[Assessment 1133] Re: Observation checklist

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Forrest Chisman forrest at crosslink.net
Wed Feb 6 11:24:38 EST 2008


Jim,

Thanks for the confirmation. We need all we can get!

Your description of the "persistence problem" is an eloquent statement of
what we have heard elsewhere. Also, a growing number of programs appear to
be offering "certificates," but it's not clear whether they help or hurt.

Does ANYBODY have ANY idea about what to do about these persistence
problems? The only ideas I've seen that SEEM to work a bit are: 1)
structuring programs so that students can advance so fast that they have a
hard time "saying no" to college. 2) lowering college admission requirements
for English language proficiency. (At CCSF we found that a significant
number of students made transitions from the Low Intermediate Level and did
just fine in both credit ESL and other credit courses.) 3) Effectively
moving down more credit ESL into non-credit. 4) Packaging all of the above
with a lot of guidance/counseling as a "pathways to college" track.

But that's rough and ready. Anybody have any other ideas? Overall, I wish we
had the resources to interview more "drop out" students about why they
dropped out and what would make a difference. Maybe THEY have the answers.

Forrest

Forrest
-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Schneider, Jim
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 9:39 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1131] Re: Observation checklist

<Dr. Chisman wrote: More importantly, we found that students who began at
the Literacy and Low Beginning levels were more likely to advance more
levels than were other students, but only about 20% of students who started
at the Literacy of Low Beginning Levels advanced more than two levels over a
7-year time period. Does that jibe with experiences elsewhere?>

Yes it does. Those at the lower levels have the most ground to make up and
do tend to advance more levels as a result. The 20% is also quite accurate.
Our learner come with their own goals and life realities and expectancies.
Most of those who linger and make more levels have the economic ability to
do so. The reality for most though is that they come to class to learn
enough English to get a job. It is our hope that we can keep them long
enough to be able to understand their job safety and SOP's. Far too often
they leave before this with tragic results from an work-related accident
that likely would have been prevented with stronger English skills.

We award Basic Skills Certificates as our learners advance levels. One of my
favorite students was a working father - he pushed a broom at a local iron
forge making minimum wage. At enrollment his reading was a CASAS 170, he had
only attended school 4 years, and communication was a challenge.

After a year and a half, he earned his "B" level reading certificate (215),
and though far from fluent, communication was significantly improved. When
he took the certificate to show his supervisor at work, the supervisor took
him to personnel, and they advanced him to an apprenticeship - which came
with a hefty raise. He hasn't been back to class because he can now provide
for his family in a way that he once could only dream of.

I am sure that with his intelligence and work ethic he could have been
successful in any number of programs. However, as is so common with ALL
community college students, they know what they want and once they attain
that, they depart. It is important that we do all we can to make them aware
of the opportunities and provide comprehensive transition assistance. The
best information and transitioning program in the world will still be
limited by the realities and expectancies of the learner.

Jim Schneider




-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of Forrest Chisman
Sent: Wed 2/6/2008 1:33 AM
To: 'Jodi Crandall'; 'The Assessment Discussion List'
Subject: [Assessment 1127] Re: Observation checklist

Gee, Jodi, thanks for setting me up! And thanks for your other comments in
this posting (which I wish I had made).

What we found at CCSF was that students who began at the Literacy Level
persisted longer (on average) and advanced more levels (on average) than did
students who began at any other level, although it took them longer (on
average) to advance each level. Regrettably CCSF did not have data on level
of prior education for most of its students. Also their Literacy Level
students may not be typical. They have a large Chinese population, and some
members of that population would initially be placed in the Literacy level
simply to learn the English alphabet and to get a start on other major
linguistic differences if they had no English background, regardless of
prior education. More importantly, we found that students who began at the
Literacy and Low Beginning levels were more likely to advance more levels
than were other students, but only about 20% of students who started at the
Literacy of Low Beginning Levels advanced more than two levels over a 7-year
time period. Does that jibe with experiences elsewhere?

Okay?

Also, it's important to note that few of the students in the Reder
longitudinal study are ESL students. So we really need more research on ESL
learning by students outside the classroom and post-program. Among the
things we need to know more about is the learning of "stop-outs" -- students
who enroll, drop out, and re-enroll -- while they are absent from the
program. The CCSF research showed that a significant percentage of students
stopped out (for about two years on average). Most of them re-enrolled at
the same level where they had previously been placed (suggesting no learning
gain, or possibly learning loss). Also, while they advanced the same number
of levels as other students who began at the same level, it took them more
terms to do so. But we don't consider this definitive, because the finding
may be partly an artifact of placement procedures. It is possible that
students learn a lot of English outside the classroom, but the Census
reports an increasingly large number of linguistically isolated households,
neighborhoods, and jobs, so this effect may be diminishing. It's important
to find out.

Forrest

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:23 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1125] Re: Observation checklist

Usha,

I'm not sure where Ted came up with that number. Ted, is it your experience
that with more than 10 students, learning decreases? If so, how do you fund
that number? I think a lot of people would be interested in ways to
decrease class size.

It's more typical to have larger classes because of the funding constraints
you talk about. With more students, it becomes more important to involve
them in activities in which all get to participate, which means less teacher
talk and more student interaction. But even small classes need that.

What do others feel about the "ideal class size"?

You have also identified some of the major reasons adults drop out of
classes (or opt out, only to return at a later date). Do any of you keep
records of your students that would identify those who do return? Do you
have any idea of whether they have tried to continue learning English
outside of the classroom and how they did this? I don't know of any
research about adult English Language Learners in this area, but there is an
ongoing study by Stephen Reder and others at Portland State University
following adult literacy level students for several years. They have
identified some ways in which adults continue learning outside of the
classroom and also that some of these learners come back to classes after
being out of them for some time.

Providing support services is always a challenge. Have any of you been able
to partner with other organizations to reduce the cost of these
services to your program? What kinds of partnerships have been most
effective? If you teach in a community college, have your students had
access to the various support services provided to other students?

Several of you have talked about the differences in progress made by
students with more advanced education and those who are at literacy level.
Because literacy level students take longer in making progress, most
programs provide separate classes for literacy level students and literate
beginners. Those learners with limited formal schooling and literacy will
need more time to make progress. I'm going to ask Forrest to talk about what
he and Steve Spurling and Sharon Seymour found out about persistence of
literacy level students and their learning gains.

Students with advanced education in their own language may be able to have a
condensed program since they are already experienced as students and often
have high motivation to get through English so that they can take courses
related to their previous or future career. City College of San Francisco
offers an "accelerated course" in which 2 semesters worth of work is taught
during one. Do any of your programs offer something along these lines?

Jodi



> I have not been a part of this discussion and I really liked the tool

> that Ted has shared with us. However, I have question and I hope that

> it is not something that has already been asked and answered.

>

> The first item on Ted¹s list is a little confusing. In most of our

> ESL classes we enroll more than 10 students because of fiscal

> constraints and the need for ESL in the community. So is it a

> negative or a positive to have fewer than 10 students in a class? In

> our case, we expect to see more than 10 students in a class and for

> the teacher to sustain the numbers.

>

> As for the achievement gap, it is huge issue in all literacy programs

> because of many socio-economic factors.

>

> In our area, part of the Bay Area, the boom in the housing market (in

> past several years) and high rents made it difficult for people to

> stay in one neighborhood. Therefore they constantly move (this is seen

> more in people who do not have high levels of education from their native

country).

>

> People with a certain level of education (college degrees from their

> countries are more likely to find stable jobs and have some kind of

> community support). Most other people hold two or more jobs, go in

> and out of classes, change schedules, and finally drop out because of

> various constraints. More than likely, they lack study skills and

> have no time to practice.

>

> The achievement gap stems not only from the differences in educational

> levels of immigrants, but also due the huge difference in the

> availability of community resources.

>

> Usha Narayanan

> Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult Education

> California

> 408-522-2737

>

>

> On 2/5/08 1:00 PM, "Ted Klein" <taklein at austin.rr.com> wrote:

>

>> Marie,

>>

>> I did this list years ago based on literally decades in and out of

>> the U.S.A.

>> teaching, training teachers, supervising, coordinating, etc. in ESL.

>> It is based on what seems to work or not work. I'm proud to say that

>> I'm back in the ESL trenches after, among other things, twenty years

>> with the Defense Language Institute English Language Center. I've

>> been teaching immigrants part time for the last eight years for the

>> Adult Education Department at Austin Community College. Getting back

>> in the trenches has reminded me of what language teaching is all

>> about. I feel sorry for anybody who has to work at a higher level,

>> because that's really not as much fun! I truly hope that I apply

>> everything on my list daily and don't fall into any of the "easy traps."

>> I

>> have distributed this list over the years to anybody who seemed

>> interested and it is published on my website at

>> http://www.tedklein-esl.com/ESL/20questions.html Feel absolutely

>> free to use it in any way that will make life easier for students.

>> Thank you very much for the input. Questions are welcome.

>>

>> Cheers, Ted

>>

>> Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.

>> Independent Consultant in Language

>> and Intercultural Training

>> 14456 Agarita Road

>> Austin, Texas 78734-2009

>> Phone:512-266-1801

>> taklein at austin.rr.com <mailto:taklein at austin.rr.com>

>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>

>>

>> ----- Original Message -----

>>>

>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>

>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>

>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:42 PM

>>>

>>> Subject: [Assessment 1110] Re: Observation checklist

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Hi Ted,

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Thanks for this. This is a great list - did you generate it yourself?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> I guess I have a bunch of questions for you about it:

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> How do you use it? As a general guide, or do you deliberately try

>>> to address each item? Are you the only one who uses this, or do

>>> others you work with?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Do you find that if you adhere to these principles, that the

>>> students advance?

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Marie

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> -----Original Message-----

>>>> From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov

>>>> [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Ted Klein

>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 9:49 PM

>>>> To: The Assessment Discussion List

>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1105] Re: No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> Marie,

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> In the long run, this may be all that I know.

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> Ted

>>>>

>>>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 20 Questions: LANGUAGE CLASS OBSERVATION CHECKLIST YES

>>>> NO

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 1. Were there 10 or fewer students in the class?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 2. Was the classroom comfortable in terms of

>>>>

>>>> environment and learning atmosphere?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 3. Did the instructor have a pleasant and

>>>>

>>>> supportive personality?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 4. Were the lessons communication centered,

>>>>

>>>> rather than informational, most of the time?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 5. Was the instructor a native-speaker or

>>>>

>>>> near native-speaker of the target language?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 6. Was the target language used as a medium

>>>>

>>>> of instruction all or most of the time?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 7. Did the students do most of the communication,

>>>>

>>>> rather than the instructor?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 8. Did the instructor maintain control of the class

>>>>

>>>> in a non-threatening manner?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 9. Did members of the class seem compatible with each

>>>>

>>>> other and the instructor?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 10. Did the students seem closely matched in their

>>>>

>>>> target language proficiency?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 11. Did all of the students participate?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 12. Were students enthusiastic?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 13. Did the instructor use a variety of techniques

>>>>

>>>> to elicit communication activities?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 14. Did the instructor assist students, rather

>>>>

>>>> than push them?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 15. Did the instructor use normal, rather than

>>>>

>>>> exaggerated speech?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 16. Were training aids used to enhance or reinforce

>>>>

>>>> results?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 17. Were new learning objectives reinforced adequately?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 18. Was correction applied moderately and positively

>>>>

>>>> so that it wouldn't inhibit communication?

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 19. Was there a balance of language skills (listening,

>>>>

>>>> speaking, reading and writing?)

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> 20. Were students dealt with appropriately for their

>>>>

>>>> ages? (e.g. adults treated like adults).

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

>>>> ---- Original Message -----

>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>

>>>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>>

>>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 5:50 PM

>>>>>

>>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1103] No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Hello everyone,

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> I¹m so surprised! No one has anything to comment on regarding your

>>>>> program¹s effectiveness at helping ESL students advance?? I was

>>>>> very

>>>>> curious to know if subscribers experience the same types of issues

>>>>> that

>>>>> Dr. Chisman and Dr. Crandall found in their research: a lack of

>>>>> intensity

>>>>> of instruction/few protocols for transitioning students/few

>>>>> opportunities

>>>>> for professional development.

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> What are the issues in your program that you feel inhibit the ESL

>>>>> student

>>>>> from advancing? What do you try to do about that?

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Please post your questions and comments now.

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Thanks!

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Marie Cora

>>>>>

>>>>> Assessment Discussion List Moderator

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Marie Cora

>>>>>

>>>>> marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com

>>>>> <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>

>>>>> NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

>>>>>

>>>>> http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> -------------------------------

>>>>> National Institute for Literacy

>>>>> Assessment mailing list

>>>>> Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

>>>>> http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment

>>>>> Email delivered to taklein at austin.rr.com

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>> -------------------------------

>>> National Institute for Literacy

>>> Assessment mailing list

>>> Assessment at nifl.gov

>>> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

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>>> Email delivered to taklein at austin.rr.com

>>

>>

>> -------------------------------

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>> Assessment mailing list

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>> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

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>> Email delivered to usha_narayanan at fuhsd.org

>

>

>

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>



--
JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Professor, Education Department
Director, Ph.D. Program in Language, Literacy & Culture
Coordinator, Peace Corps Master's International Program in ESOL/Bilingual
Education
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
ph: 410-455-2313/2376 fax: 410-455-8947/1880
email: crandall at umbc.edu
www.umbc.edu/llc/
www.umbc.edu/esol/
www.umbc.edu/esol/peacecorps.html





More importantly, we found that students who began at the
Literacy and Low Beginning levels were more likely to advance more levels
than were other students, but only about 20% of students who started at the
Literacy of Low Beginning Levels advanced more than two levels over a 7-year
time period. Does that jibe with experiences elsewhere?