An on-line national survey of student assessment in adult basic education programs was conducted to gather information on assessment tools, procedures, and practices; professional development, and critical issues. A total of 480 educators who worked in adult literacy and basic education programs sponsored by colleges, school boards, community-based agencies, and workplaces were contacted to complete the survey. Of the 480 educators, 400 completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 79 percent. In general, the participants were mature, female, well-educated program coordinators.
The findings indicate that the respondents use 26 different types of commercial instruments to assess literacy, numeracy, and/or essential skills. Of the 26 instruments, only three are current instruments developed within the past decade for use at the national level with the adult Canadian population. This suggests that practitioners ' options are limited if they want to use a current test with Canadian content that is suitable for adults. The respondents described the types of instruments they would like to see developed in the future.
The adult literacy and basic education community would benefit from the development of new instruments to assess the adult student population. Prior to investing in the development of these tools, governments should establish a national committee to determine standards for test development.
The government should target funding towards the development of user-friendly, culturally relevant diagnostic tools that provide a comprehensive assessment of: