[Assessment 1175] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!

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Ted Klein taklein at austin.rr.com
Fri Feb 8 09:48:51 EST 2008


Andres,

I'm not too sure that some of your perspectives haven't been somewhat altered by living in El Paso. I say that with total respect for El Paso and for your answer. Let me explain. First, I've lived in Texas most of my life, except for some time overseas. I know just about all of our border towns, from El Paso to Brownsville. I've also lived in nine countries outside of the United States and traveled perhaps in twenty more. AXIOM: All over the world, border towns are different from other towns. Persons, regardless of ancestry, who live in border towns anywhere tend to be bicultural and bilingual. They also tend to identify with each other on close levels as being a well-made "tossed salad." If most or all of your students plan to stay in El Paso for the rest of their lives, I totally agree with what you say. However, if they want to go to cities north of the border area; Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston, Waco, or out of state, then the picture changes. I am almost as comfortable in Spanish as I am in English and have dealt with persons from every country in Latin America comfortably and successfully, as well as Spain. However, I do not represent anything close to a majority, particularly when it comes to having a business. When persons go for job interviews in non-border towns, being truly bilingual is a great asset and can even result in higher pay and better opportunities. That is true for Spanish speakers and English speakers. However, most of your persons who have had to take the GED in Spanish are not truly bilingual. That's a fact and when they go for a job interview, the human resources person doesn't need paperwork to know that there may be communication problems with clients and on the telephone. The fact is that life is short. However it is long enough for persons to spend a couple of more years acquiring English if it gives them more options in life. Again, if they plan to spend their lives in a border town, this may not be a problem at all.

Three years ago, my wife and I and one of our colleagues, took an ESL teaching gig at a cookie factory in Austin. Quite a few of their employees did not speak English and the company wanted to fix that situation. There were 27 persons who had volunteered to take English classes at work, maybe six hours a week. The first problem was how to determine divisions of 27 students among three teachers. I got out a brief "test" that I had used to determine readiness for the ALCPT tests in the past.

Here is a copy:

ORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE



Block 2 Ted Klein



Questions marked with an asterisk * are mandatory. Of the remaining questions, ten should be selected at random. Speech of the interviewer will be at normal speed and clarity, with NO exaggeration.



1. What is your name please?* -----------------------------------------------------------------------



2. Where are you from?* -------



3. What part of XXXXXXX are you from?-------



4. What is your native language? -------



5. How long have you been in America? -------



6. Do you read English?* -------



7. Did you study English in your country? -------



8. How long did you study English? -------



9. Are you enjoying the U.S.A? -------



10. What do you like here? -------



11. Is there anything that you don't like? -------



12. Have you studied any other languages besides English? -------



13. Why do you want to learn English? -------



14. How many years of education have you had? -------



15. Do you have any hobbies? What are they? -------



16. Do you have any American friends to practice English with? -------



17. Do you work? Where? -------



18. What are your plans for the future? -------



19. Why did you come to America? -------



20. Do you have any questions for me? -------





Mark responses: 0 no answer. 0+ telegraphic/very simple response.

1 simple, but complete response. 1+ functional and clear response.

2 somewhat elaborate, fairly clear and mostly grammatical response.



Interviewees with ten or more answers in the 1+ to 2 range should be ready to take a written

proficiency test of listening and reading skills. Non-readers are excluded. (ref: Ques. 6)


The three of us interviewed the 27 candidates together. 19 out of the 27 were not able to answer the second question: e.g. (Teacher) Where are you from?
(Candidate) ¿Mande? (Teacher) Where are you from? ¿Como? (Teacher) Are you from Mexico? (Candidate) México, "jes." One answered, "México, no, Peru sí."

The 8 students who were able to answer that question and maybe four or five more questions were assigned to an "advanced class." The others were split into two groups. What happened here? Many of these persons had lived in Austin for some time. Some for up to ten years. Most had families. The families naturally used Spanish at home, even their children who spoke English at school. They had Spanish-speaking supervisors. They watched television in Spanish. They ate at Mexican restaurants. They went to Spanish-speaking doctors. 95% of their friends were Hispanic. In plain language, if they wanted to stay at the cookie factory, making cookies, they didn't need English, although the company preferred that they know English for upward mobility. This program went on for three or four months.The company merged and our program ended. We did not use Spanish in class. In early training I use materials that I developed based on some of the old "direct methods;" picture flashcards, Cuisenaire rods, etc. and we also concentrated strongly on English sounds, particularly listening and identification. The program went surprisingly well and many of the students were very disappointed when it ended. They had already found some new places to go and some were acquiring English-speaking friends.

So what is the good news? Several of our former students have entered the Austin Community College AE program and are doing well. One of them is in my class now. She has a child and often works at night at the cookie factory. Sometimes she comes in looking very tired, but she's surviving. She wants to be a Certified Nursing Assistant. She'll make it! She plans to take the GED in English next year and enter the Nursing Program at ACC. Most of her future patients will not be bilingual and she will be ready for them.

That's about it.

Ted
www.tedklein-ESL.com

----- Original Message -----
From: andresmuro at aol.com
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 12:02 PM
Subject: [Assessment 1153] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!


Ted:

How would the employer know the language that Julian took the GED in?
In most states the certificate does not tell you the Language. Texas is one of the few states that tells you the language. However, it is so hard to find that most people wouldn't even know. I have a hard time finding the language reference even though I have seen millions of certificates. Fact is most employers don't even know that people can take the GED in anything other than English, don't ask and do not scrutinize certificates to figure out scores, language, etc. A few might, but the majority don't. For low literacy Spanish speakers it may take them a couple of years to be ready to take the GED in Spanish. It make take them 2 more years to be ready for the English GED. Would you rather hold them two more years. They can take the GED in Spanish and continue to study English. Once they have sufficient English, they can decide if they want to take it in English or to move on to other things.

Andres





-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Klein <taklein at austin.rr.com>
To: The Assessment Discussion List <assessment at nifl.gov>
Sent: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 6:58 am
Subject: [Assessment 1150] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!


Jodi and Andres,

There is one very real problem with taking the GED in Spanish that I'm aware of. If you have two immigrants, Roberto and Juán, and they both apply for the same job and if Juán took the GED in Spanish and Roberto took it in English, guess who gets the job?
Yes, life isn't fair, but most U.S. businesses prefer persons who have gone "all the way" with English. My students and I have discussed this and they have seen or know of this situation with their friends and family members. That is why many AE students remain longer in our ESL classes. Of course in many border towns, this may not be as important since many of the employers are Hispanic or are native speakers of English who are functional in Spanish. However, many customers of the businesses will need to use English.

In my current class in Austin, Texas with eleven students, five different languages are spoken. Should we offer the GED in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Juba as well as Spanish?


Ted
www.tedklein-ESL.com



----- Original Message -----
From: andresmuro at aol.com
To: crandall at umbc.edu ; assessment at nifl.gov
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 5:21 PM
Subject: [Assessment 1146] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!


Jodi:

The credit ESL program in the college is very academic. However it provides students with financial aid and other goodies. We feel that the students will not do well in a credit academic ESL program until they have a level comparable to GED in their native language. Also, a GED certificate is a way to demonstrate ability to benefit to qualify for financial aid. Those students who get into the credit ESL program without native language literacy don't do well.

Students can attend other ESL classes in the community while they are attending our classes. We stopped providing ESL because of limited funding to provide what we would consider meaningful ESL. Also, our Spanish GED program is fairly intensive and our students would not have enough time to attend an additional program. We have a few students who may be attending our classes and an ESL class concurrently. Those are a minority

The truth is that we started as an ESL literacy program many years ago. There was virtually no funding for literacy ESL unless it had all kind of testing requirements. Also, it is very hard to train teachers to be really good at ESL. The system that encourages large number of untrained part timers prevents this from happening.

I know that a lot of people in these listservs claim exemplary service and illustrate with examples of what they have done. I don't doubt that their claims are 100% true. However, we are in the minority. If I could get you and Heide and Elsa and Andy Nash and Leonore and Deborah Schwartz, and Anson Green and Federico and others to be my ESL teachers, I would have the best program in the world. However, the fact is that in addition to the barriers that ESL students face in their daily lives, plus the bureaucratic and assessment barriers that the system creates for teachers and students, plus the difficulty hiring and retaining highly qualified ESL staff makes it very difficult to have a successful ESL program.

I feel that until we get rid of WIA/NRS it will be tough to create good stuff in a systematic way.

Andres







-----Original Message-----
From: JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall <crandall at umbc.edu>
To: The Assessment Discussion List <assessment at nifl.gov>
Sent: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 1:27 pm
Subject: [Assessment 1141] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions or Comments?!


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,



>



>



> ?? 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:



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>



>



>



>



>



>



> 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



>



>



>



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>



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>



>



>



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



>



> Sent by: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov



>



>



> 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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> To



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



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> cc



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> Subject



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



> ?Comments?!



>



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> ?



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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/

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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
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment
Email delivered to andresmuro at aol.com


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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
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