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NIFL-ASSESSMENT 2005: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1110] RE: Literacy needs

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From: Michael & Sunay Gyori (
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 16:40:36 EDT

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Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1110] RE: Literacy needs
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I find that if, during the intake process, you gather demographic
information about a prospective student, you'll have predictors to work with
in terms of their literacy levels.  Perhaps the most important clue is a
student's formal educational background.  Another is experiencing a student
fill out an intake form: how fluently and accurately he or she fills it out.
Unfortunately, having a high school diploma from the U.S. is much less
predictive of literacy levels than graduation from high schools in foreign
countries.  Indeed, we often experience high school graduates with reading
levels at 3rd or 4th grade-level equivalency.  Thankfully, high school
graduates will generally not also enter a GED program, although many would
be extremely well-served by doing so.
My suggestion is to test "upwards" and not "downwards."  It's much more
motivating to test a student again using a more difficult instrument as a
result of out-of-accuracy range scores on the high end using an easier test,
than "demoting" a student who doesn't do well on the TABE by then having him
or her take an easier test.
Finally, I am EXTREMELY cautious about testing on enrollment, because there
are too many variables amongst adult learners that come into play when their
first experience is the need to take a test.
You could administer a "locater" test first (such as those offered by CASAS
and AMES), while keeping in mind that the limited number of test questions,
especially in the AMES (Adult Measure of Essential Skills) have unreliable
predictive value.
Bottom line, all that said, is to administer the easier test first, and to
acknowledge the psychological domain that plays such a key role with
students who return to school as adults.  A lot has to do with how you help
"package" the experience from the student's point of view. 
I hope this helps!
Michael A. Gyori, Educational Linguist
Language Development & Technology Director 
Language and Literacy Resource Center 
Hui Malama Learning Center, Inc.
375 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii, 96793, U.S.A.
Tel: (808) 249-0111
Fax: (808) 249-0119
E-mail: <>
Website: <>  


From: [] On Behalf
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 6:36 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1108] Literacy needs

Hi there,
I am writing from sunny Arizona to share some concerns we have here with
low-level literacy students. We find that in our literacy programs in
Yavapai County, students come and start working on computers and then
realize that the software is too difficult. Then when they realize they have
to do one-on-one tutoring, they feel discouraged and drop out. In the GED
program where I work, I find that students who come as ABEI seldom return
for class or stay with us if they do. I sense that these students realize
that they have a long way to go to get their GED after taking the TABE
assessment and give up on themselves.  
Yesterday I was speaking with the literacy program coordinator, and we
agreed to start using a referral form to send students between our programs.
When I get lower students, I will refer them to her, and whe! n she get ll
keep them for a short time until they feel successful in her program and
then she will send them to me.
What successful motivators do any of you have that could help us with
student retention?  We would be glad to hear of your success stories.
Tina Luffman
GED Instructor

Tina Luffman
Instructional Specialist, ABE-GED
Verde Valley Campus
634-6544 <> 


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