To assess the literacy skills of the individual you are interviewing, simply ask them to write the answers to the questions that appear on the reverse side of the placement instrument (see the samples in Appendix A.) Encourage the students to write their responses in either English or their native language whichever they find easiest. (You may need interpreters to assess the level of your students' native literacy.) Again, make your students feel comfortable. Repeat the fact that the purpose is only to place the student in an appropriate class. Encourage them to answer as many as possible. NOTE: Be sure that the students write their own answers to the questions on the page. Sometimes the relatives or friends may want to help the student. Obviously this totally defeats the object of the assessment process.
The literacy assessment instrument is not to be used as a diagnostic tool; rather its purpose is to distinguish the literate adult student from the totally non-literate student. ESL curricula for these two very distinct groups must be developed to meet their specific needs.