[Assessment 1177] Re: {Dangerous Content?} assessments

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Schneider, Jim jschneider at eicc.edu
Fri Feb 8 10:30:45 EST 2008


CASAS is the assessment of choice (mandated) in Iowa. If teachers and
learners buy into competency-based instruction, the CASAS assessments
have some utility. The short-comings and artificiality of standardized
tests seem to be amplified with the ESL.

The reading and listening tests fall short of providing a comprehensive
useful assessment of the student's abilities at orientation. We offer
three levels in the morning, beginning, intermediate, and advanced, with
the placement being done using their writing (application), speaking and
listening (initial interview questions), and reading (based on the
literacy demonstrated with the application and interview).

However, due to the mix of skills, the beginning and intermediate are
really blended multi-level classes with some beginners who can read, but
struggle with speech and writing, and some intermediate who can speak
very clearly, but struggle with the reading and writing and virtually
every other possible combination.

Similarly, teachers and students have been frustrated with the lack of
progress in post-testing as well as the inconsistency of the scores.
Those students that bring high literacy skills to the class tend to have
fairly consistent scores. Those who are not as literate (and are a
growing population in ESL) can swing up and down the scaled score
throughout the year with little rhyme or reason.

Bottom line - CASAS works well for the standardization required by NRS,
but is not as powerful or useful in regard to teaching and learning as
one would like.

Jim Schneider

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Forrest Chisman
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 8:16 PM
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List'
Subject: [Assessment 1170] Re: {Dangerous Content?} assessments

Gail,

Good question!!!!!!!!!! I'd be interested in the replies. Because CASAS
is MANDATED in many states, and most programs don't want to use more
than one assessment (because of limited time for testing and fear of
over-testing).
What do you all think of CASAS for ESL?

Forrest

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Gail Burnett
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 7:08 PM
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Subject: [Assessment 1162] {Dangerous Content?} assessments

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information.

All the discussion on this list (the first I've ever joined) has been
fascinating. I have a question I haven't seen addressed. Someone said
that the BEST-Plus is the only valid kind of test for ESL learners. What
does anyone think of the CASAS? That's what we use with our adult
students, both ELLs and native speakers. I know it wasn't designed for
ESL use but it does use real-life material (road maps, pay stubs, store
signs, etc.) and I think that's good. What has always bothered me is
that it's taken silently. That doesn't seem right for our lower level
students, who rarely make many gains.
I wonder if it's considered valid for them or not. I know that other ESL
programs do use it.

Thanks.


-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Thu 2/7/2008 5:57 PM
To: assessment at nifl.gov
Subject: Assessment Digest, Vol 29, Issue 28

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Today's Topics:

1. [Assessment 1160] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions
or Comments?! (Jodi Crandall)


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

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 17:22:49 -0500
From: Jodi Crandall <crandall at umbc.edu>
Subject: [Assessment 1160] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions
or Comments?!
To: "Forrest Chisman" <forrest at crosslink.net>
Cc: 'The Assessment Discussion List' <assessment at nifl.gov>
Message-ID: <076B1938-8827-49B0-9890-3DA0BC4C3641 at umbc.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Forrest,

I'm not sure yet that I know the question, but here goes ...

I don't know of community college programs now that continue to separate
out literacy level students after the actual literacy class. Does
anyone else>

When I mentioned higher levels of prior education, in this context, I
didn't mean college-educated students, but those with closer to a high
school education n their own countries. These are the students that we
used to believe were the main students that we served, not the literacy
level students who are increasingly being enrolled in our classes.

For highly educated individuals, those with college degrees in their own
countries, most of the programs that I know seek to transition these
students into more academic ESL programs at the intermediate levels. In
fact, some community colleges, like the English for Academic Purposes
College of Lake County, that we studied, created a seamless transition
from noncredit to credit academic ESL courses by working backwards from
the credit expectations and then aligning the intermediate level
noncredit ESL to them.

City College, as you know, provides accelerated ESL classes (two terms
in
one) for more educated students, since they are likely to be able to
make faster progress.


Jodi

On Feb 6, 2008, at 5:52 PM, Forrest Chisman wrote:


> Jodi,

>

> I think you misunderstood me (as usual) :-). My question wasn't about

> separating out literacy level students. I agree most programs do that.

> My question was about the other practice from the 1980's you mention

> -- separate classes for students with higher levels of prior education



> ABOVE the literacy level.

>

> Forrest

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-

> bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall

> Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 3:10 PM

> To: The Assessment Discussion List

> Subject: [Assessment 1139] Re: {Dangerous Content?} RE: No Questions

> or Comments?!

>

> Jackie and Forrest,

>

> I think most large programs separate literacy level students from

> others who are at a beginning level. I know that back in the 1980s

> when there were large refugee ESL programs, several community colleges



> created parallel ESL classes for the beginning levels and even into

> intermediate levels, with one set of classes for students with limited



> literacy or prior schooling and another for more educated students.

> The reason was that the students with less education made slower

> progress. Some of this is undoubtedly due to the way in which we

> teach English (requiring literacy), but it is also because students

> need to become accustomed to attending classes, learning to hold and

> use a pen or pencil, and a wide range of basic skills that come with

> being a student in a class.

>

> Those of you who have separate classes for those who need

> literacy: Can

> you tell us what kind of classes or program you provide?

>

> Those who teach both literacy and more educated learners in the same

> class: Can you let us know how you manage? What are some ways in

> which you accommodate both sets of needs?

>

> Jodi

>> 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

>>>> <marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>> 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

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>>>> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

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

>>>> Email delivered to tina_luffman at yc.edu

>>>>

>>>>

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

>>>> National Institute for Literacy

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

>>>> Email delivered to jackie.coelho at gmail.com

>>>>

>>>>

>>>>

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

>>> National Institute for Literacy

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>>>

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

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>> Email delivered to crandall at umbc.edu

>>

>

>

> --

> 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

>

>

>

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

> National Institute for Literacy

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> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to

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> Email delivered to forrest at crosslink.net

>

>


JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Professor and Director
Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. Program Director, Peace Corps
Master's Intl Program in ESOL/Bilingual Education University of Maryland
Baltimore County 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore, MD 21250
tel: 410-455-2313
fax: 410-455-8947
eml: crandall at umbc.edu




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