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NRS Levels

NRS stands for the National Reporting System

According to their website,, “the National Reporting System (NRS) is the accountability system for the federally funded adult education program, mandated by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The NRS includes learner measures to describe adult education learners, program participation and assessment of the impact of adult education instruction, methodologies for collecting the measures, reporting forms and procedures, and training and technical assistance activities to assist states in collecting the measures.”

In short, NRS levels are:

  • familiar to many funders 
  • used at technical colleges and agencies around the nation
  • universal (helpful for transitioning learners)
  • clearly defined (thorough descriptions of each skill level)

There are 6 NRS levels for ABE (Adult Basic Education) learners:

  • Beginning ABE Literacy
  • Beginning Basic Education
  • Low Intermediate Basic Education
  • High Intermediate Basic Education
  • Low Adult Secondary
  • High Adult Secondary

You must use a standardized assessment to track NRS scores.  In Wisconsin, most literacy programs and technical colleges use TABE 11/12.

There are also 6 NRS levels for ELL (English Language Learners):

  • Beginning ESL
  • Literacy Low
  • Beginning ESL High
  • Beginning ESL Low
  • Intermediate ESL
  • High Intermediate
  • ESL Advanced ESL

In Wisconsin, many literacy programs and technical colleges use TABE CLAS-E (TABE Complete Language Assessment System–English). Some programs who do not receive federal funding track NRS scores with BEST (Basic English Skills Test) Literacy or BEST Plus.  Many other states use CASAS (