[Numeracy 548] Announcement: Guest discussion on assessing distance education students begins Monday!

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Marie Cora marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com
Fri Oct 1 17:09:26 EDT 2010

To subscribe to this discussion, please go to: Assessment at lincs.ed.gov

Dear Colleagues,

I'm pleased to announce the following Guest Discussion, which will be held
during the week of October 4, 2010:

Topic: Assessing Distance Education Students: Participation, Progress, and

Full information for this discussion can also be accessed at:


Introduction: This NIFL discussion will focus on using assessment in
distance education programs, what works, and what the challenges are as well
as suggestions for addressing them.

Our guest participants are from the Project IDEAL Support Center at the
University of Michigan. Project IDEAL is a consortium of 25 states that are
working to build effective distance education programs for their ABE
students. Since 2002 the Project IDEAL Support Center has provided member
states with technical assistance for program planning, teacher training,
program evaluation, and assessment. The Support Center develops training
materials, online courses, and Web-based research tools that member states
use to manage and improve their programs. Center staff have written policy
papers on core issues in distance education and promoted communication among
states through online community building, collaborative conference
presentations, newsletters, conference calls, and an annual workshop devoted
to sharing best practices and building the skills of state staff involved in
distance education.

Guest Participants:

Dr. Jerome Johnston is a Research Professor at the Institute for Social
Research at the University of Michigan. Jere earned his PhD from the
University of Michigan in Education and Psychology. Over the last 40 years
he has led major research efforts on the educational uses of media including
television, computers and the Internet. He has conducted large-scale
national evaluations of projects such as the Freestyle, 3-2-1 Contact,
Channel One, Crossroads Café, TV411, and LiteracyLink.

For the last 15 years, Jere's work has focused on the interplay of
technology, teaching, and learning in adult education, with a special
emphasis on Web-based learning. With collaborators at the Sacramento County
Office of Education he developed AdultEd Online
(http://www.adultedonline.org) – an OVAE-funded project to develop new
Web-based tools for teachers and learners in adult education and to promote
distance education.

Dr. Leslie Isler Petty is Associate Director of the Support Center and
Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Schoolcraft
Community College. Leslie earned her EdD from the Harvard Graduate School
of Education. For the last 30 years she has conducted studies of the
educational effectiveness of various television series designed for students
at levels ranging from elementary school to community college. Leslie is
the lead author on a wide array of Support Center publications, from the
Handbook of Distance Education to papers on state and federal policy. She
oversees the Center's training activities and is the primary contact for
technical support to many of the member states.

Recommended Preparations for This Discussion:

We have selected five pages on assessment from the Handbook
<http://www.projectideal.org/publications_resources/handbook.html> of
Distance Education for Adult Learners, 4th edition (76 pages). The short
reading summarizes the key issues in assessing distance learners. Access
this resource at:

For those interested in exploring issues in more depth:

* Explore the Project IDEAL website (projectideal.org). A quick
overview of <http://www.projectideal.org/getting_started/evaluation.html>
assessment issues appears at

In the publications
<http://www.projectideal.org/publications_resources/index.html> section
(projectideal.org/publications_resources) you can find these resources:

* To see our initial thinking on the many roles of assessment in
distance education, read the 4 page Executive Summary of Assessment

> and Accountability Issues in Distance Education for Adult Learners

(2002). (38 pages)

* Before standardized tests became the norm in adult education, the
Support Center looked at a number of alternatives to these tests:
checklists, portfolios, and online quizzes. To see what these looked like
in a number of states, read Using
pdf> Assessment to Guide Instructional Planning for Distance Learners
(2004) (34 pages)

* If you are interested in the issue of "counting" distance learners,
read Measuring
pdf> Contact Hours and Educational Progress in Distance Education (2005).
(31 pages)

Questions and Points to Consider:

What assessment issues are of interest to you?

* What questions do you have focused on assessing students in distance
education programs?
* What are some of the more successful assessment activities that you
have included in a distance education program?
* What challenges do you see and what are your suggestions for
improving assessment in distance education?

Further Resources of Interest:

Implementation <http://www.nrsweb.org/docs/ImplementationGuidelines.pdf>
Guidelines: Measures and Methods for the National Reporting System for Adult
Education - March 2010.

See page 49 for a definition of distance education.

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