[Assessment 1137] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

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andresmuro at aol.com andresmuro at aol.com
Wed Feb 6 14:04:37 EST 2008



Forrest:

The approach works for our program because we are a Spanish speaking community where we can pretty much teach native language literacy. It would be tougher to implement in other communities with a mixture of immigrants.

Regarding progress, the majority of our students start at an average 6 grade education in Mexico and have been out of school for a while. Most of our students are migrant/agricultural workers. It takes approximately a year to a year and 1/2 for them to earn a GED in Spanish. Our lowest level student had a 2nd grade education and earned her GED within 21/2 years. She was very motivated. If they have above 6 grade education most complete a GED within a year. Below six grade it takes between one and two years.

Problem with ESL is that students tend to get lost in ESL systems. Most ESL programs don't provide an outcome that has validity beyond the particular ESL program unless it is a credit college program. So, students will enroll for a few months to a few years of ESL and then stop and will not really have much more than a certificate that states that they were in ESL. Unless they get immersed in an English speaking environment, if they don't continue in a program they end up forgetting what they learn and starting again in a different ESL program.

With WIA/NRS, there is no incentive to move students beyond a few levels because satisfactory progress is measured by students progressing form literacy ESL to beginning ESL.? Students may progress a few levels of ESL, the program shows progress and the students eventually stop attending. They often reappear in another ESL program starting at the lowest level. I doubt that there are any programs in the entire country that can show that they had ESL students that started in literacy ESL and progressed through all the levels and earned a GED in English. There may be examples of? a few students but they will be statistically insignificant.

I am not arguing that there is no value in ESL instruction. However, there is no value in the way the system measures progress.? It does so through standardized testing that measures a limited range of academic skills and has little value to the students. So, the teachers are caught between teaching the students valuable things that may impact their life (such as health, immigration, legal rights, etc) and making sure that they show progress in the BEST Plus or whatever else. The pressure of the teachers to help the students show progress in these tests before they drop, prevents them from teaching the meaningful things that people like Heide Wrigley, Elsa Auerbach, Rimma Rudd and others advocate for. I know that some teachers make the compromise between trying to mix BEST progress with meaningful knowledge. However, it is tough. Especially since the only measure of progress is the BEST plus.? Also, "bringing literacy to life" and "making meaning making change" are very difficult things to do unless teachers are trained extensively in this, and devote their entire efforts to do this sort of stuff and have the right combination of knowledge, skills and abilities. Mixing this stuff with BEST plus is even harder and most cannot do this.

Anyways, I have a meeting and I am late.

Andres






-----Original Message-----
From: Forrest Chisman <forrest at crosslink.net>
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List' <assessment at nifl.gov>
Sent: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 9:59 am
Subject: [Assessment 1135] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

























Andres,



?



This is a fascinating approach. Do you apply it to all of your
ESL students, or just the ones at the Literacy Level. It would seem to take a
long time for students to advance through Spanish Literacy, the Spanish GED,
and THEN ESL. Does it? What percentage of students who start down this track
eventually transition to college? And can you say more about the policy
barriers you mention?



?



What do other folks think about the design Andres describes? Have
you tried any part of it? Would it work for you? If not, why not?



?



Forrest



?






From:
assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf
Of andresmuro at aol.com

Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 8:28 AM

To: assessment at nifl.gov

Subject: [Assessment 1129] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or
Comments?!






?






Problem
is that in many ESL people are placed in ESL classes based on an English
placement multiple choice test. A student with advanced education in L1 and one
with little education in L1 may know very little English and they may both be
placed in the same level. The student with advance education will progress much
faster than the one with little education. The advanced L1 student will
understand concepts like sentence, paragraph, verb, subject, direct object,
adjective, composition and essay readily. The one with with little education
will need to understand these concepts. It takes a while for people to master
these concepts. A highly educated L2? learner will likely progress faster
academically in a second language than a fluent native speaker of that?
language with limited academic education, for the same reason. This is observed
regularly in universities all over the US. highly educated foreign students who
acqu ired English as L2 recently will do better than their English speaking
counterparts in academic tasks in English. Jim Cummins has articulated this
clearly with his BICS and CALPS.



In our program at El Paso Community College we have found evidence of this. We
stopped doing literacy ESL a while back for this reason. The college has an
academic ESL program. Instead of doing ESL literacy we started offering Spanish
Literacy and GED many years ago since the vast majority of our students are
Spanish speakers. Once our students acquire their Spanish GED they transition
into the ESL program and do better than those students who don't have L1
academic skills. Even if takes them a while to acquire the L1 literacy, they
will do better. Those with no L1 literacy often stay in ESL forever and they
drop out, start again in another program, drop out and continue the same
pattern. I think that this happens because of the mixture of academically ready
students and those that are not ready, since most ESL programs focus on
traditional academics. For L1 low literacy students to be able to progress in
L2 there has to be a program specifically designed for them that teache s
skills in L2 in new and innovative ways without interference from academically
skilled L1 students. Right now we don't have a system that systematically does
this, and the WIA/NRS system prevents this form happening.



Hope that this makes sense,



Andres













?









?






-----Original Message-----

From: Jackie Coelho <jackie.coelho at gmail.com>

To: The Assessment Discussion List <assessment at nifl.gov>

Sent: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 5:01 am

Subject: [Assessment 1128] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or
Comments?!









Forrest,









?? I like the idea of separate classes for those
with a literacy background and those without. These two groups have such
different needs. Having both in the class make it difficult for a teacher to
meet the needs of either group well and I find that often the stronger students
dominate the class, and their drive push the teacher forward. If the instructor
does not keep up with the students who are learning at a faster rate, they
often become frustrated and leave or mentally check out. However, if the
instructor keeps up with those students, the others are unable to keep up and
they get frustrated.









? I think that literacy could perhaps be separated out.
And regardless of how you do it, well-trained instructors are essential.









Jackie



?









On 2/5/08, Forrest Chisman
<forrest at crosslink.net> wrote:













To all of you
who commented on level of prior education as a factor in student performance:









?









Everyone with
whom Jodi Crandall and I talked believes that more highly educated students do
better in terms of ?persistence, learning gains, and transitions. And
learning theory would lead us to expect this. Regrettably we found very little
hard data about how much difference prior education makes, because too few
programs track the level of prior education of their students and correlate it
with outcomes. DO any of you do this? That is, do you have any data on HOW MUCH
difference level of prior education makes? Or any strong impressions? And are there
"cut points" in prior education that seem to make a difference --
e.g. students who are completely illiterate, students who at least reached high
school, high school graduates, college graduates, etc. -- ?or is level of
prior education pretty much of a continuum?









?









More
importantly, what can programs DO to narrow the gap between highly educated
students and those with less prior education? Presumably students with very low
levels of education are more likely end up in the lower level ESL courses
(Literacy or Low-Beginning levels) why are (almost by definition) ?in the
business of teaching basic literacy and sometimes math. Why isn't this enough?
In your experience, does the "gap" exist at these levels too, or
mainly at higher levels? At any levels, would it be desirable to place less
highly educated students in separate classes from those with more education and
adjust the curriculum/support systems for them accordingly? Some programs have
tried "native language literacy" or the Spanish GED. What has been
the experience of any of you with these approaches? Any other ideas? IS there
an adult ESL equivalent of "bi-lingual education" that should be
tried?









?









It seems to me
that we need to come up with better ideas. Because the people who study
immigration tell us that the level of education of immigrants has been falling.
And if Immigration Reform mandates large numbers of undocumented people to
"learn English" (whatever that means), ESL programs may be swamped
with students who have very little education in their native countries and too
little money to serve them. ?So anyone who has any ideas about how to
bridge this "education gap" could help us a lot by posting ideas
about how to close it on this discussion list.









?









Forrest Chisman









Vice President









CAAL









?









??









?












From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov
[mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Tina_Luffman at yc.edu

Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:32 PM

To: The Assessment Discussion List

Subject: [Assessment 1109] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or
Comments?!















?











Hi Jackie,



Thank you for this information. I believe this
research must be what my former Spanish teacher was basing her argument on for
bilingual education in the K-12 school system.



Tina



Tina Luffman

Coordinator, Developmental Education

Verde Valley Campus

928-634-6544

tina_luffman at yc.edu















"Jackie Coelho"
<jackie.coelho at gmail.com>

Sent by: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov







02/05/2008 11:13 AM











Please respond to

The Assessment Discussion List <assessment at nifl.gov>




















To








"The Assessment
Discussion List" <assessment at nifl.gov>













cc














Subject








[Assessment 1108] Re:
{Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or ? ? ?
?Comments?!













?







































Hi Tina,



This has been researched already and
is the basis for the arguement in

favor of bilingual education, a good
idea that was not implemented in

the best way. For many years people
have known that a good foundation

in literacy in the first language
will facilitate learning in a second

or third language.



Another interesting twist is the
existence of languages that are not written.



Jackie





On 2/5/08, Tina_Luffman at yc.edu <Tina_Luffman at yc.edu> wrote:


> Hi list members,



>



> My experience teaching ELAA

students in the GED class is similar to that of


> Gail. If the student has a solid

educational background in the country they


> came from in their native

language, they tend to advance rather quickly and


> get their GED. Those coming with

6th grade educations from their country or


> lower tend to stay in the GED

class for years and do not make much


> advancement.



>



> This experience relates well to

research done among Native American tribes


> teaching them English. Those

Native Americans who were first taught literacy


> skills in their own tongue

learned English much quicker than those who tried


> to learn literacy skills in

English without that background in their own


> tongue. I also found similar

problems when I was learning Spanish. The


> concepts I could mentally

translate from English to Spanish were much easier


> to grasp and learn than those I

didn't know in English. Perhaps this is


> something deserving more

research.


>



> Tina



> Tina Luffman



> Coordinator, Developmental Education



> Verde Valley Campus



> 928-634-6544



> tina_luffman at yc.edu



>



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

wrote: -----


>



> To: "The Assessment

Discussion List" <assessment at nifl.gov>


> From: "Gail Burnett"

<gburnett at sanford.org>


> Sent by: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov



> Date: 02/04/2008 06:34PM



> Subject: [Assessment 1104]

{Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or


> Comments?!



>



>



> Warning: This message has had

one or more attachments removed


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> Warning: Please read the

"AttachmentWarning.txt" attachment(s) for more


> information.



>



> In our small adult education

program, my experience (just about three years)


> is that students with solid

educational backgrounds advance, particularly if


> they're not working too many

hours. Those who advance the slowest, if at


> all, are immigrants who are

barely literate in their first language. I would


> say that lack of education is a

bigger factor than lack of time; a student


> who works full-time and is

exhausted often will still succeed because he/she


> is familiar with academic work,

and is goal-oriented. What we do is try to


> get our low-level students to

come up with goals, but that's a hard concept


> in a second language.



>



> This does not mean that the

factors mentioned in the research don't play a


> part, though. I'm one of those

barely-trained teachers (transitioned from


> another career, got trained

mainly through workshops rather than classes).


> My skill level very well may

contribute to students' slow advancement. It's


> hard for small adult education

programs to get highly skilled ESL teachers.


> The pay is low and there are no

benefits. But my program is encouraging me


> to get extra training and has me

on a plan of improvement. I think we're


> making some progress.



>



> Does this address any of the issues?

And am I submitting it right?


>



> ________________________________



>



> From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on

behalf of Marie Cora


> Sent: Mon 2/4/2008 6:50 PM



> To: Assessment at nifl.gov



> Subject: [Assessment 1103] No

Questions or Comments?!


>



>



> Hello everyone,



>



> I'm so surprised! ?No one

has anything to comment on regarding your


> program's 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



>



>



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