The Tests of Adult Basic Education -- commonly known as the TABE -- are a group of tests used to assess reading, mathematics and language skills. All the tests consist of multiple choice questions -- you cannot fail the TABE, as they only measure what you can do and will show you where you can improve the most. By knowing more about the TABE, you can be better prepared to take them.
The Locator Test
The locator test is the first test you will take. The score from this test is used to determine what level of tests to give you next. It takes roughly 30 minutes to write and has questions from all five levels in three core skill areas. This means there will likely be questions you cannot answer. If you cannot answer a question on this test, it's best to just move on and not guess. If you guess, you might find that the next tests you're given are too difficult for you, and your scores will be very low.
The Core Battery of Tests
You might be really strong at mathematics but struggle with language. This means your TABE might have an advanced-level test in mathematics and an easy-level test for literacy -- this is normal, so don't worry. These next tests will measure your ability in reading, math and language. Your scores from these tests will be used to determine your study plan. After you have completed your classroom studies, you will take the TABE again to see how much you have progressed.
Every state has different requirements for the numbers of hours of classroom instruction required based on your TABE scores. After you have completed the number of classroom hours required by your state, you will take the TABE again. If your classroom instructor thinks you've made good progress, or if your initial TABE scores were already close to the next range, you might be given a different level of difficulty after you have completed your classroom instruction.
Advice for Taking the TABE
All of the TABE have multiple-choice questions. This means you can often eliminate some of the possible answers right away and focus on the remaining choices to give you a better chance of choosing the correct answer. Since each of the tests is timed, you need to make sure you don't spend too long trying to answer one question. It's also a good idea to do practice questions for the TABE to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you use your class time more efficiently.
Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, Josh Hawthorne has been writing curriculum and digital project guides since 1998. He holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Victoria. Hawthorne freely admits he loves reading zombie literature and is currently working on a book about error correction for students learning English (without zombies).