[Assessment 1339] Re: Tests vs. Self Assessments of Literacy

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Kroeger, Miriam Miriam.Kroeger at azed.gov
Tue Jun 10 10:51:55 EDT 2008

You might also want to ask your adult students if they have children in school, what grades, and of course what schools. Ask them how their children are doing. For persistent adult ed learners - keep track of these "informal" stats, particularly if the children are attending a school/schools close to your adult ed program. Then introduce yourself to the principal and tell him/her that several of your adult learners have children at the elementary school, and they are reporting that the children are doing well, or improving. Does the principal see this?, the children's teachers? Do they think there might be a correlation? Would they want to work with you on a little "research project" to confirm this??

Sometimes adult education is the best kept secret in the neighborhood.
-Miriam Kroeger

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Katrina Hinson
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:26 AM
To: assessment at nifl.gov; tsticht at znet.com
Subject: [Assessment 1338] Re: Tests vs. Self Assessments of Literacy

In his reply, Mr. Sticht wrote:
"It seems to me to be a national shame to spend billions of dollars to leave no children behind, while largely ignoring the desperate need of the children's parents and leaving them behind. How can this be an inspiration to children to pursue their own education? How can parents who cannot read be their children's first reading teachers? Conceivably, if we invested more in the education of poorly educated adults, we could influence the educability of the adult's children."

I think this is one of the key components that's missing in alot of adult literacy programs especially in rural areas across the US.
Ironically, alot of adult literacy programs are unable to partner with school systems depending on how or who governs the adult literacy program. I know in my state, public schools in some areas see us as direct competition with them rather than an asset - rather than see us as a resource to help parents, we're the 'bad guys' who take students from their classrooms - which is definitely not the case.

Parents are one of the greatest influences on children of any age. If parents don't have a strong academic background, then he/she may not see the value of encouraging their children to stay in school or achieve in school and may be unable to help his or her child achieve. Likewise, they may even be unable to locate community resources that would help their children like after school learning programs or tutoring options.
There is a lot to be said about having better educated parents so that those parents can have a positive impact on the future of their children.

The biggest hurdle though is how to remove barriers between adult literacy programs and public schools (at least for me where I'm located). Wouldn't it be great if teachers of low performing students who had met with the parents and knew that the parents didn't have a HS education or had not completed a HS education (that is asked on entry paperwork at the beginning of the school year when we send our kids to school - they ask 'highest education level" of the parents) provided information on local literacy programs that the parents might could attend? Think about the impact on a child who could see his or her mom or dad learning and realize the importance of learning for themselves as well? I don't know how to get there, but I do think it's something that would make a positive impact on how ever children learn if we help the parents learn as well.

Katrina Hinson
National Institute for Literacy
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