[Assessment 1269] Formative Assessment in Adult Literacy Education: A Special Topics Discussion

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David J. Rosen djrosen at comcast.net
Fri Feb 22 15:01:38 EST 2008


If you would like to participate in the online discussion to be held
the week of February 25th, beginning Monday, on Formative Assessment
in Adult Literacy Education, and if you haven't already done so,
please sign up now. To do so, go to

http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/specialtopics .

and follow the directions for subscribing. You will receive an email
asking if you do indeed want to subscribe. Reply immediately. You
can unsubscribe after the discussion by going to the same web page
or, if you prefer, you can stay subscribed for the next discussion,
Transition from Corrections to Community Education that will begin on
March 17th.

David J. Rosen
Special Topics Discussion Moderator
djrosen at comcast.net

On Feb 20, 2008, at 11:00 AM, David J. Rosen wrote:

> Colleagues,


> Beginning on Monday, February 25th, the Special Topics list will

> hold a discussion on formative assessment, a set of classroom

> practices that substantial research in England has shown to

> positively affect elementary and secondary level student learning

> outcomes. Not a term widely known in the U.S., formative assessment

> refers to what teachers and learners do in the classroom to assess

> learning progress. An assessment is _formative_ when information

> gathered in the assessment process is used to modify teaching and

> learning activities. It's an assessment _for_ learning, not just

> _of_ learning.


> A just-published study sponsored by the Organisation for Economic

> Co-operation and Development (OECD), Teaching, Learning and

> Assessment for Adults: Improving Foundation Skills < http://

> tinyurl.com/2dksn5 > looks at formative assessment practices in

> adult foundation skills (basic skills) classes in several countries

> among which were the U.S. and England. We will have as our guests

> the researchers who did the studies in these two countries. OECD

> researchers who studied adult formative assessment practices in

> other countries may also participate in the discussion.


> In my opinion, not an unbiased one as I was an OECD researcher in

> this study of practices in Flanders Belgium, the study could have

> an important impact on adult literacy education practices in North

> America, and formative assessment could -- as has been shown in

> K-12 and higher education studies -- make an important difference

> for students' learning.


> I hope you will join my esteemed guests for this discussion.


> To subscribe to the discussion, go to

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

> You can unsubscribe after the discussion by going to the same web

> page or, if you prefer, you can stay subscribed for the next

> discussion, Transition from Corrections to Community Education.


> Formative Assessment Guest Experts


> Janet Looney

> Janet Looney is the project leader of the Centre for Educational

> Research and Innovation program known as What Works in Innovation

> in Education. Since 2002 its focus has been on formative

> assessment. Between 2002 and 2004, the What Works program explored

> formative assessment in lower secondary classrooms in eight

> international systems. [See Formative Assessment: Improving

> Learning in Secondary Classrooms (2005)]. OECD has just published

> the second study addressing formative assessment for adult basic

> skill learners, whose web page was provided above.

> Earlier in her career Janet taught ESOL in Japan for over two

> years, and at the YMCA in Seattle Washington.


> John Benseman

> John Benseman has been involved in adult education and literacy for

> over 30 years working as a practitioner and program administrator,

> but mainly as a researcher and evaluator. He started his working

> life as a primary (elementary) school teacher, but “became

> disillusioned with the task of constantly trying to motivate

> reluctant learners and became much more interested in working with

> adults who were much more motivated”. After a year of studying

> adult education in Sweden, he worked in continuing medical

> education, followed by seven years of running a community-based

> adult education organization and a similar period of self-

> employment as a researcher. After 12 years of teaching adult

> education at the University of Auckland, he moved last year to the

> Department of Labour to run a national workplace literacy project.

> The aim of this project is to identify best practice in workplace

> literacy by evaluating 15 diverse programs throughout New Zealand.

> They are about halfway through and should complete it late next

> year. To date they have interviewed about 250 learners and are just

> starting to get their first post-program data. They expect to have

> data on about 500-600 learners when it is finished.

> John’s PhD was an analysis of New Zealand as a learning society. In

> addition to a "zillion" reports, he has edited a book on New

> Zealand adult education and two weeks ago, another one (with Alison

> Sutton) on New Zealand adult literacy. He “mainly works from home

> in a study that looks out on to beautiful native bush, including a

> stream and lots of native birds”. He says "It’s summer here, so

> life includes jaunts to the beach, enjoying family life, frustrated

> attempts to lower a very average golf handicap and riding a

> motorbike to beat the Auckland traffic. My current project also

> includes a lot of travel round the country to interview people – a

> duty that I am even paid to do…"


> With John Comings, John Benseman did the formative assessment

> research in the U.S., sponsored in part by the National Institute

> for Literacy


> John Comings

> Dr. John Comings was director of the National Center for the Study

> of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) during its 11 years of

> funding from the US Department of Education. He is currently Senior

> Research Associate and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of

> Education and a consultant on adult education in the U.S. and other

> countries. His research focuses on the impact of adult literacy

> programs and ways to support persistence of adult learners.


> John Vorhaus

> Dr John Vorhaus is Associate Director, Research, at the National

> Research and Development Centre in Adult Literacy and Numeracy

> (NRDC) at the Institute of Education. He is also Director of the

> Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning.


> John has directed numerous projects on adult literacy, language and

> numeracy, many of these focused on teaching and learning practices,

> and also on disadvantaged groups such as offenders, ethnic minority

> groups and people who are not in education, training or employment.


> On-going research is taken up with persons with profound and

> multiple learning difficulties and disabilities; their political

> status, the question of whether and how they are shown respect, and

> an examination of the teaching and learning practices best fitted

> to their needs and abilities.


> John has taught philosophy at the Universities of Bristol and

> London, and also in prison, adult and further education, and he

> continues to publish in the areas of political philosophy,

> philosophy of law and philosophy of education.


> David J. Rosen

> Special Topics Discussion Moderator

> djrosen at comcast.net






David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net