LBS Practitioner Training

Professional development support for Literacy and Basic Skills educators in Ontario

4.5 Transition-Oriented Assessment

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Integral to successful transition-oriented programming is the administration of transition-oriented assessment. Unless the overall assessment strategy is transition-oriented in both purpose and design, how would practitioners be able to tell if progress is being made towards successful transition and how could they determine whether or not a learner is "transition-ready"?

The term, “transition-oriented assessment” describes the nature of assessment in LBS that takes place throughout the whole of the learner’s journey; it is not something that occurs at the end - when the practitioner thinks a learner may be ready to transition out of LBS. From day one, when the learner enters LBS until the learner leaves at goal completion, assessment has the learner’s transition in mind.

Intake Assessment:

An intake assessment is administered either before or at the point when a learner begins her or his literacy program. In many cases, initial assessment tools and methods are selected based on the reason the learner has given for coming to the program, or the learner’s goal.  If no particular goal has been identified at the time of intake, the initial assessment might be more generic, and once a goal has been chosen, the assessment results will be reviewed for the purpose of establishing the learner’s starting point in relation to a particular goal path that will ultimately lead the learner to successful transition.

Ongoing Assessment:

Ongoing or formative assessment takes place on a regular basis throughout the learner’s program. It involves a wide range of assessment tools and methods each with the sole purpose of measuring some aspect of progress towards goal achievement, i.e., successful transition. The Milestones constitute one aspect of an overall assessment strategy. They are used for reporting purposes and provide a measure of consistency across the province for tracking learner progress. Additional ongoing assessment activities are essential to the construction of an accurate picture of the learner’s progress over time.

Exit Assessment:

An exit assessment is administered at the end of a program. Exit assessments, or summative assessments, are used to confirm promotion readiness when learners are ready to transition out of their current program and into secondary school credit, postsecondary or apprenticeship programs, the workplace, or elsewhere. One component of exit assessment is the administration of a goal-related culminating task. Culminating tasks represent the culmination of the learner’s program and serve as indicators of transition-readiness on the Learner Plan.


With a task-based approach to literacy practitioners are expanding their understanding of assessment and assessment reporting. Milestones are being used primarily for reporting purposes as learners develop capacity for completing tasks at increasing levels of complexity. Milestones, however, are not enough in and of themselves to serve as the primary assessment strategy for learners in the program. Much more is needed in the way of assessment tools and methods in order to gain a clear and accurate picture of a learner's progress and ultimate readiness for transition. In the same way, Culminating Tasks are used to signify and report on a learner’s transition-readiness but in and of themselves are not enough to tell you a learner is transition-ready.

All assessment in the context of OALCF program planning and program delivery is, first and foremost, transition-minded. The next four links explain how this concept is fleshed out in practice.

  1. Milestones and Culminating Tasks
  2. Developing an Overall Assessment Strategy
  3. Assessment Tools and Methods
  4. Tracking Learner Progress


4.4 Successful Transitions


4.5 Milestones and Culminating Tasks

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