About Read Forward

The Centre for Excellence in Foundational Learning (CEFL) at Bow Valley College promotes critical inquiry, applied research and innovation in the field of foundational learning (adult literacy, basic education, upgrading and essential skills). CEFL along with community partners developed an adult reading assessment resource, informally referenced to the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and aligned with the Alberta Reading Benchmarks.

Read Forward is a low-stakes assessment of reading skills for adults, helpful in identifying both the reading skills adult learners have gained and the skills they can build. It is made up of 30 reading tests: there are 6 different levels of reading skills and each level has 5 tests. These paper-and-pencil tests each take one hour or less to write.

This tool is designed to compliment your reading or language course in programs such as literacy, basic education, upgrading, GED, apprenticeship, essential skills, workplace and college, and to integrate easily into the curriculum for this variety of programs.

Read Forward is aligned to the Alberta Reading Benchmarks (ARB) which are a set of provincial standards that measure reading skills for adults. The ARB describes what readers know and can do at successive levels as they develop and expand their reading capacity. The Read Forward reading skills levels are the same levels developed for the ARB which in turn are loosely referenced to the first three levels of IALS and informed by the IALS theoretical framework.

Read Forward and the ARB are compatible measures for reading skills and we encourage you to consider using them together. Use Read Forward to assess reading skills. Then access the tools on the ARB website to support reading instruction for the unique set of reading skills at each Read Forward level. As part of an instructional approach, the ARB will help to identify level-appropriate reading materials, create skill-based learning plans, access practical teaching strategies and more.

For more information on ARB, visit http://www.arbforadults.ca/



Read Forward is the result of a project undertaken by community partners and Bow Valley College’s Centre for Excellence in Foundational Learning.

Advisory team

For more information please see the Acknowledgements page in the User Guide.