The CELSA Test (ESL) for ATB

Combined English Language Skills Assessment (published by ACTT)


The CELSA is inexpensive and easy to administer. It consists of 75 multiple choice questions and takes 45 minutes to complete. Hundreds of schools use the CELSA for ATB to qualify their students. It is not necessary to offer ESL classes in order to use the CELSA for ATB. If the students have English as their second language, the CELSA can be used to determine their ability to benefit from instruction. The CELSA can also be used for course placement. A single test can be used for both placement and ATB.

For Placement only, there is only an anual site licence fee based on the number of students tested. Both paper pencil and computer delivered software and avalible for placement only. 

You have two options for ATB:

1) "paper/pencil" test: test are taken on a special scanform and mailed to us. We score the test the day we receive it and automatically email you the results. The cost is $195 per year for the site license and $12.50 per student. This cost includes the student answer sheets, cover sheet, mailing envelopes and all test scoring and reporting. Test booklets need to be ordered separately and usually last about 5 years. Please see Order form for details. 

2) computer delivered option: the test is taken on a computer and the results are immediately available to the school. There is an $800 annual charge for the software and the individual cost to the student is a $12.50 fee.

  • Assesses and places high school, college and adult ESL students quickly and accurately into beginning to advanced classes
  • Approved by the U.S. Department of Education as an "Ability to Benefit" (ATB) test
  • Approved by the California Community Colleges
  • Approved by the CA BPPE as an ATB test
  • Approved by the NY Board of Education as an ATB test
  • 45 minute, 75 item multiple choice
  • 4 equivalent forms (only form 1 and 2 approved for ATB)
  • Natural, authentic language 
  • Cloze type format
  • Researched for reliability (.93), validity, freedom from bias
  • Computer delivered (network) and "paper/pencil" options
  • Used in hundreds of schools and colleges
  • For private, for profit, schools that so not offer degrees.

The steps to implementing the test are easy. You need to hire an Independent Testing Administrator. (For public colleges, universities, and schools that offer degrees, employees can administer this test. The testers fill out the "Verification of Assessment Center Certification of Testing Adminestratorir" form instead of the "Independent  Test Administrator Certification Form." ) and have independent assesment centersInstituion ". That person needs to read our brief CELSA ATB User's Guide and take a short quiz (the CELSA TEST ADMINISTER CERTIFICATION QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ATB). The tester mails or faxes the Independent Testing Administrator form and the Questionnaire to us and we then certify the school and the tester.

BPPE governed schools that offer degrees or diplomas cannot accept students without high school diplomas or equivalent unless the student passes an ATB test

The CELSA is an approved United States Department of Education and BPPE Ability to Benefit test for students who have English as their second language.

United States Department of Education and BPPE approved ATB Test

Please fill our the correct order form and mail, email or fax it ACTT.


Phone: (805) 965-5704

Fax : (805) 965-5807

More information

ACTT Approved Testers

Click here to see the steps to finding a ACTT Approved Tester.


Click here  to learn more about out the LPAT-S is a BPPE approved Ability to Benefit test in Spanish.  

More ACTT Froms

Click here to find other ACTT forms.