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ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY


Mainstream English Language Training (MELT) Chart

The MELT chart (Mainstream English Language Training) shows correlations between English as a Second Language (ESL) test score ranges and standardized Student Performance Levels (SPLs) in English language proficiency.

Mainstream English Language Training (MELT) Chart
MELT SPLs BEST Literacy** BEST Oral** BEST Plus** CELSA CASAS ESLOA Level
0 0 0 – 8 329 and below -- 0 – 150 1.75 – 17.54 Pre-Literacy
1 1 – 12 9 – 5 330 – 400 -- 151 – 179 17.55 – 54.37 Literacy
2 13 – 30 16 – 28 401 – 417 0 – 12 180 – 190 54.38 – 78.94 Low Beginning
3 31 – 53 29 – 41 418 – 438 13 – 19 191 – 200 78.95 – 100 Beginning
4 54 – 66 42 – 50 439 – 472 20 – 23 201 – 210 -- High Beginning
5 67 – 71 51 – 57 473 – 506 24 – 29 211 – 220 -- Low Intermediate
6 72 – 74 58 – 64 507 – 540 30 – 41 221 – 235 -- Intermediate
7 75 – 76 65 + 541 – 598 42 – 53 236 – 245 -- High Intermediate
8 78+ -- 599 – 706 54 – 64 246 → -- Low Advanced
9 -- -- 707 – 795 65+   -- Advanced
10 -- -- 796 + --   --  

Acronym Descriptions

MELT (Mainstream English Language Training) Student Performance Levels (SPLs)
Student Performance Levels (SPLs) were developed through the Mainstream English Language Training (MELT) project under the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide teachers in refugee camps with general descriptions of language ability with respect to listening, speaking, reading and writing.

BEST (Basic English Skills Test) Literacy
BEST Literacy is an update of the literacy skills section of the Basic English Skills Test (BEST), and is a competency-based assessment that measures adult English language learners’ ability to read and write in a variety of functional literacy tasks. BEST Literacy is published by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL).

BEST (Basic English Skills Test) Oral
The oral interview section of the Basic English Skills Test (BEST) consisted of a series of simulated real life listening, comprehension and speaking tasks. The oral interview section of the BEST was replaced by BEST Plus. It was retired effective September 30, 2006.

BEST Plus: Oral English Proficiency Assessment for Adults
BEST Plus is a computer-adaptive test for the assessment of the listening and speaking abilities of non-native speakers of English. BEST Plus is developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics.

CELSA (Combined English Language Skills Assessment)
CELSA was developed for the purpose of assessing high school, college, and adult non-native speakers of English for program placement. It consists of two different forms with passages from beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. The forms are equivalent and designed to measure understanding of meaning in a context, as well as grammatical ability. CELSA is published by the Association of Classroom Teacher Testers.

CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems)
CASAS is a widely used system for assessing adult basic reading, math, listening, writing, and speaking skills within a functional context. CASAS is the only adult assessment system of its kind to be approved and validated by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor to assess both native and non-native speakers of English. Further details about the CASAS system are availble from the nonprofit organization's web site.

ESLOA (English As a Second Language Oral Assessment)
ESLOA is an oral assessment to help meet the tutoring needs of entry-level ESL students. The ESLOA test is available from New Readers Press, which is the publishing division of ProLiteracy.