WIA Community Conversations Transcripts - Transitions to Post-secondary Education

WIA Community Conversations Transcripts

Transitions to Post-secondary Education

WIA Community Conversations | Other WIA Community Conversations Transcripts


Subject: [Transitions 229]
Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions
From: Dr. Brenda
Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.
Date: January 11, 2010

Dear Transitions
List Participants,

My name is Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult
Education. Thank you for planning time this week to participate in a virtual
session of the WIA Community Conversations (http://lincs.ed/lincs/discussions/10WIA).
I know it adds to your day to read and respond to discussion list posts, and I
deeply appreciate you giving so much of your time.

This week, I ask that you discuss the successes and needs you see for adult
education with respect to this discussion list's topic. I'm hoping that you'll
be candid and honest, and that there will be an open and frank discussion on
the list in this regard.

I'm here to listen, and to learn. This discussion is different from the typical
discussion list guest discussions. I'm not going to react to your suggestions
or answer questions. Please know, however, that what you suggest is worthwhile
for the Department to consider as it forms its policy position on WIA
reauthorization. Based on what I learn from the WIA Community Conversations, my
hope is to be able to say what the real issues are that impact the field, our
students, and our practitioners.

Additionally, I will present all conversation comments to the State Directors
of Adult Education at their annual meeting in February. I will obtain their
feedback as well.

If you are interested in what others are saying across the country, in addition
to what you hear from this list discussion, please visit the Department of
Education's blog http://www.edgovblogs.org/duncan/2009/11/workforce-investment-act-reauthorization/ .

The transcripts from face-to-face sessions hosted by OVAE are linked to the
blog. We will link transcripts of these discussion list sessions to the blog as
well.

To start the discussion, please reply to this email with your thoughts on any of
the following questions:

  • What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
    post-secondary education and training?
  • What
    are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?
  • What
    are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

I look
forward to hearing from you,

Brenda

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier

Assistant Secretary, Office of Vocational and Adult Education United
States Department of Education.

400 Maryland Ave. S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202


Subject:  [Transitions 230]
Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

From:  Hal Beder

Date:  January 11, 2010

This is my
take on the components of successful transitions programs.

Commitment. Adult literacy professionals must be committed to achieving
a new standard for adult literacy: one year of postsecondary education and an
industry sanctioned certificate. Post secondary education institutions must be
committed to the notion that the transition of adult literacy completers is an
important part of their mission.

Partnership. In most cases a successful transition program will require
a partnership between an adult education agency (or postsecondary unit) and the
academic programs of a postsecondary institution. Building this partnership is
usually the critical first step in developing a transition program and a strong
partnership is necessary for a successful transition program.

Leadership/management. Creating and maintaining transition programs
requires committed leadership.

Articulation. Adult literacy programs must educate their learners to be college
ready. Teaching to the GED test or teaching ESL only to the point of oral
English proficiency is not enough. "College ready" includes soft
skills such as financial and time management as well as academic skills. The
adult literacy program and the post secondary program should articulate to the
extent that learners can move from one to the other almost seamlessly.

Curriculum. Practices such as career ladders, duel enrollment and
customized instruction are highly desirable.

Resources. Transition programs must have the resources they need to
achieve their goals. In most cases, transition programs will require the
reallocation of existing monetary resources rather than large infusions of new
funds. Resources to support planning are particularly important, especially in
the early stages of transition program development. Goal setting/needs
assessment. Goal setting and needs assessment in respect to transition must
begin when the learner enters adult literacy and must continue throughout.

Hal Beder


Subject: Transitions 233]
Transitions to Post-secondary
Education                                                             

From:  Richard Clute

Date:  January 11, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I have been in the adult education field in community colleges for 23 years
starting as an adjunct instructor in ABE, ASE, and ESL then moving onto
administration; therefore, I have seen a lot of changes in adult education over
those years-all for the better. I also have workforce experience in my
background.

Though Illinois requires 6 hours of professional development each fiscal year
for its adult education faculty, the adult education filed still suffers from a
lack of professional standards. In many cases, a bachelor's degree in any area
can establish one as an adult educator. My case is a good example: B.A. in
English and an M.F.A. in theatre arts. Over the last 23 years though, I have
grown to appreciate greatly the adult education field. Though it is great to
have heart in adult education, it also needs a balance with professional
requirements.

What have been the greatest successes your systems have experienced in
putting adult learners on a path to jobs in high growth sectors?

The greatest success in adult education in terms of transition comes from a
highly motivated teacher, one who understands the pathway to leading a student
from the classroom to a high growth job or to a college-level
certificate/degree program. With the field infused with part-time instructors,
this is a rare teacher who can fit this bill. Most ESL teachers are geared
toward developing survival English skills while most ABE teachers are geared
toward developing better literacy skills and ASE teachers are geared toward
developing successful strategies to pass the GED Tests. Therefore, there is
more of a need in adult education instruction to understand what is beyond the
traditional adult education classroom walls.

After participating in a Shifting Gears grant focused on manufacturing careers
provided by the Joyce Foundation during FY08-FY09, adult education at my
college found that having the funds to sustain a transitional program is also
very effective. From that grant, AE was able to hire a coordinator who advised
students about the program, commitment, and benefits. In conjunction with the
instructors, AE was able to help create a contextualized curricula in technical
math, blueprint reading, and employability skills-the latter class is now an
ABE offering.

With the sunset of this grant, AE looked at other local colleges that established
effective transitional programs, one local program was highlighted in
"Passing the Torch." AE then created a model to base its transitional
program on: 1. having an AE teacher audit the transitional class-e.g.,
automotive, 2. allowing an AE teacher to develop a contextualized curriculum in
conjunction with the regular instructor, and, 3. teaching a bridge/transitional
class with an AE instructor before or after the regular class. This appears to
be the model used in many of the programs highlighted in "Passing the
Torch," too.

A combination of the above 2 factors does promote success in adult education in
terms of transitioning students to better jobs or college coursework. I would
also add the necessity of having an adult education advisor to counsel students
who want to make the transition. This would promote success, too.

How
can WIA reauthorization promote better alignment between adult education and
workforce development?

Having
served on 2 Workforce Investment Boards in Illinois (one fairly successful and
one very dysfunctional), I see a constant disconnect between the entities on
these boards. Workforce entities want workers but most times are not interested
in the workers' abilities, as most of them want entry-level workers who are
usually adult education students. Of course, these position flow with the
currents of the economy. Social service entities want to help workers in
gaining support services, which they are very effective in achieving. Workforce
entities want to deliver services while reaching their goals. Adult education
seems to serve on these boards as simply a required member.

There needs to be a more integrated alignment between Title I and Title II of
WIA, as they appear to be mutually exclusive of the other. An adult education student
usually cannot receive a WIA voucher without a GED or better English skills, so
the student is referred to an adult education program to acquire these skills.
At the same time, this student needs to improve his skills to transition into a
better job or college, but he cannot achieve this currently under WIA
legislation. The adult education should be able to do both concurrently-improve
her skills and her employability.

What
types of innovative approaches might work?

I
personally believe that the ability to co-enroll adult education students in
adult education and college classes is key. If a student, for example, lacks
English-speaking skills, she should be required to enroll in an ESL program
while given the chance to pursue a certificate or degree at a local community
college. If adult education programs focus on a co-enrollment program, similar
to the ones offered in Washington state, a student may see some light at the
end of the tunnel-i.e., gaining English skills while training for a better job.
I also believe that WIA needs to get beyond the high-growth sectors of health
careers, manufacturing, and TDL. Though these are high-growth areas, it limits
students to certain careers. I finally believe that adult education programs
need to build employability skills into its curricula, especially in ESL. ASE
classes need to get beyond preparing students to be successful at passing the
GED Tests, too. In conclusion, there needs to be a more cooperative venture
between workforce and adult education.

What
are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

I
hope that some of the issues mentioned above will be implemented in the
re-authorization.

Richard W. Clute

Dean of Adult Education & Workforce Services

McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, Illinois


Subject:  Transitions 234:
Transitions to Post-secondary Education
Questions                                                

From:  Anne
Frank                                                                                                                     


Date: January 11, 2010

Brenda
Dann-Messier,

Thank you for your interest and encouragement to have those interested in Post
Secondary Education freely give concerns, thoughts and ideas for you to
consider as we move toward reauthorization. I will state the questions listed
and bullet my thoughts regarding each question. I apologize if some of my
comments seem to flow into other topics, but so much is connected to the
success of instruction.

What are the successful ingredients needed to prepare learners for
success in post-secondary education and training?

  • Individualized
    instruction to meet each student's needs.
  • Managed
    enrollment with compliant attendance policy.
  • Need
    to upgrade all NRS levels of instruction. More hands on learning as it applies
    to real life situations.
  • Prepare
    students in applied academics, critical thinking, problem solving, the soft
    skills.
  • Strong
    orientation/intake process to prepare students in college level thinking and
    career planning. Match interest with aptitude.
  • Need
    to begin as "college is for everyone", to break the myth of
    "it's not for me". This philosophy should be introduced at all levels
    of instruction. Introduction to college setting and/or college personnel as
    well as vocational programs.
  • Teacher
    knowledge of admission's assessments that students will face upon entry to
    college.
  • What
    is covered in developmental math and reading courses at the college level. Use
    this information to prepare students in adult education classes who are interested
    in college attainment.
  • Teachers
    are prepared and comfortable teaching at college prep level.

What
are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

  • Teacher
    certification. All AE teachers should be as well prepared and credentialed as
    our K-12 colleagues.
  • Use
    of technology. All teachers and students are prepared with the technology that
    they will need for 21st Century jobs. More funding is available to provide for
    current technology hardware, software and training.
  • Community
    Colleges and Adult Education should work together. PD should be planned with members
    of Higher Education.
  • Appropriate
    funding available to answer the following student challenges:
    • Day
      care--vouchers for our students
    • Transportation--assistance
      available.
    • Health
      care, financial literacy-- All this is provided for at the agency. NYS is
      instituting the Literacy Zone concept where all life agencies needed for our
      students to navigate the US system is readily available to the student. There
      is a need for funding for more personnel to coordinate these programs.
  • Acceptance
    that attainment of the GED is the final step. Emphasis that further education
    or training will be needed in order to obtain a family-sustaining job.
  • Closer
    relationship between Labor and Education and Military. There is a need to have
    a full profile on each student including their educational and career planning.
    All agencies should work together with colleges, BOCES, vocational providers
    and military to set a realistic path for each learner.
  • Students
    with disabilities. Appropriate planning with community agencies (VESID) to
    provide opportunities that are attainable for a successful career path.
  • Agencies
    are fragmented around the county, state, nation.
  • Means
    of identification. We need a system that provides a student number which can be
    followed. Although SSN is very useful, some do not have one, and some states,
    like NY, do not require disclosure. There needs to be some system created in
    order to follow students throughout the system.
  • What are
    your hopes for WIA Authorization?

    • In
      NYS many AE teachers have other employment. I would like to see a National
      Adult Education WebPortal where constant training is available. Included should
      be a means of evaluation and a system to follow up on the needs of each
      teacher. Videos of exceptional classrooms should be available. This would give
      more information to the front line teaching staff.
    • WIA
      I and WIA II working together. Provide current information of economic and
      employment trends to AE teachers. This would allow teachers to motivate
      students in a direction where employment is a reality.
    • More
      efforts for business and education to work together providing a curriculum for
      which students are able to secure certificates to enter the business. With further
      education, the student could receive more certificates and move up into a
      family sustaining wage. Some eventually will attain the college level of study.
    • Means
      of Identification. A process that AE students can be followed to be able to
      determine success over a longer period of time.

    Anne Frank

    New York State Education Department

    Adult Education Workforce Development

    Albany, NY


    Subject:  Transitions 235:
    Essential Elements & Hal
    Beder

    From: 
    Stephanie
    Moran

    Date: January 11, 2010

    Thank you
    for articulating these components clearly and succinctly, Hal.

    Having taught in a Transitions program for two years, I would add that faculty
    is also a critical component. Transitional students, whether they arrive from
    high school or a GED program, often come with fewer assets/college navigational
    skills as well as weaker academic skills. To that end, a traditionally-trained
    teacher is not always as effective as one who has worked with the at-risk
    population. Most beneficial might be someone who has taught in high school, GED
    programs, and community colleges as well as 4-year institutions. Such teaches
    are atypical, but we do exist. I think that educators with experience on as
    many sides of this academic fence as possible tend to understand the academic
    and non-cognitive needs of students and have a better chance of helping them
    transition successfully vs. flunking/dropping out due to a lack of teacher
    support.

    Also critical is the role of a "Navigator"-a person who is not a
    teacher but who helps students (often first generation) understand what college
    really means and helps students work through unfamiliar territory and outright
    obstacles that might otherwise mean failure/dropping out. This navigator might
    be a student services/front desk/advisor, but it's essential that s/he have
    access to community services that the student might need, and the Navigator
    needs a good ear for listening and empathy.

    Finally, it is important that well-trained and experienced, proven teachers
    teach rather than assigning someone from Workforce to teach.

    I appreciate this Discussion Group and having our federal government ask for
    our input from the perspective of the field.

    Stephanie Moran


    Subject: [Transitions 236]
    Essential Components & Hal
    Beder                                                                     

    From:  Carolyn Chelsvig

    Date:  January 11, 2010

    Stephanie,

    You and Hal
    have brought up very important and interesting critical
    components. All of the issues require added professional development and
    support from not only the state office but the community colleges themselves.
    I really believe you have hit on a major topic area that must be looked at,
    "weaker academic skills." Students who choose the option of a GED
    credential are usually in a "hurry" to obtain their GED and move on
    or in my opinion, the ABE programs sends that student to take the GED exams
    when they are "fundable" or have "made an educational functional
    level gain" and can now be reported in the performance based funding
    model.

    As a GED Administrator, it frustrates me to no end to have an ABE program have
    a student take the GED exams when they have an 8.9 grade equivalency just
    because they 1) met the 12 hour requirement and 2) have met an educational
    functional level gain. As we all are hearing and we know, a high school diploma
    or a GED is not enough to secure a living wage job any longer. But when the
    students then move to postsecondary education, they now do not have the
    academic abilities to enroll in credit courses.

    I am a believer in postsecondary transitions that provide all of the components
    that you both suggest, how to make this happen, I don't have the answers. There
    is one community college in Wyoming that actually has implemented a transition
    component through the use of developmental study courses for students enrolled
    in the ABE program. The students are succeeding well.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful opportunity to have these open discussions.

    Carolyn Chelsvig

    Wyoming GED Administrator


    Subject: Transitions 237:
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education                                                                

    From: Stephanie
    Moran                                                                                                                                   

    Date: January 11, 2010

    I agree with
    everything Richard outlines with the exception of co-enrollment  in a GED class
    and a college class-unless very specific guidelines were in place. So many GED
    students lack well-developed study skills-show up/suit up skills-that to place
    them in both GED classes and college concurrently would  be quite overwhelming
    for many. For the true fast-tracker GED student, co-enrollment could be
    successful. Our approach has been to offer our GED graduates free transitional
    courses in math, reading, and "English"-those subjects that they'll
    be tested on with an Accuplacer or Compass or other assessment at the community
    college level. In this fashion, we can teach study skills, college navigational
    skills, and strengthen those core skills in the key subject areas.

    Stephanie Moran


    Subject: Transitions 238:
    Essential Components & Hal
    Beder                                                                                  

    From: Hal
    Beder
    Date: January 12, 2010

    I could not
    agree more. Program sponsorship is also an issue. Things are so much easier
    when the transitions program is on a community college campus rather that at a
    public school or CBO.

    Hal Beder


    Subject: Transitions 239:
    Transitions to Post-secondary
    Education                                                               

    From: Mary
    Rack
    Date: January 12, 2010

    I'd like to
    2nd Stephanie's concerns about students co-enrolling in college
    courses.                                                    

    I teach at a
    community college and was quite surprised last year to find 2 students in my
    Fundamentals of Math class (fractions/decimals/percents/pre-algebra) who were
    concurrently working on the GED. One of them lacked the requisite maturity to
    succeed. The other was attempting to simultaneously learn topics taught in
    different ways by different teachers - a recipe for disaster.

    This is not to say that co-enrollment can never work, but that it should be
    recommended only in carefully considered (and probably rare)
    circumstances.                                                               

    Mary Rack


    Subject: Transitions 240:
    Essential
    Components
    From: Stephanie
    Moran                                                                                                                                         

    Date: January 12, 2010

    Yes,
    Carolyn, all of us who work with these transitional students generally know
    where and what the gaps are, so if the administration really does want millions
    more community college grads by 2020, this conversation is vitally important. I
    am on the optimistic side that the points we raise will be addressed and the
    best ideas implemented.

    Stephanie


    Subject:  Transitions 242:
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education  

    From: Susan
    Harris                                                                                       

    Date:  January 12,
    2010                                                                                                                                               

    I have
    taught adult education students, traditional and alternative high school
    students, and university students as well as developmental reading/writing
    students at a community college, and I must agree that the skill set (including
    creative solutions to unusual problems) required to help adult education (GED)
    students transition to higher education is specialized. While a lack of
    maturity and executive skills is common among transitioning students, many also
    have learning/brain/experiential differences that make alternative teaching
    methods that aren't normally used in a college setting more effective than
    traditional approaches in bridging the skill gap. Some students need help identifying
    precisely what their specific abilities are so that they can pursue a direction
    that suits those abilities and doesn't continue to punish them for their
    weaknesses. Simply grouping high school level students into college courses
    arranged specifically for them reduces the overall level of the "college
    course" to the predominant intellectual level of the group.

    Susan Harris


    Subject: [Transitions 243]:
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

    From:  Tom Cytron-Hysom

    Date: January 12, 2010

    What are
    your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

    I have been following the discussions on various groups with interest. As someone
    who works statewide in developing both distance learning and simultaneous
    workforce/basic skills education, I know how important these emphases are both
    to adult learners and their communities. They need to be adequately
    incorporated and reflected in WIA reauthorization.

    I am also concerned that the needs of the many learners who may not fit neatly
    into these categories not be neglected. In Minnesota, we have many refugee
    learners who still struggle to master basic English—many, in fact, do not
    know how to read and write in any language since they were never able to attend
    primary school in their countries of origin or in refugee camps. Other adult
    learners are primarily concerned with family literacy, so they can support
    their children in school. Some are intent on obtaining citizenship. And many
    deal with significant learning disabilities which daily challenge them in their
    efforts to educate themselves.

    As we work with legislators to insure that ABE services are responsive to
    evolving educational and economic development needs, I hope we also preserve
    some focus on those "hardest to serve" who have traditionally been
    educated through our programs. If we fail these high-need adult learners, they
    really have nowhere else to go.

    Tom Cytron-Hysom


    Subject: Transitions 244:
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education

    From: Judy J. Walsh

    Date: January 12, 2010

    The free
    course is a great idea ! How is it funded, how long is it, and how many
    students benefit per semester?


    Subject: [Transitions 245]
    Re: Transitions to Post-secondary Education

    From: Julie Scoskie

    Date: January 12, 2010

    In 2000, Kentucky restructured Adult Education and called for a seamless, integrated system of adult
    education services resulting in greater numbers of adults with GEDs and
    entering postsecondary education. In Louisville, Adult Education has partnered
    with Jefferson Community and Technical College to provide a College Bound GED
    Program and a concurrent enrollment program (Educational Enrichment Services)
    for individuals entering college but functioning at the 7.5 GLE or below. These
    classes are provided by Adult Education, funded by Kentucky Adult Education, at
    no charge to the students. The end results are students save tuition dollars
    and are retained at a higher rate one year after entering the program than
    other freshmen entering with higher scores. The Adult Education teachers who
    provide more "hand holding" initially are critical to the success of
    the program along with other components: aligning the curricula, aligning the
    program design, a formal MOA, constant communication, etc.

    Julie
    Scoskie

    Director, Community Support Services

    Jefferson County Public Schools


    Subject: Transitions 246:
    Essential Components

    From:  Daniel J. Connell

    Date:  January 12, 2010

    This is a
    great discussion of the issues that adults encounter when transitioning to
    postsecondary education. All of the points are very relevant to successful
    transition. Although achievement of the GED is a great milestone, we must
    encourage students to think beyond the GED.

    Partnerships
    are essential in a successful transition program. There is a great opportunity
    for the federally funded WIA and TRIO (Educational Opportunity Centers)
    programs to play the role of a "Navigator" to help adults the
    successful transition. These programs can encourage adults and help them to
    navigate the bureaucracy of postsecondary education. They can assist with admissions
    and financial aid applications and help adults to be "college ready."
    These programs can assist adults with identifying relevant career fields and
    place them into postsecondary programs that lead to meaningful employment.

    As has been
    stated it is important for adult literacy programs to work closely with
    postsecondary institutions to prepare adults to be academically successful.
    Adult literacy programs and postsecondary institutions can work together to
    share curriculum.

    Thanks for
    the opportunity to share with colleagues.

    Dan Connell

    Center for Adult Education and College Access

    Morehead State University


    Subject: [Transitions 247] my
    contribution to the WIA Reauthorization discussion- WIA Community Conversations

    From: Michelle Cohen

    Date:  January 12, 2010

    What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
    post-secondary education and training?

    Hello,

    I have 14 years of experience working with learners from 14 to 70+ years old in
    several different settings (ABE, GED/high school diploma, and academic
    preparation for higher ed. in adult schools, Job Corps, and a nonprofit
    educational partnership between L.A. County Department of Health Services and
    SEIU Local 721). I have mainly been an instructor, but have also written and evaluated
    curricula. Informally, I serve as a counselor and mentor to teenagers and
    adults attempting to successfully complete secondary ed. and transition to
    college/career training.

    Based on my experience, here’s what I think is needed:

    • Investment
      in, and dependable funding for, interesting, meaningful, rewarding career paths
      students can aim for and count on being there to enter when they do finish
      secondary ed.
    • Effective
      tools to help match students with the careers that fit their individual
      learning styles, skills/interests, life circumstances, and temperaments
    • School/program
      staff who really understand the available career paths and know how to
      effectively link academic skills to these goals(i.e. give students a “reason to
      learn this stuff” and not quit when it gets tough)
    • Relationships
      with real professionals from the careers they are aiming for, to give students
      realistic, grounded information about working in the field and what it takes to
      succeed there
    • Serious
      classes (not three-hour or one-day workshops) in relevant life skills and study
      skills; not just literacy and numeracy; and these should be contextualized for
      students’ career paths
    • Classes
      with ratios of maximum 20 students/instructor, and adequate support staff, so
      teachers can get to know and provide quality instruction to each and every
      student
    • High-quality
      mentoring during the transition to post-secondary education and training
      (well-trained people to show them the ropes and respectfully and sensitively answer
      every single question)
    • Access
      to, and help in securing, affordable, quality healthcare (physical and mental),
      childcare, housing, transportation, and nutrition (because these basic needs
      must be met before higher-level needs, like education, can be successfully
      addressed)
    • Placing
      students in a cohort of peers with similar goals, for mutual support and encouragement,
      whenever possible
    • Tutoring
      and instruction by providers who understand adult, student-centered education
      principles and are highly sensitive to and well-trained in understanding the
      challenges faced by adults trying to succeed in higher ed.

    Michelle
    Cohen


    Subject: Transitions 248:
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education

    From: Stephanie Moran

    Date: January 12, 2010

    More power
    to your program, Julie! One concern is with students who read at a 7th grade
    level attempting to do college-level work with the necessary retention of
    information/skills-none of the biology texts that I use to teach Ss how to
    analyze a textbook are written at that level. How does the program define
    success? Retention of 3+semesters? Completion of a program? Please share! 
    Stephanie


    Subject: Transitions to
    Post-secondary Education Questions

    From:  Jill Carlson

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Tom,

    I am happy to read that there are others out there who do not want to see ABE's
    focus change completely. I work daily with lower level learners who succeed
    because of the education, skills and services we provide them.

    Jill Carlson

    Instructor

    AEOA Adult Basic Education

    Grand Rapids, MN


    Subject: [Transitions 251] my
    contribution to the WIA Reauthorization discussion- WIA Community Conversations

    From: Susan Jones

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Speaking of
    "serious classes in life skills" - beyond the three R's - I was asked
    if there were any "life skills" books out there by a teacher of a
    group of men in a transition program.

    Susan Jones

    Academic Development Specialist

    Center for Academic Success

    Parkland College

    Champaign, IL


    Subject: Transitions 252]
    Essential Components

    From: Susan Jones

    Date: January 13, 2010

    I really
    believe you have hit on a major topic area that must be looked at, "weaker
    academic skills." Students who choose the option of a GED credential are
    usually in a "hurry" to obtain their GED and move on or in my
    opinion, the ABE programs sends that student to take the GED exams when they
    are "fundable" or have "made an educational functional level
    gain" and can now be reported in the performance based funding model.

    As a GED Administrator, it frustrates me to no end to have an ABE program have a
    student take the GED exams when they have an 8.9 grade equivalency just because
    they 1) met the 12 hour requirement and 2) have met an educational functional
    level gain. As we all are hearing and we know, a high school diploma or a GED
    is not enough to secure a living wage job any longer. But when the students
    then move to postsecondary education, they now do not have the academic
    abilities to enroll in credit courses.

    One of the affective issues that I run into is when students, teachers, and/or
    admins perceive skills tests as a social ritual or a Judgment of Worth, rather
    than an attempt to measure skills that a person would actually want to master.
    When the goal is "pass the test" sometimes that leads to very ill
    preparation for what the test is supposed to qualify the person for.

    Susan Jones

    Academic Development Specialist

    Center for Academic Success

    Parkland College

    Champaign, IL


    Subject: [Transitions 253]
    Re: Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

    From: Robin I. Matusow

    Date: January 13, 2010

    I am
    currently on our state's transition group and have found some interesting
    information in our search for our transition goals. I will try to answer the
    questions based on our research and experience with large organizations trying
    to change or add direction.

    What are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for
    success in post-secondary education and training?

    • Since,
      unlike k-12 systems that are organized in a consistent manner in terms of who
      provides services and the flow of those service, Adult ed provider have divided
      the adult education experience into pieces, provided by different entities ,
      differently from county to county , let alone state by state,
      communication/cooperation between providers is paramount.
    • Across
      the board, professional case management/counseling services are the main engine
      in the process.
    • Good
      academic preparation in whatever form. That can be straight prep, contextual
      curriculum... What ever....  
    • Good
      soft skills.

    What
    are the challenges?

    • No
      funding or legislative infrastructure (articulation agreements). Often the
      legislation that governs funding for adult ed has no transition services built
      into it. * In our state we have an entire committee that has been charged with
      overseeing our articulation agreements in a k-20 system but states new,
      infrastructure needs to be adjusted. Adult ed transition needs, when left to
      individual institutions, is not a priority.
    • Since
      as stated above, the adult ed educational experience has been ( unnaturally) divided,
      getting institutions to communicate is a challenge.

    What
    are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

    • Provide
      grants to the states for creation of both proven transition services and
      accompanying legislation and infrastructure creation.
    • Provide
      grants to the k-12 system that encourages them to provide information and
      support for those students who are not going to graduate and build a supportive
      bridge to adult ed and beyond. If k-12 students thought adult ed was a
      legitimate road to college and success (not failure, just different) , adult ed
      would have considerably less difficulties getting students to persist and
      succeed.
    • Have
      "college bound" classes in adult ed. GED could be divided into those
      who need it right now and want a "terminal" adult ed experience and
      those who are going onto college. The "college bound" classes would
      include all the college necessary skills.
    • In
      general, redesign adult ed so it is a natural adult educational experience,
      designed to be reflective of students and workplace needs, not provider/funding
      structure needs.

    What
    are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

    I
    am not a WIA "person" ( I haven't worked directly in a WIA program
    for a very long time, but my hopes are that it can be designed to dovetail
    better with educational services, not be such a burden on providers, serve
    persons with disabilities and include some services that encourage educational
    and life transition.

    Robin I. Matusow


    Subject: [Transitions 254]
    Re: Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

    From: Linda Whiton

    Date: January 13, 2010

    I'd like to
    ditto Robin. This is very well put. I started working in ABE and higher ed both
    in 1983 as a reading specialist. My doctorate is in the development of
    curriculum and programs for adults. I have been running a transition to college
    program in a community college for almost 5 years now. I have worked with
    WIA... and I believe the need for WIA to focus more on dovetailing with
    education is very Important. Again, I ditto all that is said in this posting.

    Lindy Whiton

    Greenfield Community College
    Greenfield, MA


    Subject: [Transitions 255]
    Re: Essential Components

    From: Beverly Jaynes

    Date: January 13, 2010

    I certainly
    agree that this is a major topic area, but I believe also that students can
    only be in as much of a "hurry" as instructional staff allow. In
    North Carolina, most adult education providers are encouraged to apply rigorous
    pre/post test criteria (including minimum grade levels scores above 9.0 in all
    areas) in addition to scores of 500+ on the OPT prior to any official GED
    testing. The realization is, of course, that students are not being well served
    in any arena if the driving criteria is EFL gain and not well designed,
    scholarly, academic preparation. Not only is the student a loser when this is
    not the case, programming and funding are also endangered in the long view.
    There is no substitute for high quality, responsible instruction...at any
    level.

    Beverly Jaynes

    Basic Skills Department Chair

    Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute


    Subject: [Transitions 256]
    Re: Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

    From: Anita Springer  

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Below are my
    thoughts regarding this statement which was part of a response to the WIA
    questions: "Provide grants to the k-12 system that encourages them to
    provide information and support for those students who are not going to
    graduate and build a supportive bridge to adult ed and beyond. If k-12 students
    thought adult ed was a legitimate road to college and success (not failure,
    just different) , adult ed would have considerably less difficulties getting
    students to persist and succeed."

    My thoughts: If we want to promote adult ed as an equally
    "legitimate" road to success--whether as a terminal diploma or a
    route to college--I think adult ed programs need to receive more funding. I
    can't speak for all adult ed programs, but I don't think ours is unusual in
    that it operates on a shoe-string budget compared to the local high schools.
    Many young people and their parents believe the students will be more
    successful in adult ed than they were in high school--and a few are; however,
    some are surprised to find that the high school had all kinds of resources to
    help them that our adult ed program simply can't afford.

    As a footnote...if the push is for standard high school diploma curricula to
    become college prep (for example, 4 years of math and 4 years of science
    required to ensure all our Texas HS grads are "college ready"), then
    I think a "legitimate" path to adult ed and greater funding for adult
    ed will become critical for the increased number of young people who will be
    dropping out of our high schools.

    Anita


    Subject: [Transitions 257]
    Transitions to Post-secondary Education

    From: Stephanie Moran on
    behalf of Paulette Church

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Here is how
    we are funding our free transitions program this summer-- We have worked with
    our county's Department of Human Services building a good relationship over
    several years and partnering through small grants and contracts. When state
    funds became available to do regional projects, the county asked us to submit a
    grant that could meet the needs of TANF-eligible students and add new work prep
    programs to surrounding counties and tribes. Through partnering with other
    adult education providers, a family center, a
    school district, and involving tribal educational programs we were able to gain
    funding for the transition to college program for two summers. We also added
    courses at 5 locations for financial literacy, professional skills for
    business, and an extensive continuum of computer skills leading to website
    design with Adobe products.

    The transition course is 8 weeks long with about 4 hours of instruction and
    individualized tutoring per day, four days per week. Our target is 24 students
    each summer, 10 in a smaller town and 14 in Durango. Due to the intensity of
    the math, reading, and writing instruction, we keep the classes small.

    Paulette Church


    Subject:
    Transitions 258] transitions
    From:
    Valerie J. Fischer
    Date:
    January 13, 2010

    What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
    post-secondary education and training? What are the challenges? What are some
    innovative solutions to those challenges? What are your hopes for WIA
    reauthorization?

    Generally, adult learners need "more" than a GED to be ready to
    compete in a post secondary environment. More includes advanced academic
    preparation; a strong comfort level with the personal and professional demands
    of college (i.e. study skills, time management, multi-tasking, teamwork,
    schedule demands, study time, even personal support from spouse, family,
    assistance and arrangements for transportation, child care, misc needs). The
    likelihood that any post secondary setting will resemble the environment that
    they completed their GED or ABE is marginal at best - they need to be ready for
    what they'll encounter. These issues are critical in every community across the
    country and can best be met by individual strategies and practices, not policy
    through WIA. Innovative solutions and strategies are alive and well everywhere
    - the adult education community just needs the forum to share and discuss.
    There is no greater teacher than an adult educator - they are the most
    innovative and creative people you'll ever meet; their passion to help student
    of all ages and with all goals succeed is one of this country's greatest
    strengths!

    Increased funding as part of WIA reauthorization would allow ALC's to not only
    meet the huge educational needs and post-basic academic instruction, but allow
    for additional staff such as special educators, career counselors and social
    workers. Adult Education has become responsible for the 'whole' student and to
    be job ready, or college ready, we need more staff to work with referral
    agencies, develop job, college and personal readiness skills.

    Valerie Fischer

    Director of Adult Education

    ND Department of Public Instruction

    Bismarck, ND


    Subject: [Transitions 259]
    Re: Transitions to Post-secondary Education Questions

    From: Rebecca Avery

    Date: January 13, 2010

    What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
    post-secondary education and training?

    • Funding!
      Funding tends to be our road block to services in Adult Ed. I work for a non
      for profit here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If we had proper funding, we could
      offer all of the classes I have developed over the last year on work place literacy
      and GED transition.
    • Training.
      Instructors need training in adult transition, working with special needs
      adults and using assessments for planning.

    What
    are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

    • Funding
      need I say more.
    • Assessment.
      Currently we us the TABE to assess our students. In my opinion this is a bad
      test. It has no correlation to the GED. I have had students test 4 grade in
      Math and score a 500 on the Pre GED test. However all of our funding is based
      on these TABE GRE scores. If we can not show progress on the TABE we have no
      progress.
    • I
      would like to see better assessments in Adult ED.

    What
    are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

    • Funding.
      Our very survival is based on funding. We need the ability to research and
      collaborate with other adult ed providers on best practices. We need to be able
      to create partners who support our students in the goals to gain better
      employment and post secondary schooling. All of this takes time and money

    Rebecca
    Avery


    Subject: [Transitions 260]
    Re: my contribution to the WIA Reauthorization discussion- WIA Community
    Conversations - Carolyn Dickinson

    From: Ellen Hewett posted
    on behalf of Carolyn Dickinson

    Date:  January 13, 2010

    Most of the
    discussion seems to come from large programs where Adult Ed programs are (I’m
    guessing) organized more like regular schools, with specific classes at
    specific times for specific time frames. Such systems, where both students and
    instructors are drawn from larger populations, have greater financial,
    instructional, and personnel resources than smaller programs in rural areas.

    Our program provides fourteen classrooms in ten counties in western Nebraska. We have about 20 part-time instructors, some of whom are volunteers (no full-time
    instructors). Due to budget cuts, we have been forced to replace some of our
    paid instructors with volunteers. We are fortunate that most of them, both paid
    and volunteers, are retired school teachers.

    On any given day, we might have up to a dozen students in any of our
    classrooms, with a few studying math, a few working on science or social
    studies, a few concentrating on reading, and one or two practicing language
    mechanics or writing essays. The instructor, like the old  fashioned one-room
    school house instructor, helps the student who needs help. Sometimes all the
    students are combined for a single lesson, working on the same subject.

    For various reasons, including transportation issues and lack of child care,
    more than a third of those who attend orientation do not continue past the
    first six hours. More than half leave before completing 12 hours. Less than 10%
    of those who attend orientation stay with us for 60 hours or more. On the other
    hand, we “graduate” a hundred students each year.

    This information is not intended to answer any of the questions raised for this
    discussion group, but rather to inform participants that some of us face
    different challenges. Rules and regulations that work well in larger programs
    may handicap smaller programs in rural areas, where the numbers are not so
    large, but the need is still great.

    I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this discussion. Very
    rarely are the people involved in this program allowed to express our concerns
    and our successes. Thank you, NIFL, for listening.

    Carolyn Dickinson

    Western Nebraska Community College

    Scottsbluff, Nebraska


    Subject: [Transitions 261]
    Challenges and Articulation Agreements

    From: Stephanie Moran

    Date: January 13, 2010

    A section
    copied below from Robin in Florida. Colorado has Governor Ritter's P-20
    Council, and after strong advocacy on adult education's part, we got a seat at
    one of the tables, but with the focus more on family literacy, however, rather
    than on adult education in its own right. This appears to be due somewhat to
    some sensitive issues around immigration as well as the stereotypical
    perspective about GED students/adult learners as losers or as people who
    "had their chance and blew it."

    It would be phenomenal if respected people at the federal level were to
    publicly recognize the need for adult education, the value of it, and the worth
    of adult learners; such recognition and support of the role that adult
    education plays in strengthening the business of America as well as its future
    could go a long way to reshaping people's mindsets about what adult ed actually
    is and does.

    What are the challenges?

    • No
      funding or legislative infrastructure (articulation agreements). Often the
      legislation that governs funding for adult ed has no transition services built
      into it.
    • In
      our state we have an entire committee that has been charged with overseeing our
      articulation agreements in a k-20 system but states almost nothing about
      articulation of adult ed students. Because this a new, infrastructure needs to
      be adjusted. Adult ed transition needs, when left to individual institutions,
      is not a priority.
    • Since
      as stated above, the adult ed educational experience has been (unnaturally)
      divided, getting institutions to communicate is a challenge

    Subject: [Transitions 262]
    Re: transitions

    From: Stephanie Moran

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Valerie
    really captures many key points in this post.

    Stephanie
    Moran         


    Subject: [Transitions 264]
    Continuing the WIA Discussion

    From: Ellen Hewett

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Dear
    Colleagues,

    Reviewing the many and varied contributions to this discussion my appreciation
    for your commitment to adult students' success. Thank you.

    To continue discussions, please post your response to the questions below by
    replying to an existing post or by sending your email. Feel free to share something
    that someone else may have already covered. Your experience is your own and
    therefore unique.

    • What
      are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
      post-secondary education and training?
    • What
      are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?
    • What
      are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?
    • If you see
      something in someone else's post you want to echo or discuss further, please
      do!

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Ellen

    Moderator, Transitions to
    Post-secondary-education Discussion List


    Subject: [Transitions 265]
    Continuing the WIA Discussion

    From: Ellen Hewett

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Greetings -
    Somehow an important word was lost in the posting of my last communication to
    you. The first sentence needs to read: "Reviewing the many and varied
    contributions to this discussion my appreciation for your commitment to adult
    students' success GROWS." (The word grows was missing in the earlier
    essage!)

    Be well,

    Ellen                                         

    Moderator, Transitions to Post-secondary-education Discussion List


    Subject: [Transitions 267] My
    Answers

    From: Ellen Lindsey

    Date: January 13, 2010

    Thanks for
    the opportunity to give input.

    What are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for
    success in post-secondary education and training?

    In
    applicants to our adult vocational training programs (in cabinetmaking and
    shipping & receiving) we are looking for people with holistic support
    surrounding them. This may take the form of a loving and supportive family, but
    where it does not, often for the students with multiple barriers to
    education/employment, a shelter or program that provides true support: flexible
    timelines for residence, accountability, a private/quiet place to organize and
    study, is essential.

    What are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those
    challenges?

    Divergent
    expectations from program goals/expectations is a perennial problem. A detailed
    orientation and one-on-one interview with incoming students has been fairly
    successful at giving an opportunity for divergent goals to shake out prior to
    enrollment.

    What are your hopes for WIA reauthorization?

    Currently
    the paperwork requirements of WIA are taking too much time/effort away from
    providing services to clients. In Illinois, JTED monitoring is a good example
    of sufficient and efficient monitoring.

    Thanks,

    Ellen Lindsey


    Subject:
    [Transitions 268] WIA / College Transitions
    From: Eric
    Neutuch
    Date:
    January 14, 2010

    I've enjoyed
    reading the emails posted over the past few days. Here are some of my personal
    hopes for WIA and adult education college transitions:

    Data
    Systems:
    Adult education should be included in statewide data information
    systems. We need to know who goes on to college, who persists in college, and
    how our completers (and non-completers) do in the labor market.

    Articulation
    with College Placement Tests:
    More and more states are standardizing their
    higher education system's placement testing protocols (i.e., all state colleges
    use the COMPASS with the same cut-score). Making practice placement tests
    available in adult education centers and high schools is critical to prepare
    students for those tests and the expectations that their state college system
    has. (See California's Early Assessment Program.)

    College
    Knowledge:
    College transition courses in adult education need to walk students
    through the college application and financial aid processes rather than just
    providing them with information about those processes. (See a recent practice
    guide from the USDoE's Institute for

    Education Sciences titled Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What
    High Schools Can Do.)

    Innovation:
    There needs to be a grant competition for states that are showing commitment to
    data systems, articulation, college knowledge, teacher professional
    development, and other "best practices" and want to experiment with
    new ideas.

    Disclosure:
    My program is state-funded (not WIA).

    Eric Neutuch

    Coordinator, Strategic College Initiatives

    Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center

    New York, NY


    Subject: [Transitions 269]
    Continuing the WIA Conversation

    From: David Downes

    Date: January 14, 2010

    While I have
    a few points to share on the transitions topic, I also want to say that our
    "gateway" programs in basic skills and family literacy, ESL and
    citizenship preparation also need to share the spotlight when federal funding
    for professional development, innovative programs and
    curriculum enhancement is being considered. These are the programs that first
    attract many of the people we serve, and for those adult ed programs whose
    funding is tied partially to local education budgets, as they are in
    Connecticut, these are the programs that are often most visible to a community
    that supports them.

    The ingredients for success in transitions to post-secondary education and
    training have been articulated by several contributors, and our own experience
    confirms that partnerships between college-level academic programs and adult
    education providers are the key to producing positive student growth. Our
    program and the area community college cooperated to infuse the curriculum of
    the college's non-credit developmental language skills classes into our GED
    preparation class, creating a kind of "GED Plus" class with more
    content and college-prep skill-building. The early results of this marriage show
    that 1) more students can take on additional academic work than we, or the
    students themselves, thought they could, and 2) more of our students attained
    the "honors" level of GED scores than we've had previously, signaling
    a retention of the instruction at a high level. The side benefit of this
    experience for the students is a boost of their self-image as capable students
    more ready for the next level of academic demands. Continued funding that
    promotes, if not requires, such partnerships best insures that the transition
    process is a positive one.

    From our experience with workplace education, we have also seen how
    contextualized curriculums, especially in mathematics, not only help students
    understand the demands of the jobs they are in or want to have, but, as the
    work of Thomas Sticht and others has shown, also develop basic skills faster
    and with greater retention because the learning is given meaning that's
    important to the learner. Funding that promotes the instruction of applied
    basic skills based on student occupational goals should be enhanced. Where
    we've seen less success is in connecting our efforts with the work of the area
    workforce investment board, and this problem seems to go beyond local or even
    regional boundaries. Richard Clute's earlier comments calling for "a more
    cooperative venture between workforce and adult education" are well taken.

    The challenges to further success in transitions education involve smoothing
    out the rough edges that create disjointed efforts on the parts of educational
    and workplace organizations. One rough edge is the lack of readiness of too
    many college instructors to take adult education students where they're at and
    move them forward. Just as differentiated instruction has become a cornerstone
    of successful mainstream high school programs, similar professional development
    in this area at the college level should be a prerequisite for funding of
    transitions proposals. The other rough edge the lack of communication between
    workforce programs and adult ed programs, from the local level on up, despite
    the involvement of many adult ed programs in direct workplace education. In
    each of these areas mentioned, there are amazing success stories, but they are
    the exceptions that need to become the norm.

    David Downes


    Subject: [Transitions 270]
    College Placement Tests/Single Point of Entry

    From: Stephanie Moran

    Date: January 14, 2010

    Astute
    points from Eric here.

    About
    college placement tests, though, a serious disalignment exists now between
    Accuplacer and the GED, and I expect that many graduating HS seniors have
    difficulty with the Accuplacer as well. One major issue with Accuplacer is that
    it starts out with lower level math questions, so a student who does not have
    mastery of percents and fractions, for example, but DOES understand algebra
    will never get to reveal that knowledge because the Accuplacer will not bump
    the student into algebraic questions is s/he misses the "simpler"
    ones. Massachusetts and other states are working hard to bridge this gap in
    knowledge but also to address the testing processes, so we need to be quite
    careful if we insist on a single point of entry/single assessment test for all
    entering community college students.


    Subject: [Transitions 271]
    Re: WIA / College Transitions

    From: Forrest Chisman

    Date: January 14, 2010

    Eric,

    How do you know that your program is "state funded, not WIA." Under
    the WIA Title II state grant program *The Adult and Family Literacy Act),
    federal funds are granted to states, which then match them (and sometimes
    over-match them) with state funds, and then distribute money from this common
    pot to local programs. So most local AE programs receive a mix of state and
    federal funds in one grant. Does your state have a special stream of AE funding
    that consists SOLELY of state funds? Are you sure that you don't receive a dime
    of what was originally federal money? How do you know?

    Forrest Chisman


    Subject: Transitions 272]
    Posting to Transitions List Serv

    From: Perrault, Andrea

    Date: January 15, 2010

    What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners for success in
    post-secondary education and training?

    Academics

    From the explosion of developmental courses within our community colleges, it
    is clear that students are academically unprepared for college-level work. This
    applies to a broader audience than adult students, but our students definitely
    are at a disadvantage when caught in the trap of developmental coursework.
    Studies conducted at Jobs for the Future have documented that the likelihood of
    students' persisting and completing a degree if they must take more than two
    developmental courses is negligible. We need enhanced academic preparation in
    our programs. The ability for students to get enough academic instruction to
    move forward (and to build their own awareness of their progress) is important
    to building a more successful ABE system. While the need for services is great
    and wait lists are long, we must offer options for students to get more than
    four to six hours per week of instruction.

    Counseling

    Pilot programs or targeted support programs, like TRIO, offer enhanced
    counseling or advising to students within post-secondary educational
    institutions. However, these services are generally not the norm with higher
    education. Likewise, they generally are not part of the ABE system. This should
    change, and such services should be recognized for the important role they play
    in fostering student success.

    Professional Development

    ABE staff need more training as well; professional development for teachers,
    counselors, and administrators to learn more about the labor market, skills
    needed to access post-secondary education and training, and career paths is
    essential. In a Massachusetts' survey of ABE students and teachers, 43% of the
    69% of student respondents who wanted to get a job or a better job reported
    that they did not know what skills were needed to do so; correspondingly, the
    staff survey indicated that a majority of them did not know this either. We
    need more integrated professional development where workforce, higher
    education, and ABE staff can learn together and from each other.

    What are the challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those
    challenges?

    REFRAME THE
    TARGET

    A challenge to increasing the academic rigor in ABE programs to better prepare students
    for college level work is that not only have we identified the G.E.D. as the
    primary outcome goal of our system, but public and student perceptions also
    posit the G.E.D. as the ultimate outcome. After having worked in ABE for over
    thirty years, I've seen the excitement of students as they overcome the hurdle
    of not having a high school credential; they rightfully see that attaining the
    G.E.D. allows them to take a more elevated role in society - that of having the
    skills of a high school graduate. G.E.D. graduations are the most heart warming
    events; students, families, and employers celebrate this achievement. We cannot
    minimize the hurdle that this represents for our students.

    However, we also know that the current economy demands more; we must hone both
    our message and the academic content in our programs more carefully to
    emphasize the importance of gaining the academic skills that lead to success in
    post-secondary education and training. We must make that transition the outcome
    that our students strive to attain. The message needs to start from the day our
    students enroll in our programs. They must not only hear the message, but see
    it. We must highlight our graduates who are succeeding in college, training
    programs, and careers, by engaging them to come back to tell their stories.
    They are the best emissaries to carry the message. We must put  their pictures
    on our walls; one of the most compelling visual displays I've ever seen at an
    ABE program was a photographic display of individual program graduates
    accompanied by narratives of their successes; it was posted right in the
    reception area of the program.

    We need to add extra academic content that emphasizes building reading,
    writing, and math skills. We might target academic content in these areas to
    specific career options, to parent support of the future success of students'
    children, or to culturally celebrated activities (like Oprah's book club).
    These efforts should be connected to student goals overall. Most importantly,
    we need to engage academic specialists to teach the content, and they and all
    program staff need to focus on ultimate outcomes, as well as more immediate
    outcome goals.

    EXPAND COUNSELING

    Another critical challenge is providing counseling support for our students.
    Negotiating systems is challenging for all of us, and the post-secondary
    education systems can be most challenging of all. In my career, I've seen the
    success of group counseling/advising to helping students learn how to set
    goals, what to expect from educational systems, and how to negotiate systems.
    Students learn from each other, build a community, and discuss issues in way
    that shows them that they are not alone in facing challenges. ABE programs
    could utilize this format more effectively to help our students set goals,
    build a support network, and prepare for the future.

    ADVOCACY

    While we as service providers understand the consequences of an undereducated
    populace, we need to communicate with legislators so that they understand our
    challenges, and how those challenges undermine the success of our nation. We
    need to advocate for more funds, and demonstrate that we will use the funds in
    ways that will build the skills and success of the students we serve. Building
    recognition of ABE as an important system is critical, and Massachusetts has
    demonstrated success in doing this.

    PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Massachusetts has an excellent system for offering professional development
    to the ABE field, SABES. However, it is underfunded and must serve many areas
    of expertise. We also need incentives for staff to use the resources and to
    complete further degree completion.

    What are your hopes for WIA Reauthorization?

    In WIA Reauthorization, I hope that the connections between ABE and Workforce
    will be strengthened in ways that support rather than hamstring our systems,
    and that higher education and training will be elevated as the important third
    leg of the stool. All three systems are underfunded, and ultimately
    coordination is often overwhelmed by immediate service delivery needs. When
    authorizing legislation in one area does not show corresponding emphasis in
    other relevant and crucial areas, we end up with weak and often conflicted
    systems. I hope the legislation will support coordinated, if not integrated,
    strategies to bring our different worlds together.

    Andrea Perrault, M.Ed.

    Program Developer for Workforce Development

    Adult and Community Learning Services

    MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

    Malden, MA


    Subject: [Transitions 273] What
    are the successful ingredients needed to prepare adult learners

    From: Christy Nelson

    Date: January 15, 2010

    Good
    Morning:

    I hope it is not too late to post for the questions listed below. This is the
    first opportunity that I have had to address this important topic. I am very
    honored to work with an Adult Education program in Northwest Michigan that has
    chosen to undertake this process as part of our program improvement process.
    Our Adult Education Program is housed inside Michigan Works! Service Centers
    that deliver One-Stop Workforce Development Services. Four years ago our Adult
    Education staff were asked 2 questions:

    1. What can we do to help our Adults Transition into Postsecondary Education
      and Training and
    2. What can we do to make sure that they are successful once they get there.

    We did a lot
    of research and brainstorming and the result is the TAPET (Transitioning Adults
    into Postsecondary Education and Training) Project.

    What we have found is that one of the most important steps in the transition
    process is the need for effective Career Planning. All postsecondary training
    does not have to be a 2 or 4 year degree. Certificates and short termed,
    non-degree programs yield valid results based on career needs. We now have a
    better uderstanding that in order to define the "successful
    ingredients" needed to prepare adults, we first must define where they are
    going before we can give them a good map of how to get there.

    Effective communication with postsecondary institutions is a must. We have worked
    closely with our 4 local postsecondary institutions to discuss: *What are the
    educational needs of a successful postsecondary student. We are building up our
    curriculum to meet these needs. *Our program is now able to give the Compass
    Placement and Diagnostic tests. These tests give us an excellent idea not only
    of how ready a student is for college, but specific information regarding the
    skills that are lacking. These are the same skills that are defined in the TABE
    tests so instructors have a good idea of the individualized curriculum needs of
    a student to help them successfully complete the Compass Tests. In addition,
    instruction on the Compass testing process is a must because it is vastly
    different that taking a TABE test. Helping students improve their Compass
    scores yields many positive results. Mainly it helps to alleviate costs
    associated with developmental classes. Collaboration with the postsecondary
    institutions has allowed a student's Compass scores with our adult education
    program to be transferred to the postsecondary institution. It is important to
    note that we strictly follow the guidelines of the postsecondary institution
    regarding Compass testing. We do not allow students to practice taking the
    Compass test. (The Compass test is the entrance exam for our postsecondary
    institutions).

    Other successful ingredients an adult learner needs to be successful in
    post-secondary education are test Taking and Study Skills Strategies. An
    instructor from a local community college helped us put together a 3-hour Study
    Skills and Test taking Strategies workshop. It is offered once a month at each
    of our Adult Education sites and is open to the public. Participants learn how
    to effectively read textbooks, how to take notes, how to take tests and how to effectively
    manage their study time.

    Our research directed us toward the need for a Peer Mentoring Program. Again,
    collaboration with our postsecondary partners has helped to build and implement
    this initiative.

    Thanks for allowing me to share our TAPET project. Student testimonials about
    the various TAPET initiatives can be found by going to the last website listed
    in my signature. Good luck everyone. Transitioning adults in our programs is an
    important process that can affect future generations!!!

    Christina Luckey-Nelson

    Adult Education Coordinator

    TBAISD Adult Education

    Traverse City, MI


    Subject: [Transitions 274]
    Re: Posting to Transitions List Serv

    From: Lynda Webb

    Date: January 15, 2010

    Why do ABE
    programs have to follow an arbitrary rule of 60 hours of instruction, when a
    regular college class is 45 contact hours? So many of the ABE students need a
    reminder of what they know, so targeted instruction is so beneficial and
    certainly it takes less than 60 hours for the student to find success. Like all
    programs, the lives of the students are so complicated, that 60 hours is almost
    impossible.

    College Transition: The software systems of ABE data management and the college
    data management systems are not integrated. It is virtually impossible to track
    a student's transition to college, even if the ABE program is an extension of a
    college. If the ABE programs and college transitioning faculty/staff cannot
    "find" the students, it is difficult to offer assistance. I agree
    that a transition specialist from vocational and academic areas of a college
    need to be regular visitors and participants in GED classes, but who will pay
    for the time?


    Subject: [Transitions 275]
    Posting WIA related comments until midnight tonight!

    From: Ellen Hewett

    Date: January 15, 2010

    It's not too
    late to send your comments to the Transitions to Post-secondary Education
    discussion list for the conversation with Assistant Secretary Brenda
    Dann-Messier. I plan to post comments related to this discussion until the end
    of today, January 15!

    Thanks,

    Ellen
    Moderator, Transitions to Post-secondary Education Discussion List


    Subject: [Transitions 276]
    Re: Posting to Transitions List Serv

    From: Forrest Chisman

    Date: January 15, 2010

    Maybe I'm
    wrong, but my impression is that the NRS has set a "50" or
    "60" hour rule for reporting learning gains because the people who
    produce the "approved tests" do not believe that those tests
    accurately measure learning gains if they are administered at intervals of less
    that 50-60 hours of instruction. That is, the problem is a technical issue
    related to the assessment  instruments. Am I wrong about that?

    Forrest Chisman


    Subject: [Transitions 279]
    Posting to Transitions List Serv

    From: Susan Dow

    Date: January 15, 2010

    My
    understanding is that CTB McGraw-Hill recommends 60 hours of instruction
    between pre and post testing, but that should not be a hard and fast rule. For
    example, students who TABE at 5.8 are only .2 points from achieving a benchmark
    and should not have to wait 60 hours to be re-tested; we might lose them by
    then. I doubt if even the publishers would dispute that.Susan Dow


    Subject: [Transitions 280] 60
    hour rule

    From: Jon Engel

    Date: January 15, 2010

    I do not
    think that Forrest is wrong. My understanding is that OVAE put the 60 hour rule
    into effect across the nation and that each State could negotiate their own
    exceptions. In Texas, the exception only refers to ASE students and is of very
    little help.

    I further understand that the 60 hour rule was adopted because the publishers
    of the assessments said that 60 hours of instruction was needed to advance a
    level. In many many cases across all levels, our students can and do move
    through the levels with fewer hours of instruction.

    It is not a constructive rule, in my opinion.

    Jon Engel

    Adult Education Director

    Community Action Inc.

    San Marcos, TX


    Subject: [Transitions 280] 60
    hour rule (2nd #280 – Do not know why.)

    From: Bev Dye

    Date: January 15, 2010

    For those of
    you using TABE, has anyone ever seen anything in writing from CTB McGraw Hill
    stating that 60 is the number of hours needed to make a gain? Their website
    (under FAQ) even states (or it did as late as last month) that there is NO
    MINIMUM recommended number of hours between a pre and a posttest (unless you're
    using the same test, which would give the 'practice' effect). I've requested
    the new publisher's guidelines from 2 different folks at CTB, but never got a
    response. If anyone has test guidelines for TABE in writing (that state the
    necessary 60 hours), would you please pass along to those of us who've never
    seen them? Thanks,                        

    Bev Dye


    Subject: [Transitions 281]
    Re: WIA / College Transitions

    From: Eric Neutuch

    Date: January 15, 2010

    RE:
    Responding to Forest's Question

    The New York State Educational Opportunity Centers, of which the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center is a part, are funded primarily by an allocation
    from the state legislature and are administered by SUNY without WIA dollars.
    The EOCs are sometimes called SUNY's 69th campus, and as far as I understand
    it, they reflect a commitment by the state of New York to providing educational
    opportunities to educationally and economically challenged New Yorkers beyond
    what's supported with WIA dollars. (Go New York State! Yup, I heart New York.)

    Eric Neutuch

    Coordinator, Strategic College Initiatives

    Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center

    New York, NY


    Subject: [Transitions 282]
    posting to transitions listserv

    From: Pierson, Susan

    Date: January 15, 2010

    I have
    enjoyed reading all the comments and suggestions regarding transition and WIA.
    In an effort to avoid repeating those comments, I just have one suggestion for
    reauthorization of WIA. With the current legislation, we are not allowed to
    serve adults who already have a diploma. One of the biggest concerns stated by
    our local adult ed directors and staff who offer transition programs is that
    they wish they could serve our adults who have completed their work for their
    diploma and/or those in the community who are trying to better themselves and
    get into community college. It is difficult for most students to work on
    completion of their work for the high school diploma and at the same time go to
    classes to transition to post secondary education as well as dealing with their
    daily life responsibilities. Students also don't always have the confidence to
    know that they can go on until after they get their diploma. It would be useful
    if we can somehow serve those students who do have a diploma as well as those
    who don't especially for that transition.

    Thanks!

    Susan Pierson

    Associate Education Consultant

    Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services & Adult Education

    State Department of Education

    Middletown, CT


    Subject:
    [Transitions 283] Re: Posting to Transitions List Serv
    From:
    Forrest Chisman
    Date:
    January 15, 2010

    RIGHT ON!

    And the goal of WIA should be to assure that AE programs can do ALL of these
    things. Right now WIA funds can't be used to support much of what Andrea
    mentions, or they are inadequate, or there is no mandate to use them in these
    ways. This must change.

    Forrest Chisman


    Subject: [Transitions 284]
    Re: 60 hour rule

    From: Jon Engel

    Date: January 15, 2010

    Bev asks a
    great question. I have not seen anything in writing from CTB McGraw Hill or CAL in regard to minimum hours of instruction between assessments. Can anyone point us to
    the written guidelines?

    Jon Engel, Adult Education Director

    Community Action Inc. San Marcos, TX


    Subject: Transitions 285] WIA

    From: Mina Reddy

    Date: January 15, 2010

    I support
    the move to expand the mission of ABE to encompass transitions to college in
    keeping with the increased need for postsecondary education on an individual
    and societal level. This expanded mission needs to be accompanied by sufficient
    funding. The field needs to be funded at a level that allows for a higher ratio
    of full-time positions than currently exists so that there is greater stability
    in the teaching staff and the ability to provide counseling/advising and
    collaborations. I agree with some other posters that we should revise the GED
    preparation curriculum with an eye to college readiness. At the same time, I
    would advocate for a separate transitions to college program within ABE
    programs because (1) some GED students will not be immediately ready to think
    about college and (2) upper level ESOL students who are not in GED classes also
    need transitions classes.

    I would also ask that WIA reauthorization include provision for multi-year
    tracking of outcomes. We see a very incomplete picture of adults’ learning
    gains or entry into jobs or further education when we only look at one year’s
    data.

    Mina Reddy


    Subject: [Transitions 286]
    Re: 60 hour rule

    From: Forrest Chisman

    Date: January 15, 2010

    I doubt that
    there are written guidelines. I believe the issue is that neither the McGraw
    Hill tests nor the other "approved" assessments (such as CASAS, BEST,
    REEP, etc.)are reliable enough to tell the difference between a 5.8 and a 6 in
    ANY TIMEFRAME. Effectively, they have a "margin of error" that large
    or larger (although in statistical lingo it isn't really a "margin of
    error"). So I THINK the NRS idea is that you shouldn't retest until you
    can expect larger learning gains. That would be fine, EXCEPT that they treat
    the test scores for "levels" as sacred for reporting purposes. An
    easier solution would be for them to set the test scores for levels as
    "+/- 10%" or something like that. Or to reduce the number of levels.
    I've always thought that, for practical purposes there are really only three
    levels -- "low, intermediate, and high" -- but that's just me.

    Forrest Chisman


    Subject: [Transitions 288]
    Re: posting to transitions listserv

    From: Karen Greer

    Date: January 16, 2010
    (Sent on January 15, 2010)

    We can serve
    people until they reach 12.9 level we have lots who get their GED and are not
    near that level. The transitions efforts would be null and void if we did not
    have this provision. Transition efforts are needed.

    Karen Greer, Adult Ed Inst.


    Subject: [Transitions 287]
    Post Secondary Transition Programs

    From: Bob Curtis

    Date:  January 16, 2010
    (Sent on January 15, 2010)

    When any of
    these occur: school fails, student fails, no family support, complex medical,
    mental,social issues students find themselves unable to graduate with their
    cohort and GED students are often entering these phases, have been impacted by
    them transition programs to significant certificate programs and associate
    level education to be competitive and have a family sustaining job is
    accomplished by strong Post Secondary Transition Programs.

    It is therefore necessary and proper for WIA funding to be fully capable of
    truly impacting these issues and in a deliver manner that is universally
    accountable demonstrating success, growth and planned improvement.

    My public school Adult Education ESL Program in NYS has a little over 100
    students now. They are waiting to be able to enter a public school district
    adult/Refugee ESL Program often mandated by Social Services.

    With the funding levels we have and the number of adult adults we have entering
    our doors for literacy, services we are unable to provide for the special
    learning services necessary for success. Many of our students in literacy have
    special literacy needs, many ESL students are illiterate in their native
    language. This makes learning English much slower. These are the types of
    students that daily seek our educational services.

    We partner with Erie Community College (NY) and Jamestown Community College
    (NY) for joint educational programs for students to receive free and
    appropriate literacy services to increase their reading, writing and
    mathematical skills. These programs are very lowly funded. We need to better
    use this joint system to better and more universally create a PATHWAY to
    certificate and associate level programs. The need for true and full vocational
    certificate programs in today's economy creates a future for family sustaining
    jobs, that well weather life's economy. With all of this in mind and a glossed
    overview of educational issues/needs I ask Dr. Dann-Messier to consider: the fiscal needs of: these programs, the
    fiscal need to: publicize the programs and to include data driven success
    targets to ensure funding at a level
    that she knows will: * truly impact programs, services and people to be able to
    truly help.


    Thanks!  Bob Curtis