[Assessment 1359] Response to Marie Cora's inquiry about Reach Higher America report

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Schneider, Jim jschneider at eicc.edu
Sat Jul 12 09:57:48 EDT 2008


<Marie Cora writes: I’m curious to hear from subscribers what you think about this report. What sort of implications might it have in terms of assessment of students and accountability of programs – if you see any? If the recommendations of the report are put into effect, what types of tools, structures or processes would we need to better conduct assessment of students and accountability of programs? Or perhaps we already have the tools we need? Or perhaps this movement will not affect the assessment/testing/accountability angle at all?>

As the director of a community college based adult literacy program I have long been an fan of Forest's work. My first response to the executive summary was not positive - I thought it was throwing out the baby with the bathwater - simply tossing aside the infrastructure and programs that were in place for a completely "new" system.

Careful reading of the entire report overcame my initial impressions - the existing system can fit into the new approach and be greatly enhanced by it.

In regard to student assessment and accountability - I don't see this as an area that needs to be overhauled - although it could certainly stand some improvement.

My beef with the NRS is that the deck is stacked against the programs. Just completing last year's report I continue to be frustrated by the application of K-12/NCLB approaches to assessment and accountability on an adult system that shares very little in common with K-12.

To attempt to survey our students on any of the follow-up measures - go to college, get a job, keep a job is a fruitless endeavor. They move and change phone numbers to quickly and frequently to have any hope of a meaningful sample.

In Iowa we data match, which sounds like a sensible approach. However this too is significantly stacked against the programs. Students with the employment goals much provide a social security number AND be employed in Iowa for the data match to occur. With identity-theft concerns fewer and fewer of our students are willing to share their social security number with us, and being located on the border - many are employed in Illinois.

Even the data-match for going to college falls short of providing a comprehensive and fair assessment. The match is conducted in the fall after the program year for those students who are enrolled in "our" college. As a result, any student who might have completed their GED and a short-term training program prior to or after the date of the fall data match are not counted. Furthermore, student who attend a regent university or one of the many private colleges in Iowa are not counted.

Finally, the assessment of learning gains with like tests is an admirable goal. However, given the transitory nature of adult learners and their irregular attendance patterns a more flexible approach would be more reasonable. I understand the psychometrics of using like-tests for pre & post-testing, however such standards are incredibly onerous given the limited time that many adult learners have. The approval of official GED practice tests and the Official GED as pre & post-test measures cannot not happen soon enough in my book.

Sorry for the rambling - bottom line - I would love to see our nation make such programming a priority. However, given the history of such efforts in the past and the current economic, political, international mess that our nation is in - I am not terribly optimistic that significant changes will occur.

Jim Schneider


-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of Mary Lynn Simons
Sent: Fri 7/11/2008 11:01 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1357] Re: Reach Higher America on Workplace Literacy List


Isn't this report just meaningless since there is little financial commitment to education by the government.
________________________________

> From: marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com

> To: assessment at nifl.gov

> Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:25:50 -0400

> Subject: [Assessment 1356] Reach Higher America on Workplace Literacy List

>

>

> Hi everyone,

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>

>

> I just wanted to add this follow-up note to Forrest's recent post regarding misconceptions with Reach Higher America. There has been some discussion on this topic on a couple of the National Institute for Literacy's Discussions Lists - particularly the Workplace Literacy List. To read the thread of that discussion, go to the Workplace archives at http://www.nifl.gov/pipermail/workplace/2008/date.html and click on the posts that have Reach Higher America in the subject line. Feel free to subscribe so you can join in that discussion as well (subscribe at http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/Workplace/).

>

>

>

> I'm curious to hear from subscribers what you think about this report. What sort of implications might it have in terms of assessment of students and accountability of programs - if you see any? If the recommendations of the report are put into effect, what types of tools, structures or processes would we need to better conduct assessment of students and accountability of programs? Or perhaps we already have the tools we need? Or perhaps this movement will not affect the assessment/testing/accountability angle at all?

>

>

>

> What are your thoughts?

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>

>

> Thanks!

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>

> Marie

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>

>

>

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>

>

> Marie Cora

>

> marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com

>

> NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

>

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


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