[Assessment 1144] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

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andresmuro at aol.com andresmuro at aol.com
Wed Feb 6 18:01:26 EST 2008



Forrest:

Regarding GED completion, we have pretty good completion rate. On average it is about 70%. We graduate an average of 200 students a year in our GED Spanish program. Regarding what happens to them after they earn the GED, approximately 30% go to college and another 30% find jobs. Others don't go either route because their legal status or other barriers don't allow them too. We have been trying to track the ones that go to college ESL classes. We have found that a minority finish and continue to go beyond ESL and some have earned associate and Baccalaureate degrees so far. Others don't finish. However, their barriers are not academic. In other words, the majority excel academically in credit ESL but stop attending for different reasons. The advantage of having a GED and being ready for college ESL is that it is a lifelong learning opportunity. If they stay in the program, they will likely do well. On the other hand if they stop half way through, at least they will have credits that will allow them to continue in the future. The GED regardless of the language it is on, it is a door to employment. Employers don't ask what language is the GED in and most GED certificates do not specify it. Also, A GED certificate is one of the possible ways to demonstrate ability to benefit to qualify for financial aid with the feds.

The way I see it is that success in ABE or college for most of our students depends on many factors beyond purely academic aspects. So, we need to create meaningful outcomes within a short period of time. For those that can acquire native language literacy and work towards a GED there are meaningful outcomes within a short period of time. One thing that helps that Spanish GED students that I forgot to mention is that they can work towards elementary and secondary certificates form Mexico. These provide meaningful intermediate outcomes in the process towards earning the GED.

For those that need literacy ESL and cannot work towards meaningful certificates in their native language, they need to work towards meaningful outcomes that will facilitate community participation as well as language.  Again, there are multiple models for doing this. However, we need to train teachers to works towards meaningful outcomes that have validity for the students. Completion of literacy ESL, begining ESL or intermediate ESL is meaningless.

Andres




-----Original Message-----
From: Forrest Chisman <forrest at crosslink.net>
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List' <assessment at nifl.gov>
Sent: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 1:22 pm
Subject: [Assessment 1140] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

























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]
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>



> NIFL Assessment Discussion List

Moderator


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



>



>



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