Test Content for PDQ Profile Series

ETS has taken the definition and frameworks used in our various state, national and international assessments of literacy to create the PDQ (Prose, Document and Quantitative) Profile Series. The series consists of two tests that provide accurate information about an individual's skill at using written and printed information on three literacy scales: prose, document and quantitative. This information can be used to:

  • determine if and where there is a need to improve literacy skills
  • better focus teaching and learning activities
  • compare an individual's results with those obtained in the state, national and international surveys

The PDQ Profile Series has two separate tests: a full-length test and a locator test.

Both tests are only available electronically and consist of real-world tasks and open-ended questions that are automatically scored by the computer. The tests are also adaptive in that they adjust to an individual's level of skill.

Full-length Test

The full-length test consists of a short set of background questions, plus three sets of prose, document and quantitative literacy tasks.

Purpose: This test can be used to provide a profile of an individual's literacy skill or to determine whether skills have improved over time as the result of some intervention.

Test time: About 90 minutes. The test is not timed or speeded. Instead, test takers can work at their own pace within a reasonable period of time.

Scores: On this test, scores are provided in five-point increments, from 0 to 500, along a single literacy scale (prose, document or quantitative) and broken into one of five levels of literacy proficiency.

Scores describe an individual's strengths and weaknesses, with respect to the types of literacy tasks they can perform, and can be used to characterize an individual's performance in terms of national and international results.

Locator Test

The primary differences between the full-length test and the locator test are the number of test items each person receives and the amount of testing time that is required.

Purpose: The locator test provides a general evaluation of an individual's literacy skills in each of the three domains. Because of how it's scored, the locator is not appropriate for pre- and post-testing.

Test time: About 50 to 60 minutes. The test is not timed or speeded. Instead, test takers can work at their own pace within a reasonable period of time.

Scores: Scores are reported in terms of levels rather than score points on the three literacy scales. So, for example, each test taker will receive a profile that indicates whether they are in Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 and higher on each of the three scales.

A score can be used for comparative purposes with information from the state, national and international surveys and to provide general skill information regarding an individual's performance.

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