[Assessment 1196] Re: Observation checklist

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Mary Jane Jerde mjjerdems at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 8 14:30:37 EST 2008


I don't know if it's still available, but the basic paper BEST or the scale scored BEST Plus could help avoid social promotion. You need people who are trained in either and have not worked with a particular student being interviewed. The training for the old fashioned BEST is not too complicated, especially if you don't need scale scores.

A similar test is possible to homemake, just set standards for a point system, just a few points for grammar or fluency for a number of questions using pictures. Don't allow giving the students feedback for the test. Use some "gold" standard students to help set the levels by numbers, students that are commonly agreed to be at certain levels in the two skill areas.

Mary Jane Jerde

Jodi Crandall <crandall at umbc.edu> wrote: Kevin,

Unfortunately, social promotion is always a danger.


Since your standardized exams for reading/writing and grammar classes have proved to be so helpful in helping students to be in classes at the right level, are you thinking of developing a listening/speaking test as well?


I wonder whether any other programs have developed or identified a listening/speaking test that they could describe or recommend?


Jodi
On Feb 8, 2008, at 10:03 AM, Hinkle, Robert wrote:

Jodi,

At Raritan Valley since my arrival five years ago, we have put in place homemade standardized exit exams for grammar and reading/writing classes at each level so that we have some way of ensuring that students with different instructors enter the next level with approximately the same skill level. We did that because many instructors engaged in social promotion. The exit exams have improved the consistency of the program and helped even out the skill level within classes.

We still have the social promotion problem with the listening/speaking classe because there is no standardized assessment, and instructors sometimes pass students who really do not have the requisite level. In fact, some students have complained that the listening/speaking courses are a waste of time because they have classmates in an upper level class who have great difficulty speaking.

Even though we have course outlines with clearly defined learning outcomes, my experience has taught me to be wary of the open-ended concept of professional wisdom. That sometimes morphs into a misguided belief that passing unprepared students is somehow constructive.


Kevin



---------------------------------
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Sent: Thu 2/7/2008 8:45 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1149] Re: Observation checklist


Ted,

Did you use an oral proficiency interview at the Defense Language
Institute? If so, how log did it take to administer to each student? I
think time is a real barrier to most adult ESL/ESOL programs. Thus, they
use tests that can be administered to students as a group and easily
evaluated.

For some college programs for international students, a whole range of
tests are used for placement, including a writing sample, a reading test,
and an oral interview. Clearly that's more possible with smaller numbers
of students who are also paying for the classes.

What do you think is needed in the way of tests? In Passing the Torch,
Forrest and I point to assessment as a major issue facing all the colleges
we studied. We recommend the development of a test of all four skills
that, if possible, could be administered and scored in a reasonable amount
of time.

Have you tried the BEST Plus test? What has been your experience with
that test?

I agree that for placement at literacy levels, a simple test developed by
a program might be sufficient.

I also think that for progress through the levels, student achievement in
the previous class, as judged by the instructor ("professional wisdom"),
is still the best determiner of whether a student is ready to go to the
next level.

Jodi



> Jodi,

>

> Same here! As long as the BEST Test is used to show gains, I'm afraid that

> there isn't much chance that REAL gains could be charted and compared. It

> is used too often to measure progress and is not as good for that purpose

> as one would hope. Really valid proficiency tests are the only way to

> prove the point. Achievement tests don't tell much in terms of overall

> progress. I would also guess that it would take a minimum of 120 hours of

> solid training to have a measureable level with any test that one could

> play numbers with. Other factors including attendance, etc. would have to

> be factored in. Adults have families and jobs in the way of total

> dedication to attendance. Also, one would have to have a test in which

> human judgment would play a small role. The BEST is fine for its original

> purpose, which was to place persons with others at their same levels of

> communication. Good measurement is the only way to prove anything. I often

> rely on plain old gut instincts to figure how things are really going. I

> know that's not very scientific.

>

> Cheers, Ted

> www.tedklein-ESL.com

>

>

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

> From: "JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall" <crandall at umbc.edu>

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

> Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:05 PM

> Subject: [Assessment 1138] Re: Observation checklist

>

>

> Hi, Ted. Glad to make contact again.

>

> I definitely agree that smaller classes are more likely to bring learner

> gains, especially in language, since students will have more opportunity

> to speak when there are fewer students. I didn't know about the DLI

> policy, but it is a good one. The problem with adult ESL classes, I fear,

> is that there is such limited money available that programs would find it

> difficult to keep class size to these numbers.

>

> Has anyone tried to reduce class size and chart the learning gains? If

> so, please share with us all. It might be that this would be a good

> investment. If students in smaller classes make faster gains, then there

> would be more spaces available as these students transitioned to other

> classes or the workforce.

>

> Jodi

>

> Hi Jodi,

>>

>> Greetings from Lake Travis in Texas. We met a couple of times in the

>> past,

>> I think at least once when you visited the Defense Language Institute

>> English Language Center in San Antonio and at TESOL. The reason I

>> mention

>> DLI is that it represents a language program with little leeway to fail.

>> I

>> spent 20 years from 1968-1988 with them. Their mission was/is to train

>> allied and friendly military personnel worldwide in general and

>> specialized English. Most students start ESL in their home countries

>> with

>> DLIELC personnel advising, and in some cases teaching, in these overseas

>> military language centers. It may still be the largest language program

>> in

>> the world. Students after reaching certain levels go to Lackland Air

>> Force

>> Base in San Antonio, complete their general English, usually go through

>> specialized terminology and then on to whatever training their country

>> needs with the U.S. military. Students have run the full gamut from

>> recruits and NCO's up to generals and admirals. This is a very tightly

>> organized "well-packaged" language program with predictable training

>> times

>> and results.

>>

>> Here's why I bring you this background. The rule of thumb while I was at

>> at DLI on class sizes was 8 students optimum and 10 maximum. This was

>> rarely broken. However, once in a while a higher headquarters' bean

>> counter would calculate that if a mere two or three students could be

>> added to a class, voila, look at the money we would save! This money

>> came

>> both from foreign governments and Uncle Sam. DLI would argue and then

>> try

>> it, I believe several times over the years. However, in an organization

>> that has a very effective testing system; both achievement and

>> proficiency, it was soon noticed that the scores were going down, just

>> enough so that they could prove that no money was being saved on teacher

>> salaries and other expenses. I spent three years with the Royal Thai

>> Navy

>> for DLI as language training advisor and remember having to twist arms

>> with the RTN Navy Education Department with the same problem. They

>> wanted

>> 15 in a class.

>>

>> Here's what I suggest. I accept these numbers and know during my last

>> eight years of teaching adult immigrants that my best classes have

>> consistently been smaller. My students average around 9-11. If an

>> organization is stuck with a low budget, make the hours of training per

>> week lower, but keep the class sizes within 10 or so students. Fewer

>> hours

>> of really effective training are certainly better than large classes

>> where

>> the student attention level and collegiality are reduced. I remember

>> Mary

>> Finocchiaro saying years ago that she didn't care how many students were

>> in her classroom, she would teach them! Unfortunately, most of us just

>> aren't THAT dynamic.

>>

>> Cheers, Ted

>> www.tedklein-ESL.com

>>

>>

>>

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

>> From: "JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall" <crandall at umbc.edu>

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

>> Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 9:23 PM

>> Subject: [Assessment 1125] Re: Observation checklist

>>

>>

>> Usha,

>>

>> I'm not sure where Ted came up with that number. Ted, is it your

>> experience that with more than 10 students, learning decreases? If so,

>> how do you fund that number? I think a lot of people would be

>> interested

>> in ways to decrease class size.

>>

>> It's more typical to have larger classes because of the funding

>> constraints you talk about. With more students, it becomes more

>> important

>> to involve them in activities in which all get to participate, which

>> means

>> less teacher talk and more student interaction. But even small classes

>> need that.

>>

>> What do others feel about the "ideal class size"?

>>

>> You have also identified some of the major reasons adults drop out of

>> classes (or opt out, only to return at a later date). Do any of you

>> keep

>> records of your students that would identify those who do return? Do

>> you

>> have any idea of whether they have tried to continue learning English

>> outside of the classroom and how they did this? I don't know of any

>> research about adult English Language Learners in this area, but there

>> is

>> an ongoing study by Stephen Reder and others at Portland State

>> University

>> following adult literacy level students for several years. They have

>> identified some ways in which adults continue learning outside of the

>> classroom and also that some of these learners come back to classes

>> after

>> being out of them for some time.

>>

>> Providing support services is always a challenge. Have any of you been

>> able to partner with other organizations to reduce the cost of these

>> services to your program? What kinds of partnerships have been most

>> effective? If you teach in a community college, have your students had

>> access to the various support services provided to other students?

>>

>> Several of you have talked about the differences in progress made by

>> students with more advanced education and those who are at literacy

>> level.

>> Because literacy level students take longer in making progress, most

>> programs provide separate classes for literacy level students and

>> literate

>> beginners. Those learners with limited formal schooling and literacy

>> will

>> need more time to make progress. I'm going to ask Forrest to talk about

>> what he and Steve Spurling and Sharon Seymour found out about

>> persistence

>> of literacy level students and their learning gains.

>>

>> Students with advanced education in their own language may be able to

>> have

>> a condensed program since they are already experienced as students and

>> often have high motivation to get through English so that they can take

>> courses related to their previous or future career. City College of San

>> Francisco offers an "accelerated course" in which 2 semesters worth of

>> work is taught during one. Do any of your programs offer something along

>> these lines?

>>

>> Jodi

>>

>>

>>> I have not been a part of this discussion and I really liked the tool

>>> that

>>> Ted has shared with us. However, I have question and I hope that it

>>> is

>>> not

>>> something that has already been asked and answered.

>>>

>>> The first item on Ted¹s list is a little confusing. In most of our ESL

>>> classes we enroll more than 10 students because of fiscal constraints

>>> and

>>> the need for ESL in the community. So is it a negative or a positive

>>> to

>>> have fewer than 10 students in a class? In our case, we expect to see

>>> more

>>> than 10 students in a class and for the teacher to sustain the numbers.

>>>

>>> As for the achievement gap, it is huge issue in all literacy programs

>>> because of many socio-economic factors.

>>>

>>> In our area, part of the Bay Area, the boom in the housing market (in

>>> past

>>> several years) and high rents made it difficult for people to stay in

>>> one

>>> neighborhood. Therefore they constantly move (this is seen more in

>>> people

>>> who do not have high levels of education from their native country).

>>>

>>> People with a certain level of education (college degrees from their

>>> countries are more likely to find stable jobs and have some kind of

>>> community support). Most other people hold two or more jobs, go in and

>>> out

>>> of classes, change schedules, and finally drop out because of various

>>> constraints. More than likely, they lack study skills and have no time

>>> to

>>> practice.

>>>

>>> The achievement gap stems not only from the differences in educational

>>> levels of immigrants, but also due the huge difference in the

>>> availability

>>> of community resources.

>>>

>>> Usha Narayanan

>>> Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult Education

>>> California

>>> 408-522-2737

>>>

>>>

>>> On 2/5/08 1:00 PM, "Ted Klein" <taklein at austin.rr.com> wrote:

>>>

>>>> Marie,

>>>>

>>>> I did this list years ago based on literally decades in and out of the

>>>> U.S.A.

>>>> teaching, training teachers, supervising, coordinating, etc. in ESL.

>>>> It

>>>> is

>>>> based on what seems to work or not work. I'm proud to say that I'm

>>>> back

>>>> in the

>>>> ESL trenches after, among other things, twenty years with the Defense

>>>> Language

>>>> Institute English Language Center. I've been teaching immigrants part

>>>> time for

>>>> the last eight years for the Adult Education Department at Austin

>>>> Community

>>>> College. Getting back in the trenches has reminded me of what language

>>>> teaching is all about. I feel sorry for anybody who has to work at a

>>>> higher

>>>> level, because that's really not as much fun! I truly hope that I

>>>> apply

>>>> everything on my list daily and don't fall into any of the "easy

>>>> traps."

>>>> I

>>>> have distributed this list over the years to anybody who seemed

>>>> interested and

>>>> it is published on my website at

>>>> http://www.tedklein-esl.com/ESL/20questions.html Feel absolutely free

>>>> to use

>>>> it in any way that will make life easier for students. Thank you very

>>>> much for

>>>> the input. Questions are welcome.

>>>>

>>>> Cheers, Ted

>>>>

>>>> Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.

>>>> Independent Consultant in Language

>>>> and Intercultural Training

>>>> 14456 Agarita Road

>>>> Austin, Texas 78734-2009

>>>> Phone:512-266-1801

>>>> taklein at austin.rr.com <mailto:taklein at austin.rr.com>

>>>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>>>

>>>>

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

>>>>>

>>>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>

>>>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>>

>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:42 PM

>>>>>

>>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1110] Re: Observation checklist

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Hi Ted,

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Thanks for this. This is a great list - did you generate it

>>>>> yourself?

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> I guess I have a bunch of questions for you about it:

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> How do you use it? As a general guide, or do you deliberately try

>>>>> to

>>>>> address each item? Are you the only one who uses this, or do others

>>>>> you

>>>>> work with?

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Do you find that if you adhere to these principles, that the

>>>>> students

>>>>> advance?

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>> Marie

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

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

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

>>>>>> [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On

>>>>>> Behalf Of Ted Klein

>>>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 9:49 PM

>>>>>> To: The Assessment Discussion List

>>>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1105] Re: No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> Marie,

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> In the long run, this may be all that I know.

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> Ted

>>>>>>

>>>>>> www.tedklein-ESL.com <http://www.tedklein-ESL.com>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 20 Questions: LANGUAGE CLASS OBSERVATION CHECKLIST YES

>>>>>> NO

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 1. Were there 10 or fewer students in the class?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 2. Was the classroom comfortable in terms of

>>>>>>

>>>>>> environment and learning atmosphere?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 3. Did the instructor have a pleasant and

>>>>>>

>>>>>> supportive personality?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 4. Were the lessons communication centered,

>>>>>>

>>>>>> rather than informational, most of the time?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 5. Was the instructor a native-speaker or

>>>>>>

>>>>>> near native-speaker of the target language?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 6. Was the target language used as a medium

>>>>>>

>>>>>> of instruction all or most of the time?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 7. Did the students do most of the communication,

>>>>>>

>>>>>> rather than the instructor?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 8. Did the instructor maintain control of the class

>>>>>>

>>>>>> in a non-threatening manner?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 9. Did members of the class seem compatible with each

>>>>>>

>>>>>> other and the instructor?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 10. Did the students seem closely matched in their

>>>>>>

>>>>>> target language proficiency?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 11. Did all of the students participate?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 12. Were students enthusiastic?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 13. Did the instructor use a variety of techniques

>>>>>>

>>>>>> to elicit communication activities?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 14. Did the instructor assist students, rather

>>>>>>

>>>>>> than push them?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 15. Did the instructor use normal, rather than

>>>>>>

>>>>>> exaggerated speech?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 16. Were training aids used to enhance or reinforce

>>>>>>

>>>>>> results?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 17. Were new learning objectives reinforced adequately?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 18. Was correction applied moderately and positively

>>>>>>

>>>>>> so that it wouldn't inhibit communication?

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 19. Was there a balance of language skills (listening,

>>>>>>

>>>>>> speaking, reading and writing?)

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>> 20. Were students dealt with appropriately for their

>>>>>>

>>>>>> ages? (e.g. adults treated like adults).

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

>>>>>>

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

>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> From: Marie Cora <mailto:marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> To: Assessment at nifl.gov

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 5:50 PM

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> Subject: [Assessment 1103] No Questions or Comments?!

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> Hello everyone,

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>> I¹m so surprised! No one has anything to comment on regarding

>>>>>>> your

>>>>>>> program¹s 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

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>

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

>>>>>>> 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

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

>>>>>

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

>>>>> National Institute for Literacy

>>>>> Assessment mailing list

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>>>>> 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

>>>>

>>>>

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

>>>> National Institute for Literacy

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>>>> Email delivered to usha_narayanan at fuhsd.org

>>>

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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

>>

>>

>>

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

>> National Institute for Literacy

>> Assessment mailing list

>> Assessment at nifl.gov

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

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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 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

>

>

>

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> 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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> Assessment mailing list

> Assessment at nifl.gov

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

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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



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