BEST Plus Testing Tips

September 10, 2009 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Testing, Volunteers | 1 Comment

The following tips are for those who volunteer at the Literacy Council as Student Assessment Specialists.  These dedicated individuals volunteer once or twice a month at various class sites around Northern Virginia, administering the BEST Plus Oral English Proficiency Test to all students.  These tests help us determine students’ English levels so that we can best serve them.  Interested in learning how to become trained as a Student Assessment Specialist?  Please leave a comment, or e-mail Belle at

1.  Please circle each number clearly when scoring!  We enter each component of the score when calculating the weighted score, and so clearly circling each number is more important than adding them correctly (except on the Locator, when addition is important in determining which section to use).  Also, remember to circle the level (A1, A2, A3, or locator only) on the front of each test booklet.

2.  If a student receives a zero on one of the three components, ALL of the components must be a zero!  It is impossible, for example, to receive a 1 for Listening Comprehension, a 0 for Complexity, and a 0 for Communication.

3. Don’t be reluctant to look at the rubric occasionally!  I know that it’s been awhile since training, so re-familiarizing yourself with what each score indicates is very useful.  In particular, remember that for Communication you are evaluating how clearly the examinee communicates meaning, not accuracy in pronunciation.

4. And most important, remember to be friendly, slow down, and smile!  Many students get severe test anxiety, some to the degree that it makes the testing inaccurate because they freeze up and are unable to demonstrate the English they are capable of.  Greeting the student, smiling, and asking the questions in a friendly way will help relax the student and increase testing accuracy.

Please view this helpful chart for tips on what score to give for certain answers.

If you have any other suggestions of ways to improve the testing experience, as well as increase accuracy, please tell us in the comments!

— Melissa Martin, AmeriCorps instructor alumnus 2008-2009


1 Comment

  1. […] new and returning BEST Plus testers check this blog posting on September 10 about BEST Plus testing tips.  If you are interested in volunteering as a BEST Plus tester, please e-mail […]


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