TOWES (Test of Workplace Essential Skills)

TOWES is an assessment of Literacy and Essential Skills. It focuses on the skills of: Reading Text, Document Use and Numeracy. The paper-based TOWES assessment takes about 2.5 hours to complete and presumes some reading proficiency on the part of the test-taker. The paper-based tools are applicable to both high stakes situations (i.e., the test taker’s opportunities related to work or entrance into training will be affected by the results of the test) and low stakes situations (i.e., the test will determine if the test taker could benefit from ES programs).
The web-based tools expand on TOWES access by providing assessments suited to a broader spectrum of test-takers, including Aboriginal test-takers who may be in remote, rural, on or off reserve locations. Web-based tools are, at this time, applicable only to low stakes situations.
TOWES has been offered since 1998, with ongoing re-calibration every 2-3 years. The test directly links back to the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) framework. It is the assessment tool used by many nationally-funded essential skills projects that need to demonstrate skill change.

Location Alberta
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Alisa Foreman, Workplace Skills Development & Assessment Services @ Bow Valley College
345 6 Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 4V1

Project Details
Community Urban, Rural, Remote
Scope of Project National
Target Audience First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Youth (15-30 yrs), Adults (31-49 yrs), Older workers (50+ yrs), Persons with disabilities