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The SAS is designed to help you quickly assess core Literacy and Numeracy skills which underpin any course of study. Assessment of these abilities is based on the latest DfE and Ofqual criteria for functional and key skills and covers all levels. The SAS is designed to help you make early and informed judgements about learners skills so that valuable resources are targeted effectively.

Primarily it is used within FE, HE and by training providers or larger employers for initial assessment prior to entry or soon after. The SAS is a forward-looking diagnostic test that predicts how well a learner will cope with the literacy and numeracy requirements of a course, training programme or job. The SAS can either be web-delivered or administered using installable client software.

Literacy covers the ability to speak, listen and respond; read and comprehend; and write to communicate. Numeracy covers the ability to interpret numbers; calculate with numbers; and communicate with numbers.




  • Reading questions cover reading and understanding text, following instructions, finding specific information from tables, using simple lists and finding the main idea from a textual source
  • Writing is assessed by breaking writing skills down into meaningful components such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary
  • Speaking and Listening covers recognising oral directions (what to say), using appropriate language (how to say it) and following oral directions






  • Calculation questions assess the ability to use basic arithmetic operations in everyday contexts
  • Communication of Mathematical Information covers understanding and communicating numerical information in different formats
  • Interpretation of Mathematical Information covers extracting and interpreting numerical information from various data sources


The SAS enables you to compare any learner’s performance, or group of learners, against standard ability levels ranging from Entry, Key Skills Level 1 through 4, to ‘A2’ and beyond. Assessing abilities underlying success, rather than current attainment, means a learner’s ability can be measured independent of course knowledge. Unlike other tests on the market, the SAS is forward rather than backward looking.

Think about when you have received test results, e.g. school exams. How did you feel being told you scored 17 out of 30, or 65%? Usually one of the first questions asked is, “How did everyone else do?”, “Is that a good result in comparison with others in my group?”

A test score with no reference to other people in a group is somewhat meaningless. For example, a result of 25 out of 40 could be very good if the test was very difficult. If the test was very easy however it is not very good. To be able to interpret test results meaningfully, we compare individuals results against those obtained by an appropriate reference group. This is a key feature of norm referenced tests over traditional criterion referenced tests.

As the SAS is norm-based you can compare the same learner against more than one comparison group without the need to retest! It is more meaningful to compare performance with others of similar ability.

Using comparative reports quickly enables you to see who is performing below average for their intended course level.

Learners like the SAS as it’s short, makes use of real-world scenario-based questions and has attractive embedded graphics and sound. This makes it suitable for use with a wide range of learners. A self-paced tutorial also puts learners at ease as they are taken through what they need to do. The simple multiple choice interface makes answering a breeze.


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