[Assessment 1141] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

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JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall crandall at umbc.edu
Wed Feb 6 15:27:05 EST 2008


Andres,

It is great that you provide Spanish language literacy and GED classes for
your students. There's no question that native language literacy
contributes not just to the development of the first language, but also to
English language development when students take oral ESL classes. There
is some research in this area by Michele Burtoff with Haitians in the U.S.
and there is a lot of research (see especially research by David Ramirez
which compares children who had 6, 3 or no years of bilingual education)
that shows that providing bilingual education not only has all the
benefits that would be expected, but students also achieve in English as
well or better than those who only had instruction in English.

We also found that Spanish GED classes had large numbers of students at
the colleges, since students who take the GED in Spanish are able to
bypass the need for extensive ESL just to get this credential. They might
want to take ESL as well, but the desire for the GED is often for
work-related reasons. I'm not clear on why you ask students to wait until
after they have passed the GED to take ESL classes. Can you tell us a
little more about that?

Of course not all students who enroll in adult ESL are Spanish speakers
and there may not be enough who speak any language to provide literacy
classes for them in their own language, but programs might try to partner
with immigrant or refugee-related community-based organizations which
could reach more students and also identify someone to provide the
instruction. Still, there will be students who will not be able to take
literacy classes in their own languages and for them, a separate ESL
literacy class seems to be the best option.

It would be great to hear from others about their experiences both with
first language (Spanish and other languages) literacy classes, Spanish GED
classes, and literacy ESL classes.

How do you place students in your literacy classes? Do you use a
standardized test or do you have informal ways of determining if someone
would be better served in a literacy ESL class?


Jodi


>

> 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

> acquired English as L2 recently will do better than their Eng

> lish 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

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> -----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?!

>

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> Forrest,

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> ?? 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

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> ?

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

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> To all of you who commented on level of prior education as a factor in

> student performance:

>

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> ?

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> 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?

>

>

>

> ?

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> 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.

>

>

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> ?

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> Forrest Chisman

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> Vice President

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> CAAL

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> ?

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> ??

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> 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?!

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> ?

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> 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

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

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> Sent by: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov

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> 02/05/2008 11:13 AM

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> Please respond to

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

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

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> cc

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

> ?Comments?!

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> 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>

>

>> NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

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

>

>>

>>

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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