Score Interpretation

The meaning of scores from language tests derives from the skills assessed in the test and the way the scoring mechanism works. Typically, tests report standard or scaled scores as well as proficiency levels. This is what the ELTiS also does.

Score users can interpret test scores by relating them to something familiar, such as a set of standards that guides their work or a test that they may have used earlier. Score users’ experience with students who score at different levels on any test increases their knowledge and experience of what the scores mean in practice. Sometimes score users are also guided by administrative rules that define acceptable proficiency.

To interpret ELTiS scores, Ballard & Tighe offers the following resources:

ELTiS Proficiency Levels

The ELTiS proficiency levels were developed on the basis of analyzing the skills assessed on the ELTiS test in relation to the ways these skills are described in several proficiency standards, most recently the TESOL standards of English language proficiency. The ELTiS proficiency levels describe an increasing level of ability to deal with comprehension requirements in school contexts. Level 1 is the lowest level, and Level 5 is the highest level. The conversion from ELTiS standard scores to proficiency levels was determined on the basis of a standard setting study with a group of experts representing CSIET members in October 2015.

Click here to see the ELTiS proficiency levels.

Relationships to Standards

From the first steps of test system development, ELTiS was built to correspond to the way language demands are described in English language proficiency standards as well as in school content standards. The original system development included standards analysis as well as analysis of textbooks written to teach the standards, and classroom discourse and tasks that show how these materials are actually used in the classroom. Read more about ELTiS development here.

In the summer of 2015, Ballard & Tighe commissioned a third party alignment to be conducted between the ELTiS and the WIDA standards. The results of the analysis indicated that the ELTiS offered excellent coverage of the WIDA Listening and Reading standards especially on WIDA levels 3-5. The alignment report can be accessed here.

ELTiS-SLEP Equating Study

The ELTiS-SLEP equating study was conducted because CSIET members used to use the SLEP in the process of selecting students for exchange programs before the SLEP was discontinued in 2012. The ELTiS and SLEP are different tests that measure related but distinct constructs. The ELTiS measures students' ability to comprehend school-based language, while the SLEP measures comprehension of spoken and written English in general. The amount of language per test question is larger in ELTiS than SLEP, while the number of test questions is larger in SLEP than ELTiS.

In the fall of 2013, Ballard & Tighe collaborated with CSIET members to complete an equating study between the ELTiS and the SLEP to examine the relationship between scores on the two tests. Because the tests are different, the study may be better thought of as a concordance study. Over 1,000 students from 21 countries participated in the study, and the results showed that the correlation between the two sets of scores was .73 when all students’ scores were considered, whether they took one or both parts of the SLEP as part of the study, and .82 when only students who took the entire SLEP and entire ELTiS were considered. These correlations support the contention that the tests measure related but distinct constructs. The resulting concordance tables estimate comparable scores. These comparable scores have to be interpreted with the understanding that the tests measure slightly different skills, which means that they use a somewhat different basis for deciding who the best-scoring students are. CSIET and Ballard & Tighe advise all stakeholders to begin to rely more exclusively on their own accumulating experience with ELTiS and the scores themselves (as well as the content-based descriptions of the meaning of the scores) rather than a concordance to a discontinued test.

The ELTiS-SLEP tables are based on the group of students who participated in the study by taking both tests, but the results do not necessarily extend in a simple way to all students who take only one of those tests. In other words, a student who receives a score on one test will not necessarily receive the concorded score on the other test. There is individual variation.

Click here to see the ELTiS-SLEP Score Conversion.

ELTiS Score Converter
CSIET Score Interpretation Guidelines

Still have questions about scoring the ELTiS? Contact:

Melissa Cortez
Educational Consultant
+1 (800) 321-4332 x203