difficulty, as well as for relevance to the adult ESL education curricula. Then items were submitted to a diverse group of ESL education professionals for feedback on language, subject matter, and representation of various populations. Rigorous and systematic procedures were followed to reduce ethnic, racial, gender, regional, disability, and age bias.

Test developers then selected the tryout items. This phase “tests the questions” by having a large group of adult ESL students take a field-test version of the test that contains twice the number of items needed for the final tests. Thousands of adult examinees from various ESL programs across the United States took part in these tryouts.

CTB/McGraw-Hill staff analyzed data from the tryouts to determine the items’ psychometric characteristics, such as difficulty, bias, and contribution to score accuracy. Items were subjected to an empirical procedure called a Differential Item Functioning (DIF) analysis. This procedure uses quantitative methods to determine whether examinees with similar levels of ability have a similar probability of getting the item correct. This process eliminates items that include extraneous or construct-irrelevant information that make them unfairly easier or more difficult for any subgroup. In addition, the level of difficulty of items is determined by the percentage of examinees choosing the correct answer. The next step in this quantitative evaluation is the elimination of the items that do not discriminate well between the abilities of low-achieving and high-achieving students. The final forms of the test were selected by content experts and reviewed by the psychometric staff at CTB/McGraw-Hill. The primary goal was to meet content specifications, and also to eliminate bias and measurement error.

Size of Item Bank: 

TABE CLAS-E has 2 alternate forms (A and B) and 4 levels of difficulty (1-4). The item bank for all forms and levels equals 800 items.


Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking

Alternate Test Forms: 

Form A and Form B are available

Required / Recommended Administrator Training: 

CTB/McGraw-Hill recommends that individuals have appropriate training, professional credentials, or experience in delivering TABE assessments.

Test Administration Procedures: 

Locator Interview and Locator test to place the student at the appropriate level and then deliver the test and score the results.

Scoring - How: 

Local hand scoring or local machine scoring with TestMate TABE CLAS-E software

Scoring - Type: 

Hand scoring with a answer key, stencil, self scoring answer sheet or scanner

Scoring - Who: 

Local scoring

Scoring - How Long: 

Immediate scoring with TestMate TABE CLAS-E software

Reporting Procedures: 

Hand scoring with Individual Diagnostic Profile or Machine scored with scannable answer sheet

Time Needed for Assessment: 

Reading – 25 Minutes
Listening – 20 Minutes
Writing – 20 Minutes (selected response)
Expository Writing – 27 Minutes
Speaking – 15 Minutes

Publisher / Company / Source: 

CTB/McGraw-Hill LLC

Versions & Publication Dates: 

TABE CLAS-E Forms A and B were published in 2007


Audio CD/Listening Locators are $38.95 for 25. The locator tests with CD or cassette are $48.25 for 25. Reusable test books with CD or cassette are $86.70. Replacement test books without CDs or cassettes are $77.25. Writing folios are $27.35. Locator Interview and Answer Booklets and Answer Sheets are $48.25 for 50. Answer Sheet Scoreze Forms are $38.95 for 25.