Lesson 5 - Learner Assessment Illinois State Library


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Charlene was referred to a local literacy program by her employer. When she called and spoke to a program representative, she learned that she would need to take an initial test. Charlene became very nervous. She was worried that she wasn't a good reader but to be in the program, she would need to take a reading test. The literacy program representative she met with reassured her, but she was still apprehensive. Once Charlene completed the "tests" she was placed with a tutor. Although Charlene was nervous about the testing - the literacy program was able to help Charlene and her tutor begin the teaching and learning process with the correct instruction.

Questions for consideration as you work through this lesson

What are the initial benefits of testing adult learners before they enter literacy tutoring? What types of testing do literacy programs in Illinois use? Would the student's anxiety impact the testing results?

Key Point

Assessment is a crucial component in teaching and learning. Assessment is a fundamental part of education. There are many ways to make assessment both meaningful and authentic. Good instruction begins with relevant assessment so that appropriate teaching can occur and so that appropriate learning materials can be selected for use. Assessment may also assist in identifying learning differences or barriers. Assessment is an on-going process in which learning gains are recognized, articulated and celebrated.

In order to be an effective tutor, you need to become aware of how both initial assessment and continued learner evaluation is connected to the tutoring process. Furthermore, you need to understand how the learner's fears and anxieties can impact the assessment results.


  1. Why do literacy programs test adult learners?
  2. Why is it essential to pre- and post-test adult learners?