[Assessment 1171] Re: Intensity of Instruction and funding ofadult ESLprograms

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Forrest Chisman forrest at crosslink.net
Thu Feb 7 21:58:14 EST 2008

Dear Ajit,

Our research supports the idea you suggest: managed enrollment is usually
offered as one option (and often not at all levels) at the larger campus
sites, but not at remote locations. Interestingly, it usually seems to
attract more students than it can handle. The limit, of course, is that it
managed enrollment programs are usually also high intensity programs. Thus
they require more teacher hours/level than do open entry/exit programs and
therefore APPEAR more expensive. But if they move students up and out more
quickly, then they would be LESS expensive in reality.

Our research on 5 colleges (in "Passing the Torch")supports your hypothesis
that high intensity, managed enrollment students are more likely to attend
more hours and to advance more levels, although we were not always able to
quantify this.

Our CCSF research (in "Pathways and Outcomes" ) provides quantitative
evidence that supports your observation (and that of others) that students
who advance levels attend about 100-110 hours on average, BUT students who
attend this many hours are more likely to advance if they do so
consecutively (i.e. in the same term). CCSF offers few high intensity
programs in the traditional sense, but students who enroll in the high
intensity programs they DO offer both attend far more hours and advance far
more rapidly. In contrast, we found that students who attend 50 hours or
less rarely advance levels EVER. That doesn't mean they don't learn
anything, but they don't learn enough to be promoted a level, and they
almost always drop out.

CCSF also offers an interesting solution to BOTH the problems of how to
blend high intensity instruction and how to deal with the problem (raised in
various contexts in this discussion) of how deal with students who are more
proficient in one of the ESL skills (perhaps because of prior education)
than in others. They offer "Focus" programs at every level of instruction.
Each focus program offers 5 hours per week of instruction in one of the core
ESL skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, listening). Students in the
mainstream 10/hour per week program (which teaches all 4 skills) are not
required to take these focus programs, but some are advised to do so. A
remarkably large percentage of students enroll in one or more Focus programs
during their careers in non-credit ESL, and they almost always do so
concurrently with the mainstream program. Hence these students elect a
fairly high intensity schedule (15 hours per week) and one that allows them
to make up for difficulties in mastering particular skills. Not
surprisingly, we found that students who enroll in Focus programs attend
more total hours, persist longer, and are more likely to advance than are
other students. In a way, one can see Focus programs as one way of offering
high intensity instruction as an option.


From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Gopalakrishnan, Ajit
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 1:14 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1156] Re: Intensity of Instruction and funding ofadult

When the topic of managed enrollment has come up in my discussions with
local administrators, more so in recent years, I have tried to reiterate
that managed enrollment does not have to be an all or nothing proposition.
In CT, where close to 90% of the public adult education expenditures come
from state and local sources, several local program administrators don't
like the idea of denying entry to a local resident until the next
term/semester. It appears that our suggestion is similar to the "tracks"
concept you mention below --of course, the program needs to have some
minimum capacity in order to provide both managed and open entry options.
Even large programs may only be able to offer "tracks" at one or two of
their largest sites while the remaining smaller satellite locations may end
up continuing with an open-entry approach.

The end game is about finding ways that enable learners to maximize their
attendance hours. The most recent CAL study and two previous studies through
CASAS (one with CA data and the other with CT data) confirm that learners
who attend more hours (generally more than 100 hours) reflect the greatest
gains in ESL. These studies also show that a large number of ESL students
attend fewer than 60 hours. This brings us back to the persistence issue.
Jodi raised a question in an earlier email about intensity and attendance.
My hypothesis is that learners in more intensive (greater weekly intensity)
classes attend more total hours than learners in classes where the same
number of instructional hours are delivered over a longer duration. I have
seen it manifested in some local program data but need to study it more.


Ajit Gopalakrishnan
Connecticut Department of Education
25 Industrial Park Road
Middletown, CT 06457
Phone: (860) 807-2125
Fax: (860) 807-2062
Email: ajit.gopalakrishnan at ct.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [ <mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov>
mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Forrest Chisman
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 11:34 AM
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List'
Subject: [Assessment 1134] Re: Intensity of Instruction and funding ofadult


That's too bad about your experiences with managed enrollment. Some of the
colleges we studied think they "beat this rap" by creating very large
managed enrollment classes to allow for attrition. (For them, managed
enrollment meant that if students didn't attend on a regular basis, they
were dropped from the program.) They figured that what they lost in head
counts, they made up for in contact hours. But we also heard stories like
yours. I'm beginning to believe that "managed enrollment" works best as one
of several "tracks" -- if a program is large enough to have "tracks" -- a
track for the motivated. Some programs believe that it is by itself
"motivational" -- in that it encourages students to make more of a

What do the rest of you think?


-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [ <mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov>
mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Schneider, Jim
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 11:30 PM
To: Jodi Crandall; The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1126] Re: Intensity of Instruction and funding of adult

At our cc based adult learning center we do not charge any fees for

We have dabbled with the managed enrollment, however our institution is
driven by enrollment and contact hours so that we simply cannot afford to
operate in a managed enrollment fashion. I do believe that it is better for
the teachers and students. Unfortunately, operating in a strict fashion, our
enrollment took close to a 50% reduction. Still, recognizing the value of
the concept, the past two years we have attempted a semi-managed enrollment.
In the fall we have a 3 week enrollment period and then hold classes with no
additional students for 5 weeks. Then an additional 3 week open enrollment
followed by no new students for 5 weeks. Ideally, we would operate in this
fashion year round providing some sense of continuity for the instructors
and learners. Unfortunately, student attendance waxes and wanes due to
employment, weather, transportation, etc. and in each year we attempted this
we held to it through the second 5 weeks and then abandon it for the
remainder of the year because student attendance/enrollment declined to the
point that we had to enroll any learner whenever they were interested to
meet our enrollment goals.

The bulk of our english learners enroll in the three levels of morning
classes which meet Monday through Thursday from 8:30 until 11 a.m.. Our
evening program has varied from 2-3 levels. Evening classes meet Monday and
Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.. Both morning and evening classes are offered for
approximately 38 weeks through the fall and spring semesters.

These offerings are "how we have always done it" and are somewhat bound by
the available funds.

Jim, "I like the sound of eloquent" Schneider

From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
Sent: Tue 2/5/2008 3:30 PM
To: Assessment at nifl.gov
Subject: [Assessment 1116] Intensity of Instruction and funding of adult

Hi, everyone. It has been interesting reading the postings today and want
to respond to some of them now. I just learned from Forrest that his
Internet Service Provider is down, but he expects to be back on line either
tonight or tomorrow. He'll add his comments later.

In the meantime, let me respond to a couple of themes that have emerged in
the discussion.

Jackie asked what we meant by "intensity of instruction" and Marie provided
a definition from an excellent publication from the Center for Applied
Linguistics which analyzes the effects of instructional hours and intensity
of instruction on NRS level gains in listening and speaking.

In our study, we define "intensity of instruction" as the number of hours
per week and differentiate it from "duration" which is the total number of
hours for the program.
We think both intensity and duration are important. It is important to have
enough hours per week of instruction, but also important that there be
enough weeks. Programs in the 5 community colleges we studied varied from 3
to 20 hours per week of instruction, with 10 hours/week considered
"semi-intensive" and 20 hours/week as "intensive" instruction.

As Jim so eloquently put it, there are some basic reasons why programs might
not offer as many hours of instruction per week as they want to, with
funding being at the root of many of the reasons.

Forrest and I would be interested in knowing how many hours per week your
various programs meet (and for how many weeks) and how you determined that
schedule. Have you tried more intense programs for shorter periods of time?
What has been the impact on attendance?

Have any of you provided adult ESL/ESOL programs that charge a fee? We were
surprised to learn of such a program at Bunker Hill Community College. They
provide free adult ESOL and also a fee-based program in an attempt to
accommodate more learners. They found that at least some learners were able
to pay the fee and thus they were able to serve more learners.

We'd also like to know if your programs are open-entry/open-exit, with
learners coming to class when they can and sometimes leaving for several
classes before they return, or if you have tried some kind of "managed
enrollment" with attendance expectations of those who are enrolled in your
classes. Several community colleges have experimented with this approach
and have found it effective. I know that Forrest will have more to say
about this.

I have to go teach, but when I return, I'd like to talk a bit about issues
surrounding literacy and prior education.

Jodi Crandall

National Institute for Literacy
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