Testing of Functional Literacy

updated 03/21/2024

Department of Human Services

Division of Developmental Disabilities

Information Bulletin



Administrative Rule 116 (116.40 c) 3) requires Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) who are to be trained to administer medications demonstrate functional literacy.  Please use TABE version 11 & 12.  This Information Bulletin provides guidance regarding other options available to assess functional literacy.


Per Administrative Rule 116, the definition of functional literacy is an individual's ability to read, write, speak, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, as assessed by standardized techniques. The functional literacy test must be administered prior to starting the 8-Hour Basic Medication Administration Class.


  1. Prior to a DSP entering medication administration training, they must demonstrate functional literacy. Providers may use one of the options outlined below.
    1. Options include:
      1. The online or paper version of TABE 11-12 Level M (Medium). Not the TABE 11-12 Level D (Difficult).
      2. The online or paper version of the CASAS functional literacy test. Reading Goals 905 R Level C
      3. The paper version of the S-TOFHLA (Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults)
  2. The Division reimburses providers for the functional literacy test as part of the DSP training. This should be identified on the reimbursement form. Process and procedures for staff training and reimbursement is outlined in Information Bulletin DD.18.004.  Please reference it: http://intranet.dhs.illinois.gov/onenet/page.aspx?item=114766.
  3. Providers should keep a copy of the functional literacy test in the DSP's file. It will be requested for review during a Rule 116 Survey. If it is completed online, you do not need to print a copy though the provider must be able to show the DSP's completion and score in the electronic system upon request.


1. TABE 11 & 12 Supplies Needed 

For Paper Testing:

  • Order TABE Level M, Form 11 Test Books
  • Order TABE Level M, Form 12 Test Books
  • Order TABE 11 & 12 SCOREZE Answer Documents or if hand scoring Request Answer Key from Customer Service
  • Test Directions for TABE 11 & 12
  • Scoring Guide for TABE 11 & 12 (to enable you to determine grade equivalency and passing score)
  • To pass TABE 11 M: A minimum Raw Score of 26, a Scale Score of 501 and a NRS Level 3
  • To pass TABE 12 M: A minimum Raw Score of 24, a Scale Score of 501 and a NRS Level 3

If your agency will be using Online Testing - contact DRC (Data Recognition Corporation) Customer Service for details. 

2. CASAS Reading Goals Supplies Needed 

For Paper Testing: page 16 CASAS Catalog: 

  • Reading Goals Test Administration Manual
  • Reading Goals Level C, Form 905R Test Booklets
  • General Purpose Answer Sheets
  • The scaled score ranges for 8th grade is 235-238.
  • A scaled score of 235-238 is a 31/40 (from the Test Administration Manual).
  • 40 question test, and 75 minutes allowed to complete
  • Each question is scored, and each question is one part and worth one point of equal value.

If your agency will be using Online Testing, contact CASAS Customer Service for details.

3. S-TOFHLA Supplies Needed 

For Paper Testing

  • Short Test of Functional Literacy in Adults and answer key
  • Short Test of Functional Literacy in Adults Spanish Version and answer key if applicable
  • To pass the S-TOFHLA: minimum score of 23-36
  • Provider can request the S-TOFHLA and answer key from the Division by contacting the Bureau of Clinical Services:  Jennifer.Gentile@illinois.gov

Effective Date:

October 19, 2021