[Assessment 1217] Re: (no subject)

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jhalaesl at aol.com jhalaesl at aol.com
Fri Feb 8 18:12:14 EST 2008









Forrest - you are on target with your comments about the CBO-college connection, or lack thereof. And yes many fall through the cracks. Hence my previous comments about having contacts. This is not a systematized network of contacts (I'm a tad cynical about that route), but those in one's personal/professional circle--the people who can tell us when/if the system can be flexed, or not.

Without those contacts it would be very difficult for me to refer ESL students from our CBO program (FYI much time and effort spent ensuring that our programs are high-quality, accountable, and learner-driven) to other providers, including the college. Our students place a great deal of trust in our willingness and ability to help them get the education they need at a price/time/place that works. When I make a referral, it is a personal one, preceded by my phone call/e-mail to the contact. And always including my/their follow-up.


Fortunately the people on the other end of the referral know to refer back to me if their program is not suitable.
Joanne


-----Original Message-----
From: Forrest Chisman <forrest at crosslink.net>
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List' <assessment at nifl.gov>
Sent: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 5:08 pm
Subject: [Assessment 1208] Re: (no subject)

























Joanne,



 



I’m interested in the question Jodi asks too. As I
understand it, local literacy councils have been on the wane, but I hope I’m
wrong about that.



 



I’m aware that CBO’s are the federal/state grant
providers in some areas, although nationwide (according to DOE surveys anyway)
they serve a far smaller percentage of students than do LEA’s and
colleges. I mean them no disrespect.  I’ve seen some that were
highly professionalized and provided superb service, and some that didn’t
 -- just like colleges and LEA’s J! It’s the quality of
the provider, not the type of provider that matters.



 



What interests me more is your reference to the implicit “division
of labor” between CBO’s and colleges or LEA’s you mention. I
think that in some areas this is fairly common: colleges or LEA’s refer
the lowest level students to CBO’s (with or without the necessary
funding). In most of the cases where I’ve seen this, it doesn’t
seem to work out very well. There isn’t the coordination/collaboration to
which you allude. In fact, I’ve sometimes had the impression that it’s
a way of dumping the hardest to serve students on CBO’s. Too often these
students become “out of sight and out of mind.” And because the students
ARE the hardest to serve, low success rates make the CBO’s look bad,
compared to the other providers – unfairly. I’ve tried to chase
down information about this model in the past, but I haven’t been very
successful. I would love to know if any of the rest of you have experience with
it, and how well you think it works.



 



Forrest



 









From:
assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf
Of Jodi Crandall

Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 1:09 PM

To: The Assessment Discussion List

Subject: [Assessment 1191] Re: (no subject)









 



Joanne,






 









Bravo!  Making connections with such limited funds is
critical.  I remember when major cities had  councils which
coordinated literacy/ESL services.  I wonder if any of you have some kind
of even an  informal network that meets to discuss the most efficient and
effective ways to use the minimal funds that are available.









Jodi









 









On Feb 8, 2008, at 11:50 AM, jhalaesl at aol.com wrote:

















Not always the reason for an LEA-to-local college
turnover of those federal and state adult ed funds

In my experience, it has simply and sadly been the result of limited resources
and insufficient funds.

And in some areas a CBO (not an LEA) manages those grant programs, offers
classes free to the lowest literacy ESL/ESOL students, and is never able to
fully bridge the gap between very part-time instruction and college.



One key element to our small successes has been having colleagues in each
institution (local college, LEA, CBO, gov't DOE/DOL) who understand the
dynamics and the gaps. Granted, most are still limited by the systems in which
they work and to which they must be accountable. But there is still much to be
said for permitting ourselves some case-by-case thinking, making those simple
phone calls, and asking.



Joanne Hala

Literacy Serrvices

Jointure for Community Adult Education, Inc.









’ve heard an increasing number of stories about areas
were the LEA runs the federal/state  adult education ESL grant program and
has asked the local college to take it over (because the LEA has concluded
it’s an “adult” program). Have there been any rumblings of
that in your area?









 









 









 






-----Original Message-----

From: Forrest Chisman <forrest at crosslink.net>

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

Sent: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 10:42 am

Subject: [Assessment 1179] Re: (no subject)












Kevin,









 









Thanks for the explanation. I find it VERY useful.
It’s a very interesting model. I’m not surprised that your students
are motivated for college, because they’ve signed up for a college prep
track! What worries me are the limited aspirations of many lower level ESL
students who may have college potential.









 









I understand now why you don’t have the resources to
operate a more comprehensive program. I’ve heard an increasing number of
stories about areas were the LEA runs the federal/state  adult education
ESL grant program and has asked the local college to take it over (because the
LEA has concluded it’s an “adult” program). Have there been
any rumblings of that in your area?









 









Best of luck in your good work.









 









Forrest    









 















From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov
[mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Hinkle, Robert

Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 9:42 AM

To: The Assessment Discussion List; The Assessment Discussion List

Subject: [Assessment 1174] Re: (no subject)















 















I believe we do have a hard time getting enough students fed
into our program and with the appropriate background to succeed if they do come
to us. It is a real problem. There are some workplace ESL programs which are
run through our Corporate and Continuing Education Office, but those students
rarely, if ever, come to us. And they serve the employees of specific companies
as opposed to the community at large.















 















Our ESL program is within an academic department in the
college (Communication and Languages) and so is run like every other. ESL
students pay the same tuition and fees as all other students at the college. We
do not receive special government funding beyond what the state and counties
provide for the college as a whole as a part of our yearly budget.















 















Finances are probably a big reason why we are getting fewer
students at the low levels. Community programs are free or low cost; although
in the scheme of higher education, the community college is less expensive, it
may still be out of reach of many students.















 















In terms of having a more comprehensive program, we are
limited by a small staff, and the unlikelihood of being able to expand given
college budgeting restraints. In addition, our three full-time faculty members
(including myself) not only teach 15 credit hours per semester but also do the
administrative work required. We do advising, scheduling, and the many other
tasks associate with keeping the program afloat. The only "official"
administrative support for the program is through the 3 hours of overload I
receive to serve as Adjunct Coordinator.















 















The belief that they can attend college does not seem to be
a problem with our population although I can certainly see that it could be. A
growing problem for us (and many around the country) is the disconnect between
high schools and colleges in terms of student preparation. Either the high
schools do not think the students are college-bound and so don't bother to give
them a college-prep course of study, or there is simply a growing gap between
the expectations of each. Additionally, students seem to think that a high
school diploma equates to college readiness.















 















We do our best to advise students, but we don't always have
enough time - and as professors primarily - may not know ourselves what all of
the options for students are.















 





















Kevin


















 



















From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov
on behalf of Forrest Chisman

Sent: Thu 2/7/2008 10:38 PM

To: 'The Assessment Discussion List'

Subject: [Assessment 1172] Re: (no subject)















Dear Kevin,









 









Many thanks for providing all of us with a profile of your
program. Seeing the variety of college program goals and designs is extremely
valuable in stimulating ideas about how to do a better job in delivering ESL.









 









Personally, I think that it is perfectly valid for colleges
to elect to offer solely pre-academic ESL at the non-credit level. But it does
prompt the concern about whether other programs in the college’s service
area are providing non-academic ESL to large enough numbers of students and at
a high enough quality to “feed” the college program – as well
as how well their efforts articulate with yours. I wonder whether this troubles
you, and if so whether/how you have addressed the issue.  Frankly, I think
one reason why many colleges offer comprehensive ESL programs is that they
would prefer to “make” pre-academic students themselves, rather
than rely on others to do it. Another reason, of course, if that they may not
be eligible for federal/state grant money unless they offer comprehensive
programs. Does your college receive these funds to support its pre-academic
program? If not, how is it supported financially?









 









I heartily agree that helping students set realistic goals
and understand their options is essential. I believe, however, that encouraging
students to expand their goals as they succeed is also essential. For example,
many immigrants come from countries where going to college is the privilege of
very few, and thus may consider that an unrealistic goal  unless they are
encouraged to take the steps necessary (often one step at a time). The problem
seems to be that it is hard for most programs to find the resources to provide
very much guidance of any of these kinds to most students. I wonder if anyone
has any solutions to THAT issue.









 









In any event, many thanks for fleshing out an interesting
model.  









 









Forrest     









 















From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov
[mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Hinkle, Robert

Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 9:19 PM

To: assessment at nifl.gov

Subject: [Assessment 1148] (no subject)















 















Hi All,















 















I have been reading most of the discussion comments and
wanted to address a few issues. First, however, I'll give a summary of our
program.















 















I teach ESL at Raritan Valley Community College in New
Jersey. Our program serves approximately 350 students from diverse language
backgrounds. Our program offers two pre-academic levels of all skills ESL instruction
(a six hour per week non-credit class). In addition, we have 5 levels of
academic ESL preparation divided into three courses - Reading/Writing,
Grammar, and Speaking/Listening). Our highest level Reading/Writing course
gives successful students 6 elective credits that count towards RVCC
graduation, but those credits do not transfer. Our semesters are 15 weeks. If a
student misses 20% of any class, the instructor may withdraw that student (they
are not, however, obliged to withdraw these students). At the moment, the late
enrollment policy is that students may register for a course prior to the
second week of class but not thereafter. Research, of course, indicates that
students who begin a class late have a much higher rate of failure than those who
begin on time.















 















In our program, we have three full-time faculty and
approximately 16-18 adjuncts.















 















We have focused our program on academic prep ESL because we
are a small program with limited resources, and we have a very difficult time
finding qualified adjuncts. Also, a significant majority of our
students have signalled their intention to obtain a college degree.
Moreover, there are community programs that offer basic English skills although
there is often a long waiting list to obtain the services. In other issues, we
use the Accuplacer ESL test for placement and have in-house standardized tests
at the end of each level of grammar and reading/writing















 















Within our classes, highly educated non-native speakers
usually progress much more quickly. One of the most challenging groups is
students who graduated from local high schools but still have inadequate
English skills - and not infrequently, weak academic skills in general. One of
the strategies that I would personally wish for is real communication between
K-12 and community colleges so that students get the language skills they need
before they enter college. I understand that there is great pressure to move
students out of ESL in many school districts, but ultimately, it does a huge
disservice both financially and in terms of motivation to students whose skills
remain more BICS than CALP.















 















I agree with those who suggest that first language literacy
issues should be addressed before students enter ESL. However, it becomes
complicated to find funding and support for such efforts. In my experience,
students with low level literacy skills become frustrated and are not
ultimately successful - probably by any definition. I am uncomfortable
with the idea that they are spending hard-earned money when the chances for
success in ESL are minimal. We advise students that the program is academically-oriented;
often they have little understanding of what that means.















 















I do not agree with the suggestion that the bar be lowered
so that students with low-intermediate skills be allowed in credit classes (at
least at my college). Historically, other faculty have little experience
handling language issues and are very unhappy when students cannot read, write
and converse at an appropriate level of English. They end up feeling helpless.
Students may pass classes; however, I suspect that instructors do not want to deal
with the challenges and so turn a blind eye and let them through. Recently,
there has been a problem in the nursing department with non-native English
speaking students not passing board exams because they enter the college from
other programs and circumvent ESL with us. They have trouble reading and
answering questions on the exam. This is a significant problem because nursing
programs are judged in terms of the success of their students on these
standardized exams.















 















I think the measure of success should be based on a
realistic assessment of student goals combined with a real-life discussion of
the possibilities and limitations. Ideally, students would have incremental
goals so that success could build. If the goals for students with low literacy
levels are not carefully discussed and planned, then they will likely encounter
more failure than success because their expectaions will be unrealistic. The
more we have the opportunity to talk to students, the more likely it is that
they can develop short-term goals that are within their reach. Unfortunately,
we have no control over the myriad of complications that accrue in their every
day lives.















 















Apologies for the length.















 





















Kevin Hinkle, Ph.D.















Assistant Professor of ESL/Adjunct Coordinator






















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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









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