What you need to know about the TABE

Student taking the Test for Adult Basic Education.

The most important thing to know about the TABE is that you cannot fail it. Its purpose is to determine your academic strengths and identify areas in which you need more work. The purpose of preparing for this test is to make sure you remember all you know and give an accurate representation of your abilities when you take the test. This is especially important if you have been away from the school environment for a while.

The TABE is a widely used test for adult learners that has several purposes. Scores from the TABE are often used to determine placement level in adult education programs, such as classes to prepare for GED testing. Many adult education instructors use the TABE results to inform instruction, pinpoint areas where adult learners need additional practice, and monitor the progress of their students. There are also some career training facilities that use the TABE to determine the most appropriate path of training. The basic test assesses skills in reading, language, and mathematics.

You may hear this test referred to as the “TABE 9 & 10.” The numerals 9 and 10 are simply designations for the two different versions of the same test, with the same level of questions. This feature is utilized when a person retakes the same level of the test to determine progress since the last TABE administration.

The TABE test has five levels: Literacy, Easy, Medium, Difficult, and Advanced. These levels are designated on the test by L, E, M, D, and A. A short “Locator” test is administered prior to the actual TABE testing session to determine which level you should take. When you retest on the TABE, you may be tested at the same level, or the test administrator may give you the next higher level to better assess your growth and plan for future studies or training.

As a result of the Locator, or your previous TABE scores, you may be assigned to take different levels of the TABE in each of the three subject tests: Reading, Language, and Math.

Union Test Prep TABE study materials contain various levels of TABE practice, from levels E through A. If you have difficulty with particular skills, contact your adult education personnel for further practice materials.

What are the costs?

Many institutions and facilities administer the TABE at no cost, as part of their adult education or career placement program. At others, there is a charge for each administration, which seems to range between $15 and $25. You will be told if you need to take this test and what the cost will be.

What should I bring?

Your local education agency can be more specific about any items you need to bring to your TABE testing session. Most testing facilities require some sort of photo ID and some utilize a preparation packet that must be filled out and turned in on the day of testing. Additionally, the type of test you take (computer or written) will affect the need for additional supplies, such as pencils. Local officials can also tell you what is not allowed inside the testing room. Prohibited items usually include personal belongings, cell phones, and any sort of books or notes.

What kind of job can I get?

You may have amazing skills and talents that would make you an outstanding employee, but if you don’t have a high school diploma, or its equivalent, no one may ever know your worth. In today’s world, a job applicant who has not completed high school is severely limited in finding a job and becoming self-sufficient. According to the Employment Policies Institute and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for adults without a high school diploma remain largely unaffected by recent economy improvement and dropping unemployment rates. Adults can escape this situation by enrolling in adult education courses in pursuit of a high school equivalency certificate.

Am I eligible?

Your adult education program decides when you are eligible to take, or retake, a TABE test. There is a time lapse required between administrations of the same TABE level, but you might be asked to take a higher level soon after scoring well on your present TABE level.

Why does it matter?

TABE testing is a very useful tool in adult education. The scores can help educators place you in the appropriate level of instruction, one that is neither too easy nor too difficult. This helps you to make the best use of the time you spend pursuing your high school diploma. If tested as part of a career training program, once enrolled in an adult education program, instructors may use TABE scores to adjust your instruction as you gain knowledge and skills. The TABE test has been shown to be a valid means of predicting readiness for GED testing. Additionally, TABE results can help to find the career path that is most in line with your skills and abilities.

What salary can I expect?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that U.S. workers who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency earn only 57% of a high school graduate’s salary. This means that, by earning a high school diploma or equivalency, you can raise your earning potential by 43%, nearly half. By continuing your education past the high school level, your earning potential is boosted with each step. Simply getting an associate’s degree could mean another 22% rise in earning power. That means you can achieve a 65% increase in earning potential from getting a high school diploma and associate’s degree.

When is it available?

There are specific guidelines concerning where, and by whom, the TABE can be administered, so there are probably specific dates and times that you can take it in your area. Local officials can give you this information.

Tips & Tricks

Whatever your previous school experience was like, you can succeed now! There are excellent adult education programs available all over the world that specialize in teaching people of all ages. You’re never too old or young to go for that high school diploma and assessing your skills with the TABE can be a positive first step!

Time Allowed

The “Locator” test, which is used to determine appropriate TABE test level, can take about an hour. Administration time for the actual TABE test runs about 3 hours. There is a shorter version called the “Survey,” which can be completed in about 1 ½ hours. TABE also offers subject area tests on an advanced level that may be used to assess GED test readiness. These advanced tests, if given, would take additional time.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!