[Assessment 1140] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

Forrest Chisman forrest at crosslink.net
Wed Feb 6 15:22:32 EST 2008


Andres,



I certainly agree with what you say about the limits of WIA/NRS. And I'm
glad your students progress so fast. But what percent of them earn the
Spanish GED? Also I'm not sure what happens to them then. Although El Paso
may be a Spanish=speaking community, our discussion here is about how to
teach students English. Having attained a Spanish GED, do your students then
take ESL classes? If so, how many of your students take ESL classes, and how
far do they advance in learning English BY ANY MEASURE?



Certainly the mix of skills that should be taught in non-credit ESL is an
arguable topic. As I understand it, most programs teach "life skills"
English at the non-credit level. They try to use the sorts of topics that
Elsa and Heide advocate as the content for teaching a progression of English
"academic skills" (reading, grammar, speaking, etc.) up to about what (by
tests made for native speakers) would be about the 9th grade level. Both
"life skills" and more "academic skills" are presumed to be "portable
skills" needed in an English speaking country. Programs do this in different
ways. Some use a set curriculum; others use a more "Frerian" approach to
insure the content is relevant to student interests/needs --(see the profile
of Yakima Valley Community College in our "Torchlights" publication). I'm
not sure why you find this approach problematic. Can you elaborate?



I think you are right to raise the question of what the "terminal goal" of
ESL should be. It's a question too seldom discussed. What do others think
about it? My impression is that the terminal goal of most programs is rarely
the English GED (although it is at Yakima - and a significant percentage
reach it). Insofar as most have a "terminal goal" in mind it seems to be to
help students "do better" at life and in work in an English-speaking
environment. Effectively, students decide how much "better" is enough,
because students "vote with their feet" when they think they have learned
enough (or run out of free time and interest). But if "terminal goals" are
entirely student-centered, it is hard to assess the success of ESL
programs -- how much they benefit students. Anything goes! Hence most
programs I know also define success as progression up a series of levels of
English proficiency - the more progress the better. I've encountered few
people who have a problem with this general concept of "success" (although
it has no singular "terminal goal"). But many people have trouble with the
standardized tests that measure it. Often locally developed tests are used
to get around this problem.



For SOME colleges a secondary "terminal goal" is entry to and success in
credit courses (or VESL programs) taught in English. This isn't a hard
"terminal goal" to measure and has LARGE economic and other rewards, if it
is attained. Thus I, for one, believe there should be more emphasis on it.




What do other people think of Andres' posting? Am I off base here? And how
do you all think "success" by a student in ESL should be defined and/or
measured? It seems to me that unless ESL programs aren't clear about what
counts as "success," students may not be either. And that may contribute to
low persistence and learning gains.



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 2:05 PM
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Subject: [Assessment 1137] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or
Comments?!



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
<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

> Warning: (not named).

> 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>

mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

> NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

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

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

>

>

> This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended

> solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

> If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

> This message contains confidential information and is intended only for

the

> individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not

> disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail.

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

> 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>

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

> Email delivered to tina_luffman at yc.edu

>

>

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

> 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>

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

> Email delivered to jackie.coelho at gmail.com

>

>

>

-------------------------------
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>
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment
Email delivered to tina_luffman at yc.edu



-------------------------------
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 jackie.coelho at gmail.com



-------------------------------



























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 andresmuro at aol.com
_____


More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail
<http://o.aolcdn.com/cdn.webmail.aol.com/mailtour/aol/en-us/text.htm?ncid=ao
lcmp00050000000003> !

-------------------------------






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 andresmuro at aol.com
_____


More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail
<http://o.aolcdn.com/cdn.webmail.aol.com/mailtour/aol/en-us/text.htm?ncid=ao
lcmp00050000000003> !

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/assessment/attachments/20080206/ebb47c1a/attachment.html