Posted Date: June 24, 2015

Author:  Jeff Baker, Director, Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Approved Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) tests

This Electronic Announcement provides a listing of ability-to-benefit (ATB) tests that are approved for determining, under the limited circumstances which are described in Dear Colleague Letters GEN-15-09 and GEN-12-09, the Title IV, HEA federal student aid eligibility of students who do not have a high school diploma, the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, or who have not completed secondary school education in a homeschool setting. The listing includes four newly approved ATB tests and two ATB tests that continue to be approved. This announcement also includes a listing of six tests that are no longer approved for use as ATB tests. Finally, this announcement shows the passing scores for each of the ATB tests and the effective dates when the tests can be used for Title IV student eligibility purposes.

Newly Approved ATB Tests - The four ATB tests listed below may be used to establish Title IV, HEA eligibility for students who do not have a high school diploma, its recognized equivalent, or who have not completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting. Applicable effective dates, passing scores, and test publisher contact information are provided.

  1. Test: Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST) Verbal Forms VS-1 & VS-2
    Quantitative Forms QS-1 & QS-2. This is a paper and pencil test.
    Effective Date: July 1, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Verbal (200), Quantitative (210).
    Publisher: Wonderlic, Inc., 400 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 200, Vernon Hills, IL 60061.
    Contact: Mr. Chris Young.
    Telephone: (847) 247-2544, Fax (847) 680-9492.

  2. Test: Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST) Verbal Forms VS-1 & VS-2
    Quantitative Forms QS-1 & QS-2. This is an online version of the tests.
    Effective Date: July 1, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Verbal (200), Quantitative (210).
    Publisher: Wonderlic, Inc., 400 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 200, Vernon Hills, IL 60061.
    Contact: Mr. Chris Young.
    Telephone: (847) 247-2544, Fax (847) 680-9492.

  3. Test: Spanish Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (Spanish WBST) Verbal Forms VS-1 & VS-2
    Quantitative Forms QS-1 & QS-2. This is a paper and pencil test.
    Effective Date: July 1, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Verbal (200), Quantitative (200).
    Publisher: Wonderlic, Inc., 400 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 200, Vernon Hills, IL 60061.
    Contact: Mr. Chris Young.
    Telephone: (847) 247-2544, Fax (847) 680-9492.

  4. Test: Spanish Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (Spanish WBST) Verbal Forms VS-1 & VS-2
    Quantitative Forms QS-1 & QS-2. This is an online version of the tests.
    Effective Date: July 1, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Verbal (200), Quantitative (200).
    Publisher: Wonderlic, Inc., 400 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 200, Vernon Hills, IL 60061.
    Contact: Mr. Chris Young.
    Telephone: (847) 247-2544, Fax (847) 680-9492.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR STUDENTS WHOSE NATIVE LANGUAGE IS SPANISH: Dear Colleague Letter GEN-11-08, published on March 25, 2011, noted that when there are no approved ATB test for students whose native language is not English and who are not fluent in English, the regulations permitted the use of any test in the student’s native language, as long as the test had not been rejected by the Department. Now that there are two approved Spanish ATB tests, effective November 1, 2015, only those two Spanish ATB tests are permitted for Title IV ability to benefit purposes. We are providing the period of time from the date of this publication until October 31, 2015 for institutions to make the transition to one of the now approved Spanish tests. Institutions are encouraged to make the transition to the new eligible tests as soon as possible, but no later than November 1, 2015. However, the guidance in GEN-11-08 remains applicable for students whose native language is neither English nor Spanish.

ATB Tests that Continue to be Approved - The two ATB tests listed below continue to be approved and may be used to establish Title IV, HEA eligibility for students who do not have a high school diploma, its recognized equivalent, or who have not completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting. The applicable effective dates, passing scores, and test publisher contact information are provided.

  1. Test: Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA), Forms 1 and 2
    Effective Date: November 1, 2002.
    Passing Scores: CELSA Form 1 (97) and CELSA Form 2 (97).
    Publisher: Association of Classroom Teacher Testers (ACCT)
    1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1, #378, Montecito, CA 93108.
    Contact: Pablo Buckelew.
    Telephone: (805) 965-5704, Fax (805) 965-5807.

    Note: The CELSA test is approved as provided in 34 CFR 668.153(a)(2) as the additional ATB English language proficiency test that must be taken by students whose native language is not English and who are not fluent in English if the academic program includes an English as a Second Language (ESL) component.

  2. Test: ACCUPLACER (Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills, and Arithmetic)
    Effective Date: November 1, 2002.
    Passing Scores: Reading Comprehension (55), Sentence Skills (60), and Arithmetic (34).
    Publisher: The College Board, 250 Vesey Street, New York, New York 10281.
    Contact: ACCUPLACER Program.
    Telephone: (800) 607-5223, Fax (212) 253-4061.

ATB Tests No Longer Approved - The following six tests are no longer approved for the purpose of determining students’ Title IV, HEA eligibility. Please note the effective dates for each test.

  1. Test: The ACT Career Programs Assessment test (CPAt), Forms B and C
    Effective Dates: November 1, 2002 through June 30, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Language Usage (42), Reading (43), and Numerical (41).
    Publisher: ACT, Inc., 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168.
    Contact: Joanna Higgins-Freese.
    Telephone: (319) 337-1618.

  2. Test: The ACT WorkKeys test
    Reading for Information – Forms A01AA, A02AA, C01AA, & D10AA.
    Applied Mathematic – Forms A01BB, A02BB, C01BB, & D01BB.
    Effective Dates: May 19, 2006 through June 30, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Reading for Information Forms A01AA (76), A02AA (75), C01AA (77), & D10AA (77);
    Applied Mathematics Forms A01BB (73), A02BB (74), C01BB (73), & D01BB (73).
    Publisher: ACT, Inc., 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168.
    Contact: Joanna Higgins-Freese.
    Telephone: (319) 337-1618.

  3. Test: The College Board DTLS and DTMS Forms M-K-3KDT and M-K-3LDT tests
    Effective Dates: November 1, 2002 through April 27, 2007.
    Passing Scores: Reading Comprehension (108), Sentence Structure (9),
    Conventions of Written English (309), and Arithmetic (506).
    Publisher: The College Board, 250 Vesey Street, New York, New York 10281.
    Contact: ACCUPLACER Program.
    Telephone: (800) 607-5223, Fax (212) 253-4061.

  4. Test: ASSET: Basic Skills Test (Reading, Writing, and Numerical) - Forms B2, C2, D2, and E2
    Effective Dates: November 1, 2002 through October 31, 2015.
    Passing Scores: Reading (35), Writing (35), and Numerical (33).
    Publisher: ACT, Inc., 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168.
    Contact: Joanna Higgins-Freese.
    Telephone: (319)-337-1618.

  5. Test: COMPASS Subtests: Prealgebra/Numerical Skills
    Passing Scores: Prealgebra/Numerical (25), Reading (62), and Writing (32).
    Effective Dates: November 1, 2002 through October 31, 2015.
    Publisher: ACT, Inc., 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168.
    Contact: Joanna Higgins-Freese.
    Telephone: (319) 337-1618.

  6. Test: COMPASS ESL:
    Passing Scores: Grammar/Usage (64), Reading (70), and Listening (70).
    Effective Dates: May 19, 2006 through October 31, 2015.
    Publisher: ACT, Inc., 500 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243-0168.
    Contact: Joanna Higgins-Freese.
    Telephone: (319) 337-1618.

    Note The COMPASS/ESL test is approved, as provided in 34 CFR 668.153(a)(2), as the additional ATB English language proficiency test that must be taken by students whose native language is not English and who are not fluent in English if the academic program includes an English as a Second Language (ESL) component.

Other Recent ATB Guidance - Institutions are reminded that Dear Colleague Letter GEN-15-09, published on May 22, 2015, clarifies the changes made by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 for students without a high school diploma (or its recognized equivalent) or who did not successfully complete a secondary school education in a homeschool setting, to be eligible for Title IV, HEA student assistance through ability to benefit (ATB) alternatives, if the student is enrolled in an “eligible career pathway program”. That letter also provides information on “grandfathered students” first explained in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-12-09.

Please direct questions about this Electronic Announcement to Dan Klock at 202-377-4026 or via email at dan.klock@ed.gov.

   

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