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RehabMeasures Instrument

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  • The Adult Basic Learning Examination (ABLE) is designed to measure vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, language, and arithmetic (number operations and problem solving) for adults who have not completed the eighth grade.
  • There are two forms of the ABLE. Level I purports to cover Grades 1-4 and two forms at Level II which purport to measure basic academic skills at Grades 5-8.
  • The score format for the test is either hand or machine scored. In deference to adults with low reading skills, the vocabulary test requires no reading at all.

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Instrument Details

Acronym ABLE

Area of Assessment

Attention & Working Memory
Reading Comprehension

Assessment Type

Performance Measure

Administration Mode

Paper & Pencil


Not Free

Actual Cost


Key Descriptions

  • The ABLE is intended to measure the educational achievement of adults who may or may not have completed twelve years of education, particularly those who have not completed the 8th grade.
  • It may be useful in designing remediation plans in an effort to raise the educational level of these adults.

Number of Items


Equipment Required

  • Paper & Pencil for Standard Administration
  • Computer, Keyboard, & Mouse for Computer Administration

Time to Administer

60 minutes

60 minutes or more

Required Training

No Training

Age Ranges


18 - 64


Instrument Reviewers

Initially reviewed by Timothy P. Janikowski, PhD and his University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s students, Joseph Kemp and Christopher Bragg.

ICF Domain


Measurement Domain



The ABLE is best used with adults with limited or marginal education who wish to explore remedial educational planning.

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Non-Specific Patient Population

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Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

The standard errors of measurement in raw scores reflect a range from 2.7 in arithmetic computation to 4.3 in total arithmetic for both groups on Form A. The standard error of measurement in raw scores range from 2.8 on arithmetic computation to 4.4 on total arithmetic for the adult group on test Form B (Turner, 1978).

Normative Data

4000 adults sampled from 41 states

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Correlations with other instruments were reported by Turner (1978):

  • Excellent correlation between ABLE Reading and SAT Reading by 10th grade subjects (r = .71)
  • Excellent correlation between ABLE Spelling and SAT Spelling by 10th grade subjects (r = .85)
  • Excellent correlation between ABLE Vocabulary and SAT Reading adults (r = .62)
  • Excellent correlation between ABLE Spelling and SAT Spelling (r = .78)

Content Validity

The ABLE’s content and format are oriented for adults and can be used for the measurement of academic achievement levels as low as the 1st grade (Hall, 1968).


Hall, J.W. (1968). Review of the Adult Basic Learning Examination. Journal of Educational Measurement, 5(3), 271-274. Article available from:

Sticht, T.G. (1990). Testing and assessment in adult basic education and English as a second language programs. ERIC Document ED317867. Available from

Turner, H.R. (1978). Test prediction: A study of the relationships between Adult Basic Learning Examination scores and air force occupational course examination results. Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text (302883185). Retrieved from