Did you know?

Learner assessment occurs at multiple points through the instructional process.

It takes place:

  • At the beginning of a program to clarify the goals of learning and set a baseline
  • Continues throughout the program to inform instruction and content
  • And is repeated at the end of the program to reflect on learner progress and
    provide information for instructional and program modifications.


The Alberta Reading Benchmarks provide two methods of evaluation
which are aligned to the benchmarks.


Low Stakes Informal Assessment

The Alberta Reading Benchmarks can be used for low stakes informal, formative and summative assessment.

Use your knowledge of the ARB as a standard point of reference for comparing or assessing your learners’ skills. The ARB will give you information on what reading tasks, decoding skills and reading vocabulary a learner should be able to use to get information from text at a described level.


Have a look at the Alberta Reading Benchmarks Levels Chart for a general overview of the benchmarks.


Each ARB level also has examples of level appropriate tasks and sample texts. Go to Level 2A for an example of using the reading tasks (pg. 23 of ARB). A sample of a diagnostic review of a learner’s reading skills is provided here to show you how to quickly place a learner within the benchmarks.


Once you have an approximate placement for your learner, you can use the ARB to help you develop your curriculum and help you select appropriate materials to use with your learners. (A Starter List of Materials for ARB Levels 1A to 2B and How to Benchmark Materials to the ARB). Then use your knowledge of the ARB to target specific reading tasks for each benchmark level.



Ready to Use Reading Assessment

Another type of assessment that is also low stakes and informal and can be used for both formative and summative assessment is Read Forward. Read Forward is a series of easy-to-use adult reading tests. Like the Alberta Reading Benchmarks it is referenced to the International Adult Literacy Survey. By using Read Forward as an assessment you will know where your learners’ begin in the Alberta Reading Benchmarks and you will have a base line to compare further learning and growth. You will also be able to identify specific reading tasks to focus on.


Read Forward contains:

  • 30 Tests
  • Answer Keys
  • Locator Tests
  • Results Feedback forms
  • User Guide


These paper-and-pencil tests take one hour or less to write and integrate easily into the curriculum for a variety of programs including literacy, basic education, vocational, essential skills, upgrading, GED, workplace and college.


The series uses familiar texts that reflect where everyday reading takes place: in the home, the community and the workplace. It is divided into 6 successive segments, based on skill development, and contains 5 different tests for each segment.