Language Assessment Scales
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About Language Assessment Scales
The Language Assessment Scale ReadingIWriting (LAS RIW) is a battery of competency tests for reading and writing skills designed to aide entry and exit criteria decisions for students in English language learner programs. The LAS R/W examiner’s manual described the LAS as a measure of English language skills in reading and writing rather than a pure achievement test, published by CTB Macmillan McGraw-Hill (Duncan & DeAvila, 1988). Further, the LAS WW may be combined with the LAS Oral to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of English proficiency.
The LAS WW includes seven subscales measuring separate aspects of reading and writing. They include multiple-choice items measuring various aspects of reading, including mechanics and usage, vocabulary, and fluency and comprehension. The LAS writing measure includes two to three measures of sentence completion, sentence writing, and essay writing. Scoring for the multiple-choice items is clear; however, scoring for writing subscales involves examinerjudgment using a 4-point rating scale.
Scoring is completed using instructions and charts from the manual. After raw scores are obtained for each subscale, a standardized score can be derived using the appropriate tables for the reading section, writing section, and the combined total. Standardized scores are then converted to competency levels and categories. Competency level 1 is equivalent to low levels of reading and writing skills. Students who achieve competency level 1 score are considered to be in the non-reader or non-writer categories. Competency level 2 is equivalent to mid-level reading and writing skills, and competency level 2 students are considered to be in the limited reader or limited writer categories. Competent readers and writers receive competency level 3 scores, meaning the student’s skills are equivalent to those of mainstream students achieving at or above the 4othpercentile on a nationally-normed test (Duncan & DeAvila, 1988).
The LAS is divided into three levels corresponding to grade placement. Form 1 is appropriate for grades 2 and 3, Form 2 is appropriate for grades 4 to 6, and Form 3 is appropriate for grades 7 to 9+ (Duncan & DeAvila, 1988). Each form includes two parallel versions, Form A and Form B. Form 3 includes ten multiple-choice items each in the areas of synonyms, fluency, and antonyms. Fifteen multiple-choice items measure mechanics and usage, and ten multiple-choice items measure reading for information. For writing, five graphic prompts are provided to elicit one sentence per prompt, and one graphic prompt is provided to elicit a written essay. For the purposes of this study, raw scores, standard scores, and competency levels were collected for both the reading and writing sections of the LAS.