What is TOWES?

TOWES is an assessment that measures three important skills needed for work in Canada: reading text, document use, and numeracy.  These skills are called literacy and essential skills.

Everyone has literacy and essential skills! You use these skills every day at school, in training, at work and in your daily life. Literacy and essential skills are different from the technical or occupation specific skills we use at work. They are the core set of skills used in every occupation.

TOWES assesses:

• Reading Text: Finding and using written information such as notes, letters, bulletins, reports, emails, regulations, and labels.

• Document Use: Finding and using information in forms, tables, drawings, symbols, charts, schematics, icons, lists and signs.

Numeracy: Finding and using numerical information like measuring, calculating, scheduling, budgeting, estimating and analyzing data.

TOWES is different from other assessments. When writing TOWES, you will assume the role of a worker who must solve problems and complete tasks.  You will use a real Canadian workplace document to answer the question. The questions and the documents represent the types of tasks you would encounter on the job. For example, you may be asked to read an email to find the time for a meeting.

TOWES assesses how you apply your skills to solve problems or complete tasks.  It is not an assessment you can pass or fail.  Your results will tell you if you can apply your skills to complete basic, intermediate or advanced workplace tasks.

The Government of Canada has occupational descriptions called Essential Skills Profiles.  The profiles explain how essential skills are used in Canadian occupations. You can use your TOWES results to compare the skills you already have with the skills needed for a specific occupation.

Your TOWES score will also provide valuable information to your instructor.  It will help them teach you the skills needed to be successful in learning and at work.



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