[Assessment 1089] CAAL Releases New ESL Study

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Gail Spangenberg gspangenberg at caalusa.org
Mon Jan 7 07:29:25 EST 2008

NEWS RELEASE (January 7, 2008 - NYC) -- The Council for Advancement
of Adult Literacy today released PATHWAYS & OUTCOMES: TRACKING ESL
STUDENT PERFORMANCE. It is a longitudinal study of adult ESL services
at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), completing a trilogy by
CAAL about adult ESL service in community colleges. Its primary aim
is to help those who plan and design community college ESL programs
assess and develop effective services. But it will also help those
who offer adult ESL services in other institutional settings, and
policymakers and funding organizations. The authors note that CCSF's
ESL program has features in common with many other community college
programs, and point to the model's importance because so many ESL
professionals across the country consider it to be "exemplary." It is
both "a typical case and a best case of adult education ESL in the
United States."

Steven Spurling and Sharon Seymour of the City College of San
Francisco, and CAAL's Forrest P. Chisman conducted the study. The
report contains a wealth of highly detailed research information and
analysis. It is groundbreaking in a number of respects. It may well
be the most comprehensive, in-depth research ever conducted on any
adult ESL program. It is based on College records tracking all
students over a seven-year period who first enrolled in CCSF's credit
and non-credit ESL programs in 1998, 1999, and 2000. More than 38,000
non-credit and some 6600 credit ESL students make up the "cohort"
that was examined. The primary focus is on persistence, learning
gains, and transition to credit studies, and on the success in credit
courses of non-credit ESL students. Major attention is given to the
various features of CCSF's ESL program that affected student outcomes
and pathways -- such as terms and hours of attendance, and program
design and policy. CCSF's substantial data on "stop-outs" is also
presented and analyzed in depth.

As the authors explain, PATHWAYS & OUTCOMES can be used and navigated
in many different ways. It is organized to serve the needs of various
kinds of readers. For some, the short Executive Summary will suffice.
For others, selected chapters will be sufficient. Others will want to
read the entire document and may be motivated to conduct additional
analyses on their own.

This study was made possible by CAAL discretionary funds; a
considerable amount of pro bono CAAL staff time and resources; and
staff time, data, and computer resources provided by City College of
San Francisco. Forrest Chisman was responsible for overall project
direction. Steven Spurling (Institutional Research Officer, Office of
Research, Planning, and Grants, CCSF) conducted the data analysis and
had primary responsibility for interpretation of that analysis.
Sharon Seymour (former Chair, ESL Department, CCSF) was a key
researcher in both of CAAL's prior ESL studies; she contributed to
the study's design and interpretation of its findings. Her special
insights into the College's ESL program helped shape findings about
student performances and program features that influenced performance.

The report is available at no charge from the CAAL website
(www.caalusa.org) as item ESL5 of the ESL section of the Publications
page. It is optimized for printing and can be downloaded either as a
single large document (212 pages) or in four smaller units. Bound
copies of the publication can be purchased directly from CAAL
(contact bheitner at caalusa.org for ordering instructions and price).

[The other two reports in this series are: "PASSING THE TORCH:
Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL" and "TORCHLIGHTS
IN ESL: Five Community College Profiles." They are available from the
CAAL website as items ESL2 and ESL4. Funding for the earlier reports
came from the Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, CAAL
discretionary funds from The McGraw-Hill Companies, and the Dollar
General Corporation.]

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