7/31/2023: Please see updated Basic Skills Screening Tool. The new version now asks for the last 4 of the SSN. DOB has been removed.
This Procedure augments the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) policy, section 5.9 on how to assess basic skills for WIOA eligibility and training suitability. Please read the DCEO full policy in addition to this procedure. To access the DCEO policy:
- Go to the WIOA Works Policy portal: https://apps.illinoisworknet.com/WIOAPolicy/Policy/Print
- Make sure you are on the “Print” tab.
- Click on the “>” symbol next to “Chapter 5. Program Eligibility” to expand the sections.
- Check the box next to section 5.9-Basic Skills Deficiency Assessment Requirements
- Click the “Print” icon and print to a pdf.
- To access the attachments to the policy, go to the “ePolicy Chapters and Sections” tab and click on the 5.9 link. Use the right-had menus to expand and access Technical Assistance Resources, Policy/References, Attachments, and Forms.
This procedure covers how to use and document Basic Skills Assessments for eligibility and training suitability for Adult and Dislocated Workers in Career Connect. It updates, combines, and replaces the following procedures:
- Basic Skills Assessment,
- Educational Functioning Level for Measurable Skills Gain (Literacy/Numeracy), and
- Language for English Language Learner
This procedure It is divided into 3 sections:
- Section 1: Basic Skills Assessment Requirements, including:
- Basic Skills Screening Tool
- Testing Exceptions for Youth
- Training Assessments and Justification
- Section 2: How to Enter Educational Functional Level (EFL) Test Scores
- Section 3: Documenting an English Language Learner (ELL)
SECTION 1: BASIC SKILLS ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS
A. Basic Skills Screening Tool
The Basic Skills Screening Tool is required at intake for all WIOA applicants, unless they have:
- have an Associate Degree or higher at WIOA enrollment, or
- within the last year, have taken a Post-Secondary Entrance/Placement Exam for the school they plan to attend with scores that do not require developmental or remedial courses.
Applicants that answer “No” to any of the questions on the tool (including being a high school drop-out) should be considered basic skills deficient (BSD) for the purposes of eligibility / priority of service only. (The screening tool cannot be used for Training Certification or to determine a measurable skills gain.)
All Adult/DW participants determined BSD based on the screening tool must either be:
- referred for adult basic education services (as documented in the IEP and case notes); or
- further assessed using the TABE 11-12, CASAS Goals or an approved ELL test to determine their educational needs.
Adult/DW participants who are not BSD based on the screen tool and who can meet their career goals without enrolling in training-level services (as documented in the IEP based on the objective assessment and career exploration) do not need to take further adult basic education (ABE) or ELL tests.
In Career Connect:
1) If the individual is considered basic skills deficient based on the Screening Tool and ABE/ELL tests are not yet available, on the Barriers screen of the WIOA Application, set Basic Skills Deficient to “Yes”, and select “Completed, signed and dated Basic Skills Screening Tool” as the verification.
2) If the client is not considered basic skills deficient based on the tool but is considered basic skills deficient based on test scores, record test scores and basic skills deficiency based on the instructions in Section 2 of this Procedure.
3) If the client is not considered basic skills deficient based either the tool or test scores, set “Basic Skills Deficient” to “No” and do not verify.
4) For all applicants who were assessed based on the tool, add a Case Note using the template as follows:
a) Click on “Add a new Case Note.”
b) Select Case Note Template called “BSD Assessed with Screening Tool (Revised)”.
c) Scroll down and add the date and select the Office Location and Contact Type. Everything else in this section will be pre-populated.
d) Next make the following edits to the Case Note Description and click SAVE when finished.
• Date of the Screening Tool
• Have OR Have not
NOTE: If the client is basic skills deficient, the IEP/ISS must include how the individual’s deficiency will be addressed.
5) Place a completed, signed copy of the Basic Skills Screening Tool in the individual’s file.
B. Training Justification
All Adult/DW participants who will be receiving training-level services, including Work Experience, On-the-Job Training, or an Individual Training Account (ITA), must be assessed for training suitability prior to certifying for and enrolling in training.
The Individual Employment Plan (IEP)/Individual Service Strategy (ISS) alone is not considered a comprehensive assessment.
Training suitability assessment must include:
- Information obtained from the Career Connect Objective Assessment Summary (OAS), which must be completed before the IEP/ISS.
- Literacy / Numeracy tests using one of the approved tests listed in the DCEO policy (unless the participant meets one of the exceptions listed in the “Training Certification” section below).
- Skills Inventory Worksheet (SIW - available as an attachment at: https://workforceboard.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360046803691)
Additionally, the following tools and assessments may be used for ITA training suitability and justification:
- Prove It, Aztec and/or another assessment method your agency currently subscribes to.
- Conducting other assessments that demonstrate vocational skills, career aptitudes and interests, and suitability for the chosen training program located in Illinois workNet, Career Connect, or careeronestop.org
Training Suitability for all participants must be documented in a case note as follows:
Case Note Subject Line: “Training Justification.”
The case note must include:
- The mechanisms used to evaluate and identify the participant’s employment goal, appropriate objectives, and the needed combination of services to address their barriers, as reflected in the IEP/ISS and OAS.
- Job readiness, career exploration testing, and assessment of the participant’s aptitude and interests related to the selected training program.
- If the participant has an associate degree or above; passed the school entrance/placement exam which is related to the program description in Illinois workNet; or is only going to participate in an OJT, Customized Training, or Work Experience, include this in the case note. (You still need to explain why the participant is suitable for the specified training program.)
C. Training Certification
Prior to completing the Training Certification screen in the WIOA Application > State Specific page, staff must enter a reading and a math assessment from an approved testing instrument on the Educational Functional Level for Measurable Skills Gain screen as described in Section 2 of this document.
Testing is not required for participants who meet one of the following exceptions:
- have an Associate Degree or higher at WIOA enrollment;
- have taken a Post-secondary Entrance/Placement exam (as defined below)*;
- the training program does not require a math test (a reading test is still required); or
- the customer is enrolling in On-the-Job Training, Work Experience, or Customized Training.
Instead use the “Other Assessment Methods” field on the WIOA Application State Specific Tab to record the testing exception.
In Career Connect, in order to complete the Training Certification for Adults and Dislocated Workers that meet one of the above testing exceptions:
1. If the training program does not require a Math test, enter a Reading test on the EFL screen. If the reading test indicates that the participant is basic skills deficient, record it as a barrier on the Barriers page of the WIOA application and indicated in the IEP how the individual’s deficiency will be addressed.
2. On the State Specific screen of the WIOA Application, scroll down to the WIOA Training Criteria (Adults and Dislocated Workers) Section. As appropriate, select from the “Other Assessment Method” drop down menu:
- College Graduate,
- College Placement Test*,
- Training Program does not require Math test, or
- Enrolling in OJT/WEX/Customized Training.
3. Complete the rest of the Training Certification screen as usual to certify the customer for training.
4. Add a Case Note with the subject “Assessment Exception” and include which “Other Assessment” option was used and why.
5. For College Graduate or College Placement test maintain a copy of the degree and or placement test in the individual’s file.
*For “College Placement Test” Adults and Dislocated Workers must have taken a post-secondary entrance/placement exam within the last year for the post-secondary institution that they intend to attend and passed with scores that do not need developmental or remedial courses in their chosen area of study.
If the customer does not meet one of the above exceptions, then a Reading and a Math test must be entered on the EFL screen (see Section 2 below), and staff will select “Not Applicable” for “Other Assessment Method”.
Enter the “Comprehensive Assessment for Training Suitability” case note described above.
SECTION 2: HOW TO ENTER TEST SCORES
If valid Adult Basic Education or English Language Acquisition test scores are available and are dated within 6 months of eligibility or within one year of the training start date, please follow these steps below.
- Pre-tests should be entered after the WIOA Application is completed, but before the Participation/First Service is entered.
- The Date of Pre-Test can be up to 6 months before the WIOA Eligibility Date, and up to one year before the Actual Begin Date of the first training-level service.)
- Go to Case Management Profile > Programs > WIOA and click the (+) to expand the Educational Functioning Level for Measurable Skills Gain bar. Click on the “Create Educational Functioning Level Record” link.
2. Data in the General Information section will be pre-filled.
3. In the Pre-Test section, add the Pre-Test date – the exact date that the test was administered. The date cannot be more than 6 months prior to the WIOA eligibility date or 1 year prior to the Actual Start Date of the first training service.
4. Select the Assessment Category:
• ABE = Adult Basic Education
• ESL = English as a Second Language
5. Select the Type of Assessment.
The only Type of Assessments that are accepted by the State of Illinois are:
- ESL Assessments (not pictured)
- BEST Literacy,
- BEST Plus 2.0
- CASAS Life and Work Reading
- ABE Assessments (pictured below)
- CASAS Reading and Math GOALS
- TABE 11-12
6. Select the Functional Area:
7. If TABE 11-12 is selected as the Type of Assessment, enter the Assessment Form/Version as follows. Note that although this is not marked as a required field on the screen, the state requires the Form/Version for TABE 11-12.
- L for Literacy
- E for Easy
- M for Medium
- D for Difficult
- A for Advanced
8. Add the Pre-Test score (also referred to as the Scale Score). The system will automatically calculate the Educational Functioning Level and whether the score reflects Basic Skills deficient, based on the test score.
9. Add the Pre-test Grade Level. Even though this field is not required on the screen, it is required by the state and impacts how basic-skills deficient is set in IWDS (the state WIOA system of record).
For TABE 11-12 and CASAS Goals tests, use the Grade Range Scale Score Guidance provided in Appendix A and Appendix B below to translate the Scale Score into a Grade. Enter the grade as a whole number (no decimal point). For example, if the customer is reading at a ninth-grade level enter the grade level as 9.
10. Scroll to the bottom of the screen & click “Save”.
Entering Post Tests
To enter a Post-Test:
1. Click an existing assessment link within the Educational Functioning Level Record to access the screen to add a Post-test.
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Create Post Assessment Record” link.
3. In the expanded Post Assessment area, the Test Type, Assessment Category, and Type of Assessment will be pre-filled based on the Pre-Test. NOTE that the Post-test Assessment Type and Assessment Form/Version must be the same as the Pre-Test.
4. Enter the:
- Assessment Form/Version (required by DCEO for TABE 11/12),
- Date Assessed,
- Post Test Score (scale score), and
- Grade Level (or the EFL increase will not be picked up in IWDS)
The system will automatically set the Education Functioning Level and indicate if the participant remains deficient in basic skills based on the score.
5. Click on “SAVE” to secure your edits.
6. A Participant who is below post-secondary grade level at program entry and achieves a gain of at least one EFL on an acceptable Adult Basic Education (ABE) or English as a Second Language (ESL) post-test, will earn an EFL Measurable Skills Gain. Please see the Measurable Skills Grain (MSG) procedure for more information on which participants are included in the MSG measure and instructions on running MSG reports to see EFL gains.
SECTION 3: ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER
DCEO requires the language when “English Language Learner” is selected as a barrier in the WIOA application. In Career Connect, the primary language question is in the General Profile. To record primary language for English Language Learners in Career Connect, follow the steps below.
Primary Language is set in the My Individual Profile > Personal Profile > General Information > Ethnic Origin section.
English Language Learner is set in the WIOA Application > Barriers tab.
Steps for Recording Language
Step 1: Add the primary language spoken in the General Profile BEFORE completing the WIOA Application. You can either add it when creating the customer registration or by editing the General Information section of the existing Personal Profile.
Step 2: In the “Ethnic Origin” section of the General Information, select “Yes” for “Do you primarily speak a language other than English?” This will cause the follow-up questions to display.
Step 3: Record the primary language spoken in “What is that language?” Answer the other follow-up questions as appropriate.
Step 4: If you are editing the General Information, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save”.
Step 5: Once you have added the language in the profile, complete the WIOA Application as you normally would. On the Barriers page of the Application, select “Yes” for “English Language Learner” and select the appropriate verification documentation.
Step 6: Once the Career Connect application is completed, it will transmit to IWDS along with the language specified in the personal profile.
What if I add the language AFTER completing the WIOA Application?
It is best to add the Language to the General Profile BEFORE completing the WIOA Application. However, if you add the Language in the General Profile AFTER completing the WIOA Application, you must re-save the WIOA Application in order for the Language to transmit to IWDS. To resave:
Step 1: Go to the WIOA Application and click on the “Pencil” icon to edit the application.
Step 2: Use the top navigation bar/tabs of the application to go to the “Barriers” tab. Then click “Next” at the bottom of the screen. DO NOT MAKE ANY EDITS.
Step 3: Use the top navigation bar/tabs to go to the “Eligibility and Grants” screen. Click “Finish” at the bottom of the screen.
Step 4: If you have access to IWDS, we recommend checking that the data transmits to the IWDS WIOA Application > Characteristics & Barriers screen. It takes approximately 10 minutes for data to transfer. If your data does not transmit, please email the help desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include the customer name, customer State ID, and a description of what data is not transmitting.
APPENDIX A – TABE 11-12 GRADE RANGE & SCALE SCORE GUIDANCE
To help programs and agencies transition from Grade Equivalent scores to Scale Scores, DRChas provided the following TABE 11&12 Scale Score guidance.
The information below is intended to help programs that previously used Grade
Equivalent scores to identify appropriate Scale Scores or Scale Score ranges as the programs transition to TABE 11&12. TABE 11&12 Scale Scores will continue to be used to track educational gains under the U.S. Department of Education’s National Reporting System (NRS). Other uses of TABE 11&12 Scale Scores, such as acceptance into a program, hiring, or promotion, are at the discretion of state or local agencies.
Please note: each form of TABE 11&12 assesses only for a specific range of NRS levels and grade levels. No one TABE test assesses for all levels of the test. Refer to the column titled Test Forms Assessing Each Grade Level for more information.
APPENDIX B – CASAS READING GOALS & MATH GOALS GRADE RANGE & SCALE SCORE GUIDANCE
For WIOA Title I Funded Agencies and Youth Providers
CASAS recommends agencies use grade level information only for administrative purposes when state or federal regulations call for a grade level.
CASAS Goals ABE Reading Scores by EFLs and Grade Level Equivalents (GLEs) for WIOA Title I
CASAS Goals ABE Math Scores by EFLs and Grade Level Equivalents (GLEs) for WIOA Title I
Adapted from the amended DOL‐only Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL) ETA #9172 and the Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 10‐16 Change 1 published August 23, 2017 developed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL) and Education (ED) (the Departments).