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Return-Path: <email@example.com> Received: from literacy (localhost [127.0.0.1]) by literacy.nifl.gov (8.10.2/8.10.2) with SMTP id j6SKl1G10668; Thu, 28 Jul 2005 16:47:01 -0400 (EDT) Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 16:47:01 -0400 (EDT) Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Errors-To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk From: Nancy Hansen <email@example.com> To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1178] RE: high-stakes testing, state/federal accountability, and standardized tests X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Status: O Content-Length: 5724 Lines: 158 Andrea, Howard et all: So little time ... too much to say ... but here goes .. "one-cannon-shot" for learners. BUT ... P.S. ... This post turned out to be far more lengthy than I'd planned. I suppose it's because I view it as not a simple process, even though it is a thoughtful process. Andrea, you wrote and questioned: <<When you begin work with a new student, how do you > begin? Does the student go first to a > tutor/volunteer? Do you use the Challenger (I think > this is what it is) books? What do you do first > when you enter "teaching mode?" >> My first step is to use "a spoon" (from David Rosen's post about a metaphor) to bring the new adult learner into the place where learning can occur. I have chosen to forsake the "high-stakes funding" because I believe on of the "high-stakes" of submitting a learner to standardized timed testing, when they have less than 1 GL, is the self-worth of the learner whom I personally value. So, using my spoon, I listen as they talk about their background,scooping out their memories of previous educational experiences, the personal goals they wanted and now have, the reading/writing/spelling life experiences they currently want to increase. I keep careful notes of all those shared experiences. Remember now ... I'm using a *spoon* ... not a *shovel*! I tell them, we have established the first page in their personnel file and included with that page will be an evaluation of their current reading skills and a sample of their writing/spelling skills. I tell them that I will use an assessment tool for the series of books that our Council uses for beginning adult learners. Yet even at *that*, I see the beads of sweat roll into the furrows of their middle-aged worried forehead. Yes, even though I reassure the learner that they can stop at any time and that I praise them each step of the way, they worry they are failing. And it's not even a *test*! You mentioned the "Challenger" series, which is published by New Readers Press, the ProLiteracy publishing division. For the learners I serve, that is considered a higher-level study material. The assessment I mentioned above is for the Laubach "Way To Reading" series, a multi-sensory approach to tutoring. Actually our Council uses the study material that fits the learner best. I could name them all, but there are something like 6 core series on our Council library shelves that are possible study materials for the learner. Besides some of them are listed in the New Readers Press link at <http://www.proliteracy.org>. Each of them used for 1-to-1 tutoring (with a trained volunteer tutor) have an evaluation tool to determine if the learner has a base of skills that will make their first-return-to-an-educational-environment rewarding for them. The New Reader is going to be in a peer-to-peer learning environment, so the next step is to show them the program materials they could study. If the learner feels the materials look too easy, we return to the registration table and do a "higher level" skill assessment for another series. This is the point I begin the match process (or the "teaching mode" if you wish) and the tutor volunteer comes into the picture. I give the tutor individualized guidance. The tutor lines up the weekly lessons at a local library or church. They call after the first lesson and, of course, report-back each month. I keep touch with both parties of the pair on the phone. I have strong feelings, and have periodically expressed them in various places, about the fact that standardized testing is *not* a "fair way" to gain a baseline for the start of a Literacy Level 1 learner's experience. I also feel strongly about using portfolio documentation as a much more accurate picture of the learner's past and current base of knowledge. *They* can even see their own progress. My annual anniversary meeting with a learner and their tutor is my opportunity to show them the New Reader's personal growth - to review the book check-ups and writing skill changes with them. To give praise and congratulations for their hard work of the past year. In conclusion, I try to keep in mind something that Archie Willard said so well on another listserv today (and I hope Archie won't mind my quoting him): "... When you've grown up and have lost your childhood dreams as a child, you become very defensive about yourself, your life and many other things because of your past experiences. The bad memories and the struggles of not learning to read clog your thinking and you can't see all the beautiful little things in life that are all around you. ..." My genuine hope is that every learner, who registers into this program and meets with me for that first hour of a fruitful relationship that will last many more hours together, finds one small beautiful "thing" about coming for help - a smile, a positive comment, a concern or a touch of the hand. SOMEthing. I try not to put in their face (or "at their throat" .. as in "one sharp knife") any barrier that will block that from happening. And I believe standardized timed testing is just *that*, Howard. Frankly I prefer a spoon over a knife. Nancy Hansen Executive Director Sioux Falls Area Literacy Council Sioux Falls, SD --- AWilder106@aol.com wrote: > Nancy, > > When you beign work with a new student, how do you > begin? Does the student go first to a > tutor/volunteer? Do you use the Challenger (I think > this is what it is) books? What do you do first > when you enter "teaching mode?" > > Thanks. > > Andrea > ____________________________________________________ Start your day with Yahoo! - make it your home page http://www.yahoo.com/r/hs
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