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May Topic
  Research #15: Promoting Success of Multilevel ESL Classes

Research Item #14:  Working with English Language Learners

5/22/09

Response #1 to Research #15

Advantages and Challenges of Teaching Multi-level Classes

When faced with the challenge of a multi-level classroom, many teachers do not know where to start. They fear that the preparation will take much longer, and that the students will be more demanding. Schools that have multi-level classes often have limited budgets, and teachers may fear that they will not be paid for what they are worth. However, it is only by looking at the advantages of the multi-level classroom and employing
strategies to overcome the challenges, that teachers can
achieve success.

Advantages of Multi-level classrooms

  • Students are able to learn at their own pace.

  • Students learn to work well in a group.

  • Students become independent learners.

  • Students develop strong relationships with their peers.

  • Students become partners in learning.

Challenges of Multi-level classrooms

  • Finding appropriate teaching resources and material

  • Organizing appropriate groupings within the class

  • Building an effective self-access centre in the classroom

  • Determining the individual needs of each student

  • Ensuring that all students are challenged and interested

  • Enforcing English only policies when teacher is occupied and students are working in small groups or pairs

Katya Marandino Irish
Great Falls- ESL Teacher

 

5/19/09

Research #15: Promoting Success of Multilevel ESL Classes

Since participants of the Montana ESL conference are still digesting what they have learned, the month of May will finish out with one more research item regarding multilevel classrooms.

Multilevel esl classess can provide many challenges, but they may also provide several opportunities.  In the CAELA Brief "Promoting Success of Multilievel ESL Classes:  What Teachers and Adminstrators Can Do", Julie Mathews-Aydinili and Tegina Van Horne state the following:

Research

Multilevel classes can provide opportunities for learners. Those with limited proficiency have an opportunity to interact with more proficient English speakers, and advanced learners benefit by using their English skills to help lower level students negotiate meaning. Students in multilevel classes can learn to work together across differences and develop learning communities in which members learn from one another’s strengths (Corley, 2005; Hofer & Larson, 1997; Jacobson, 2000; Wright, 1999) ...

... If the instructor plans activities that meet only the needs of learners whose skills fall in the middle, those learners with lower skills may become frustrated, and those with more advanced skills may become bored (Boyd & Boyd, 1989; Wrigley & Guth, 1992). Multilevel lesson planning must include strategies for organizing group, pair, and individual work ...

Mathews-Aydinili, Julie and Van Horne, Tegina, "Beginning to Work with Adult English Language Learners:  Some Consideration."  CAELA Brief, April 2006, <  http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/briefs/multilevel.html  >

Question:

  • What challenges and opportunities do you have in teaching multilevel esl classess?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS. 

 

5/10/09

Response #1 to Research #14

Below is the link to the Eight Approaches to Language Teaching ( p. C-21) I mentioned during the conference. It is from Virginia's ESOL Starter Kit, another great resource, please share.

 http://www.aelweb.vcu.edu/publications/ESLKit/ESLKit_2002.pdf

Below: Crosscultural Differences In Learning Styles of Secondary English Learners

http://brj.asu.edu/content/vol26_no2/pdf/ART13.PDF

Nice site for students to work in groups or individually on the computer

http://www.englishexpress.ca/

Peggy Benkleman, Director/Lewis & Clark Literacy Council, Helena
 

5/4/09

Research #14: Working with English Language Learners

Montana just celebrated its first annual Montana Adult Education ESL Conference.  One might think that Montana ABLE/ESL Professionals actually work for the United States Postal Service since they drive through rain and sleet and hail and snow to attend professional conferences.  Not so!  Twenty-five dedicated professionals, those who could make it across the state following another Montana spring blizzard, participated in the OPI -sponsored conference in Helena on April 30 and May 1..

Sarah Young and Amber Rodriguez of the CAELA (Center for Adult English Language Acquisition) at CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics) network along with Montana professionals Terrence Kelly, Ellen Guettler, and Katya Mandino Irish provided excellent presentations for participants.  Stay tuned for future postings at  http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/esl/MT_adult_esl_conference_2009.htm and for next year's conference.

Research

According to Mary Ann Cunningham Florez and Miriam Burt  in "Beginning to Work with Adult English Language Learners:  Some Consideration," there are four areas teachers may need to consider:

... recommendations in four areas:  application of principles of adult earning in ESL contexts, second language acquisition, culture and working with multicultural groups, and instructional approaches that support language development in adults.  It's not intended to be comprehensive ... it gives teachers an overview of important points ...

Cunningham Florez, Mary Ann, Burt, Miriam; "Beginning to Work with Adult English Language Learners:  Some Considerations." ERIC Q & A http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/beginQA.html

Question:

    • How do you think principles of adult learning apply to English language learners?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS. 

 

April Topic
 

Research Item #13:  Using Authentic Materials Continuation

Research Item #12:  Using Authentic Materials

4/26/09

Response #3 to Research #13

I like to use the attached spreadsheet, (click here for the spreadsheet) because it involves the participant to use math formulas to figure it out.  But the spreadsheet is as simple as it comes. FYI The formula isn't included that what students need do to on their own.  Figure out the math but really think about the problem and how you might go about it with paper and pencil.

Eunice Snay
Central SABES Regional Technologist
508-854-4514

esnay@qcc.mass.edu

Taken from NIFL's Technology Discussion List

Response #2 to Research #13

I like to have students do an actual research project (something that can be done in one class period usually) and create a simple chart using the Chart Wizard that can be dropped into a PowerPoint presentation.  They have to present their project and the results to the rest of the class in a "formal" presentation.  I do this with Intermediate level ESL students, but the basic idea can be adapted to any level.

For samples of typical student research projects see
http://esl.adultinstruction.org/ResearchProject.htm

Barry Bakin, Pacoima Skills Center
Division of Adult and Career Education
Los Angeles Unified School District

Taken from NIFL's Technology Discussion List

Response #1 to Research #13

The letter campaign has continued to bring a great response from students, especially when they receive communication from Montana's representatives.  One student who had been recently laid off from the Stillwater Mine and is now retooling at Adult Ed was so excited that she brought to class Senator Tester's response to her.  By participating in an authentic writing lesson, she felt she had taken a proactive approach to her economic situation.  Shortly after that, she got a new job.  Who knows?  Maybe that letter just instilled more self-confidence in her, and it showed during her interview!

Billings

4/20/09

MTLINCS Research Item #13:  Using Authentic Materials Continuation

Googling more information on internet regarding using authentic materials in the classroom leads one to several websites referencing the use of authentic materials with the adult English Speaker of Other Languages.  The ideas may be tranferred to materials for ABLE students. 

According to Gail Oura in "Authentic Task- Based Materials:  Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom,"

The extra time involved for teachers in planning for the use of authentic materials to supplement lessons is well worth it. In fact, using authentic materials has several advantages. According to Brinton (1991), authentic materials and media can reinforce for students the direct relationship between the language classroom and the outside world. Gebhard (1996) sees authentic materials as a way to contextualize language learning.”

Oura, Gail K., Cristine; "Authentic Task- Based Materials:  Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom."  <http://www.jrc.sophia.ac.jp/kiyou/ki21/gaio.pdf>

The key word to the statement above is extra time. MTLINCS believes that ABLE classess are actually implementing some authentic material activities and sometimes don't think of them as such,  One such activity that has recently occurred was the letter/email correspondence in which students of several programs participated.  During the past two weeks, students wrote their Congressional representatives to tell them about their experiences, positive or negative, in Montana ABLE.  Click here http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/RI/riupdate.htm  and read Responses #3 and #4 to check out what some of your Montana colleagues have to say about this event.

Questions:

    • If, in fact, that it is true that Montana ABLE programs are implementing authentic material activities, what are some of the things your program has done? 
    • What materials have you used? 

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS. 

4/19/09

Response #5 to Research #12

    Using MSWord, Excel, and PowerPoint for Authentic Materials

Oura, Gail K., Cristine; "Authentic Task- Based Materials:  Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom."  <http://www.jrc.sophia.ac.jp/kiyou/ki21/gaio.pdf>  On NIFL's Technology Discussion List, David Rosen shared a lesson with an accompanying evaluation rubric that involves job searching and writing using MSWord. 

Here are some other ideas from the Discussion List for using Excel.

  • Do colored pictures in a ‘cross-stitch’ pattern.

  • How about a paint by number series; and then (for the older students) with the ‘problem’ or formula as the exercise to get the correct “answer” for the color/number match. 

  • Vocabulary - Crossword puzzles – older more skilled can make them for the younger groups.

  • Area – specific area in different configurations – how many can you come up with… offer a prize.

  • Ratio - How about figuring the ratio Height to width of a cell to get a square

  • Maps - Create a map of your state (decrease the size of the cell) using certain cells for special things like cities.  The same for a community.

  • A lot of children now have Webkins.  How about a chart to indicate how often they visit, what areas, what have they purchased or earned; an inventory of clothing or toys for each… possibly a monthly budget.

  • Measurement - do a scaled down version of the building or room (like a blueprint)

Do you have other ideas?  Click here to share some of your ideas with MTLINCS.

Response #4 to Research #12

In order to detail their experiences in Montana ABLE - positive or negative - Billings students have sent approximately 150 emails to Montana Congressional representatives.  As Deborra Fischer, Billings Social Studies/Science instructor, said, "This is an excellent way for students to become involved in the democratic process."  Encouraging students to become part of the solution is very uplifting.  This is definitely an authentic writing activity and promotes some great conversations among students. 

Billings

Response #3 to Research #12

Great Falls students have sent over 70 letters to Montana Congressional representatives.

Great Falls

4/12/09

Response #2 to Research #12

The downside of adapting authentic materials for classroom use has always been our old enemy - time, perhaps more for the ESL classroom than for the ABE language arts classroom.  I would recommend that your readers refer to the following publications as models:
 
New Ways in Using Authentic Materials in the (ESL) Classroom
Larimer and Schleicher, Editors
New Ways in TESOL Series II - Innovative Classroom Techniques
TESOL Publications - 1999
 
A World of Fiction - Twenty Timeless Short Stories
Sybil Marcus
Longman, 2005
 
Sybil Marcus is a professor in the English Language Program at UC Berkeley Extension and is well known in the field.  I attended the 'launch' presentation of this text at TESOL 2005.  Marcus reviewed several hundred stories in the process of choosing the 20 that are in this text. 

Terrence L Kelley

And one more suggestion from Terry!

Here is a top notch choice for authentic materials in literature, which is perfect for (high) intermediate ESL students or students in ABE language arts.  The stories, which are from the NPR's National Story Project, range from very short to a manageable few pages in length and are grouped into themes such as - animals, objects, families, slapstick, strangers, war, love, dreams etc.  This thing is a goldmine, and the stories are true!!
  
The title is: 
 
I Thought My Father Was God and Other True Stories
 
Edited an Introduced by Paul Auster
In association with NPR's Weekend All Things Considered
Henry Holt & Company
ISBN:  0-8050-6714-0  (hardback)

Terrence L Kelley

Response #1 to Research #12

All I can say about this is "For Pete's sake!"  The efficacy of using high interest, authentic materials has long been recognized in ESL.  (Ditto authentic assessments although we are can't go there officially.)  When is the rest of ABE ever going to catch up?

Terrence L Kelley

Thanks, Terry!  Now how about some suggestions?

4/6/09

MTLINCS Research Item #12:  Using Authentic Materials

Members of the Leadership Academy have surveyed their colleagues to determine in which research they are interested.  One of the top interests was in the Literacy Practices of Adult Learners (LPAL) Study conducted by a team of researchers led by Victoria Purcell-Gates.  The research states the following:

Adult students in classes using real-life (authentic) literacy activities and texts read and wrote more often and used a greater variety of texts in their lives outside class than students from classes that relied on textbooks and workbooks. Students from the classes that used real-life texts for real-life purposes were more likely to report that they spent more time reading and writing outside of school.

Taylor, Jackie; Smith, Cristine; and Bingman, Beth.  "Program Administrators' Sourcebook."  NCSALL, December 2005.  p.14. < http://www.ncsall.net/?id=1039 >

The Sourcebook suggests the following implications of LPAL Study:

Implication: Make improvements in students’ literacy practices a goal of your program and ensure that instruction helps students reach that goal.

 

What the research says: Participating in classes that used real-life activities and texts was related to increases in literacy practices in students’ daily lives.

 

Therefore, you should …

… ensure that increasing adult students’ literacy practices is a part of your program’s mission and that instruction is organized to maximize use of texts from students’ lives.

Taylor, Jackie; Smith, Cristine; and Bingman, Beth.  "Program Administrators' Sourcebook."  NCSALL, December 2005.  p.14. < http://www.ncsall.net/?id=1039 >

Gathering appropriate, authentic materials may seem a time-consuming task.

Questions:

    • How easy is it to implement using authentic materials in the classroom?
    • What kind of authentic materials do you use? 

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

March Topic
  Research Item #11:  Multitasking

Research Item #10:  Reading and the College Student

Math:  Are fractions outdated?

 

 

3/25/09

Thanks

I want to thank everyone for their prompt help with my question about fractions.  I now have useful information and will definitely use the recommendations and sites given.

Shirley FVCC 

3/23/09

MTLINCS Research Item #11:  Multitasking -- It's more than just walking and chewing gum at the same time.

In the March issue of NEA Today, Charles J. Abaté addresses the three myths of multitasking: 

  • Myth One:  Multitasking Saves Time
  • Myth Two:  Multitasked Learning is as Good as Single-Task Learning
  • Myth Three:  Multitasking, Forte of the Young.
He cites some interesting research and makes some interesting observations about multi-tasking and conceptual learning.

Most of us are quite capable of riding an exercise bike and listening to music at the same time. What is far less obvious is our ability to engage in conceptual learning-the type of learning we expect to foster in the classroom-along with other simultaneous activities, such as watching television or text messaging ... In fact, recent experiments provide strong evidence that multitasking is counterproductive, particularly when at least one of the tasks involves higher-level conceptual learning ... What now passes for multitasking was once called "not paying attention."

Abaté, Charles J. "You Say Multitasking Like It's a Good Thing."  NEA Today, March/April 2009  < http://www.nea.org/home/30584.htm>

Workshop after workshop discusses the necessity of teaching our students to synthesize information when they read.  During Montana's Reading is the Bridge workshop, Dr. John Kruidenier stated from his text, Research-Based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction (2002), that "adult learners may be able to perform daily comprehension tasks, such as locating a piece of information in a simple text, but be unable to integrate or synthesize information from longer or more complicated texts."  The GED has synthesis questions on it. 

Questions:

    • What is your definition of multi-tasking? 
    • Do you believe that multi-tasking interferes with your students' learning? 

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

3/22/09

Are fractions outdated?

Response #1 to Fractions

S. Burns,

You have a good question…”are fractions outdated”?  I would have to say, ”NO.”  Sadly, the manipulation of fractions is an area where many students do have weak skills.  Students need to understand fractions if they are going to be successful in doing rational expressions that are part of the COMPASS test (college placement test for most if not all colleges in Montana).  Since we seem to use fractions in our measurement system, anyone in the measuring business (cooks, bakers, carpenters, seamstresses, etc.) would want to understand how they work as well.  I am betting others can think of other places where we need our fraction skills.

The first website I would suggest you check out is the Fractions section under the Math topic of the Montana LINCS Pilot Project, http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/pilotproject/pphome.htm .  These fraction Iessons were written using the best web links found at the time.  Each lesson begins with some form of a skill check-out (Warm-up) so the student can determine if they already know that skill.  Next are the sites with instruction (New Instruction), and practice (Feedback and Review) where students can work as needed.  Sometimes there are application sites (Transfer of Knowledge or Skills) also included.   If these lessons are not helping your students to understand fractions, let us all know.  There may be more recent sites others are using that may help as well.  

Since you are looking for a “different way” to make this skill a success, could you share what you have been using?  Perhaps someone reading this will have a different way they could share.  ;-)

Rose Steiner, Billings

Response #2 to Fractions

Greetings All!

One of the most empowering things I do for students is teach them how to use the fraction key on the Casio calculator.  This is a must for any GED-bound student.  My students do many fraction word problems using the fraction key.

Another strategy that I use for GED students is teaching them how to change fractions to decimals and vice versa.  By using the above strategy, students are able to do GED test problems on the non-calculator part of the test.  They simply change the fractions to decimals, solve the problem using decimals, and then change the answer back to a fraction.

Now to address the original question, here are two excellent sites for computational fraction problems:

http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/math/fraction/

http://www.homeschoolmath.net/worksheets/index.php

This is a fun teaching site for demonstrating some fraction concepts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/numbers/fractiondecimalpercentage/fractions/introduction/

Have Fun!!!

Kathy Jackson, Billings

3/15/09

Are fractions outdated?

Do you have any websites on fractions.  It seems like every one of my students come in low on fractions?  What is going on?  Do you have  sites that can give us good exercises and lessons regarding fractions?  I need to hear a different way to make this skill a success.  Are fractions outdated?

S. Burns, FVCC

Click here to email responses to MTLINCS.

3/15/09

Response #1 to Research #10:  Strategy Recommendations

When I taught high school, my students had these same problems.  I used strategies I learned from Dr. Barbara Walker at the MSU-B reading program to make students more successful readers. 

Strategy #1:  Vocabulary Lists

One of the more successful strategies I used with high school students was to have the students write down any words they didn’t know as they were reading.  I used this for comprehension and fluency, mainly for the reason explained in the college transition article, "Decoding and Fluency Problems of Poor College Readers”.   We would go over the list daily, adding new words and removing words that the student learned.  It was similar to flash cards.  This took direct instruction; however, students often did silent reading while I worked with other students.  They still kept up their word lists. Because many of the students had a problem with syllabication, once they learned a word from the list, they remembered it. 

Strategy #2:  I Read; You Read

Other strategies I used with high school students for fluency were rereading and I-read, you-read.  Re-reading involved having the students read an excerpt several times for fluency.  Then they read it orally to me when they felt they were ready.  This also involved the word list, which we reviewed before they read to me.  The I-read, you read was a strategy that I used where I read a passage from a book to the student while the student followed along silently. Then the student read the passage silently and then out loud to me. Both the student and I had a copy of the passage.  I would reuse some of these periodically (somewhat like little kids enjoying The Cat in the Hat over and over).  I used variations of these strategies so that the high school students didn’t get too bored with learning to read better at the secondary level.  Although I haven’t used these much at the ABE level (remember, I haven’t been here very long), they are applicable. 

Inferential Reading

Another problem I have with GED prep is that many students struggle with inferential thinking.  I use direct instruction to help these students figure out how to use the text clues to draw their conclusions. Much of this is just question and answer.  One integral part is making sure the reader understands what inference means. 

Conclusion

Finally, one reason students drop out of school is that they aren’t good readers, which hinders them in several classes.  Most high school teachers (like college professors in the article) expect students to read at a high school level when they get to high school.  We aren’t taught many strategies to help students read better in content-area classes, or literature classes for that matter.  Thus, struggling readers keep struggling in high school until they decide to do something else.  That’s where ABE instructors can help reluctant readers become more successful. We have a better opportunity to work with students individually for longer periods of time so that they become better readers. 

 Mike Rea, Lewistown

Click here to email responses to MTLINCS.

 

Response #2 to Research #10:  Three Cups of Tea - Online E-book Available

Looking for an e-book that promotes reading fluency?  Check out the online version of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. 

This multimedia e-book is designed to promote the development of reading fluency and English language learning.
The e-book can be adjusted so that the user can follow along with the computer voiceover, or can read aloud along with the voiceover.

Click here to access the e-book.

 

Response #3 to Research #10 More Reading Strategies

After reading Mike Rea's responses, I was reminded that there are several new ABLE staff members in Montana.  Some of you may not have been here last year when the focus of MTLINCS was a follow-up to the Reading is the Bridge workshop that was sponsored by OPI ABLE. 

If you haven't had a chance to access the Reading is the Bridge resources, click here for the main page.  The Resources link provides a wealth of strategies, http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/reading/resource_index.htm.  Just choose the area in which you are interested.  Since Mike has referred to Dr. Walker, you will note that many of those strategies listed were ideas that she had shared with reading teachers in her reading clinic.  Check them out!

 Norene Peterson, Billings

3/9/09

MTLINCS Research Item #10:  Reading and the College Student

Many of the students in Montana ABLE programs are retooling to get ready to enter post-secondary training.  However, whether we want to admit it or not, some still have difficulty with decoding and fluency.  Yes, these are important skills that really affect a student's ability to be successful in college.  The December 2008 article, Decoding and Fluency Problems of Poor College Readers, states the following: 

College instructors often assume that their students have mastered basic reading skills, such as phonics, word recognition, and fluency (Dietrich, 1994). However, many college students in developmental reading courses, as well as those who have reading disabilities, have insufficient word recognition, limited phonics skills, and laborious reading rates - three reading components that contribute to these students' comprehension difficulties (Bell & Perfetti, 1994; Martino & Hoffman, 2002; Sabatini, 1997) ...

In summary, research clearly suggests that phonics and word decoding problems pose significant challenges for many struggling college readers and that these problems impact their comprehension skills ...

It is not enough for word decoding and recognition processes to be accurate; they must also be rapid so that readers can devote their mental energies toward comprehension (Sabatini, 1997) ...

Capotosto, Lauren.  "Decoding and Fluency Problems of Poor College Readers." National College Transition Network, Issue 8.  December 2008  <http://www.collegetransition.org/promising/rp8.html>

Need some strategies to help transition your students with reading challenges?  Click here to check out this interesting article at the National College Transition Network at http://www.collegetransition.org/promising/rp8.html.

Questions:

    • Do many of your students experience difficulty with decoding and fluency problems?  How do you know?
    • What kind of strategies do you recommend to them?  

 

February Topic
  Research Item #9:  A Whole New Mind

Research Item #8:  Adult Multiple Intelligences

 

2/23/09

Research Item #9:  2/23/09

A Whole New Mind?

Left brain - right brain.  Remember those concepts?  Nothing new, right?  Maybe it's just like Multiple Intelligences.  However, do you ever think about those concepts any more?  If not, you may want to pick up Daniel H. Pink's book, A Whole New Mind:  Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  He shares some interesting observations and proposals.      

"Our broader culture tends to prize L-Directed Thinking more highly than its counterpart ... But this is changing - and it will dramatically reshape our lives.  Left-brain-style thinking used to be the driver and the right-brain-style thinking the passenger.  Now, R-Directed Thinking is suddenly grabbing the wheel, stepping on the gas, and determining where we're going and how we'll get there.  L-Directed aptitudes -- the sorts of things measured by the SAT and deployed by CPAs -- are still necessary.  But they're no longer sufficient.  Instead, the R-Directed aptitudes so often disdained and dismissed -- artistry, empathy, taking the long view, pursuing the transcendent -- will increasingly determine who soars and who stumbles.  It's a dizzying - but ultimately inspiring -- change."

Pink, Daniel H.  A Whole New Mind, 2005, Penguin Group Inc., p.27

From the Information Age, we have gone to the Conceptual Age.  "... today, facts are ubiquitous, nearly free, and available at the speed of light ... When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable.  What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.  And that is the essence of the aptitude of Story -- context enriched by emotion."   Pink, p. 103

We are keeping data (Information Age); however, our students' stories are vital in our quest to help them achieve success.  We are constantly being bombarded by the terms -- Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships.   Do Montana ABLE programs provide rigor?  Do the programs provide relevance?  And what about relationships?  Do programs pay attention to their students' stories?  Gut feeling - yes!  Skills are being taught; goals are being met; bonds are being forged.  What do you think?

Questions:

    • Are you seeing anything different in how you provide services?  Or is what Pink saying not true during this most recent economic downturn? 
    • Do students' stories impact the way you teach?  If so, what stories have made the greatest impact?   

      Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

2/3/09

Response #1 to Research #8

Thanks Renee and  Norene for the great resources posted!
 
RE: MI question: We use a lot of graphic organizers (from you) to help scaffold information for learners and encourage use of highlighters, post-it notes, small group, and summarization to help students retain information. However,  overall, I feel that  I am not tapping into MI strategies as much as I would like. I end up using packets more than I should , mostly because I feel I don't have the time to really individualize instruction beyond setting up a learning plan and offering canned curriculum. I did do a unit for a small part of my Masters on autobiographical writing  where all language instruction was integrated into the context of their writing. They loved it, and great things happened in the room through the small group sharing and writers workshop. I also taught four students how to use power points and two ended up teaching several other students how to import pictures and sound to create these great autobiographical presentations. I would like to head in that direction more, but time and staffing are real life constraints that I  experience as obstacles to innovation at this time.

Ellen Guettler, Bozeman

Research Item #8:  2/1/09

Adult Multiple Intelligences

Participants of the Leadership Academy discussed several research items the last time they met.  They will soon be surveying your interests in research studies.  Here's just a snippet from one such research study:    

"It's not how smart you are, but how you are smart."

Dr. Howard Gardner

The February 2001 Adult Multiple Intelligences Study sponsored by NCSALL was the first systematic application of multiple intelligences (MT) theory to adult literacy education.  The Adult Multiple Intelligences Study says:

Students whose instructors utilized the Multiple Intelligences theory took more control over their learning, were more engaged in classroom activities that used authentic materials, and, in some cases, attended class more regularly.

MI reflection enhanced students' perceptions of their abilities.

Program Administrators' Sourcebook, A Resource on NCSALL's Research for Adult Education Program Administrators, NCSALL, December 2005, p.21. http://www.ncsall.net/?id=1039

Multiple Intelligences and Adult Literacy, http://store.tcpress.com/0807743461.shtml

Questions:

    • Do you consider the variety of ways students learn when you are working with them?  If so, what ideas do you have that you can share with other Montana ABLE instructors?
    • Put the MI in context to Distance Learning.  Do you think Distance Learning will bring a different dimension to your students' learning?  Do you think they will feel more in control of their learning? 

 

January Topic
  Research Item #7:  Distance Learning and Literacy

Research Item #6:  Distance Learning

 

1/26/09

Response #4 to Research #7

Looking back over our records, our lowest level reader in GED online had a GE of 4.7.  She struggled in Skills Tutor reading but was unable to come to class due to living 90 miles away; she ended up dropping out and going back to high school.  Most of our online students were 8.0 GE or higher in reading.

Melinda Lynnes
Miles Community College
Center for Academic Success

Response #3 to Research #7

In response the need for higher level reading scores for on-line learners.  It is important to remember that GED on-line is specifically designed for those students with a reading level of at least 8th grade.  Our experience showed that 8th grade was too low.  My suggestion would be that any student scoring below ASE on the TABE would not make a good candidate for GED on-line.  SkillsTutor is geared toward a much lower reading level than GED on-line and is a good alternative.  
It is important to remember that on-line learners must possess a high level of self motivation.  Many, but certainly not all, low level readers are easily frustrated and they quickly loose their drive to complete on-line assignments.  What’s best for the learner needs to always be in the fore front of our thoughts, on-line is not for everyone.

Jerry Guay
Hardin

1/25/09

Response #2 to Research #7

I would be curious to know from those who implemented the Montana Distance Learning Pilot Project if or how they used it for the low-level reader.  We have been using SkillsTutor in our program for approximately three years.  However, we do have some of the lower-level modules that aren't available in the GED Online program.  Mike Rea has suggested below, "Those readers, however, would probably benefit more from the direct instruction at an adult education center."   

So my question is two-fold:

  1. Did any of you encounter students who wanted to work on the GED Online but were unable to do so because of insufficient reading skills?

  2. Did any of you implement suggested reading levels as was done in North Carolina?

Thanks for your input! 

Norene Peterson, Billings

1/23/09

Response #1 to Research #7

While the consideration of reading level is important, wouldn’t it make the need for SkillsTutor unnecessary to use with GED Online since SkillsTutor is geared towards students with lower reading levels?  That means those students with reading difficulties would have little chance to qualify for GED Online.  Those readers, however, would probably benefit more from the direct instruction at an adult education center, thus supporting the North Carolina study.  At the very least, SkillsTutor could possibly be used as part of the instruction at an adult education center; otherwise, it wouldn’t seem to serve a purpose with GED Online. 

Mike Rea, Lewistown

Research Item #7:  Distance Learning and Literacy

Is distance learning for everyone?

The Reach Higher, America report states the following:

With 73 percent of adults already online in 2006, including those at lower levels of literacy, online learning can be a powerful way to assist adult learners. Touch screens and other userfriendly technologies can provide lower-skilled adults—even those with little or no computer experience—with access to electronic instruction. Bill Gates predicts that voice-activated computers will be the next revolution in technology. That technology may hold promise for lowskilled adults, including nonreaders. 

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, http://www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/, p.25. 

 

Should you consider reading level of the online learner?  Participants in the GED online program at Vance Granville Community College in North Carolina must demonstrate a 9th grade level or higher in order to be enrolled in online courses.

For all new online students, Reading scores must be at 9th grade level or higher. For all returning "active" online students with a lower than acceptable score to continue in their program, they will be given two months to raise their Reading score to the 9th grade level. Failure to reach a 9th grade Reading level will result in that students being removed from the online program; however, they will be given the opportunity to continue their education program in a literacy lab (classroom) setting until a 9th grade reading level is achieved.   http://www.vgcc.edu/Literacy-Online/literacy-expectation.cfm

Students desiring enrollment in one of our Literacy Online programs but not reading at a 9th grade level can expect to be assigned lessons designed to improve reading skills. The objective is to first raise those reading skills to a 9th grade or better level. A similar program will also be available to provide improvement in basic math skills.
http://www.vgcc.edu/Literacy-Online/literacy-ged.cfm

 

Question:

o    Should you consider a student's reading level in relationship to online learning?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

1/6/09

Response #1 to Research #6

We are currently using GED online with two students.  Both have small children, so it allows them to stay home with their children and work at their own convenience.  One also works outside the home during the day so she can work on the GED courses in the evening.  We are currently in the process of setting up the online program for some students who live out of town so that studying for the GED is more convenient for them.

Challenges:

The main challenge is that many of our students do not have computers, or if they do, they do not have Internet access.  This keeps the student from even participating in the online program.   Another challenge is that students do not have the immediate assistance from an instructor when they have difficulty with the assignments.  The last challenge is that it does not provide the face-to-face instruction that students often need in order to be successful in adult ed.  Sometimes students don’t make it in for the weekly visits so keeping track of student success is difficult.  

Mike Rea, Lewistown

Research Item #6:  Distance Learning

Beginning in January 2009, several Montana ABLE programs will be added to OPI's Distance Learning Project as a way to provide another educational delivery method for students. 

The Reach Higher, America report states the following:

Technology should be used in all its forms to make learning a continuous process of inquiry and improvement that keeps pace with the speed of change in business and society. It can be used to create new models for teaching and learning, provide greater access and knowledge resources to adult students in real time, help working adults with childcare and transportation issues improve their education, provide training to instructors, improve program management and data collection, allow students to work and learn in virtual teams with video conferencing and collaboration software, and much more. It can put the highest quality teachers in the world at everyone’s doorstep.

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, http://www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/, p.24.

Question:

o    How is your program using technology to enhance students' learning? 

o    What challenges do you see with distance learning?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

December Topic
  Request for Information about Writing and Keyboarding

Research Item #5:  Low Parent Education

12/16/08

Response #1 to Request for Materials for Keyboarding and Writing

You can purchase the following book on Amazon.com.  It is set up to use the word processor to teach both word processing and keyboarding fairly quickly.  Both of the following books are published by DDC Publishing and come with data CDs. 

  • Learning Keyboarding and Word Processing Generic Edition (Spiral-bound)  $54.00

  • Learning English Skills Through Word Processing (Learning Series) (Spiral-bound)  $44.33

The books aren’t fancy, but do the job without much intervention from the instructor.  I have ordered used books for as little as $2.00 each and have been happy with them.

Suzette Fox, Billings

12/14/08

Request for Materials for Keyboarding and Writing

Situation/Question:  The UM College of Technology has dropped the Compass Test and substituted an essay only for the  writing assessment (no multiple choice).  Students write an essay on the computer and submit it immediately (one hour).  I believe a rubric is used to score the essay.  We have quite a few students who want to attend COT and need to work on keyboarding as well as essay construction on the computer.  Does anyone know of any materials (printed instruction and practice) which gradually move a student from paper to keyboard? 

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

12/11/08

Response #2 to Research #5

Wondering if this might be worthy of posting in LINCS.  Great read… 

Click here to access the article, The 2008 Job Gap:  Tough Times for Northwest Families.

Celeste Barnett, Livingston Learning Partners

12/2/08

Response #1 to Research #5

I wouldn’t say that we have an “influx” of people, but the students we have had lately seem to lack the skills necessary to earn a decent wage. 

Mike Rea, Lewistown

____________

Research Item #5: Low Parent Education

RISK 2: Low Parent Education Deters Children's Learning

Today, one in four U.S. working families is low-income, and one in five American children lives in poverty.  And in many of those households, the parents or caregivers are employed, but they lack the education and skills necessary to earn family-sustaining wages.

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org, p. 5

Question:

With the economic problems that our country is experiencing, is your program encountering an influx of individuals who, as the report above states, are lacking "the education and skills necessary to earn family-sustaining wages"?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

November Topic
  Research Item #3:  Our Treacherous Path

Research Item #4:  Research Quoted during Reach Higher, Montana Conference

 

11/29/08

Response #4 to Research #4

The first four research snippets on MTLINCS have been taken from the Reach Higher, America report and the Reach Higher, Montana conference.  What really has created the change in education?  Mass education for all?  What is it we really value any more?  What changes do we need to make now at both the local and state level in order to positively affect the most recent statistics?  To be honest, in order to move forward, I just don't see how we can do things in isolation.  If this isn't a time for collaboration, I don't know what is.

Norene Peterson, Billings

11/24/08

Response #3 to Research #4

I liked that the conference addressed many of the issues dealing with getting people ready to enter post-secondary ed or the workforce and that we identified several ways to make improvements.  It will be interesting to see what our next plan of action will be. 

One other thought:  If out-of-school youth do not obtain a GED, post-secondary education will not be an option for them.  Getting a GED needs to be a primary goal for anyone without a diploma.  It seems as if this issue could have been discussed more thoroughly during the conference.

Mike Rea, Lewistown

11/24/08

Response #2 to Research #4

The "Reach Higher Montana" conference reminded me of "The good, the bad and the ugly"
  • The Good:  Educators at the post-secondary level are beginning to understand what ABLE represents and the importance of our programs to their success. 
  • The Bad:  As near as I could ascertain , there were no tribal colleges represented at the conference.  They need to be a vital part of the solutions.
  • The Ugly:  Many of the statistics presented were not only ugly, they were frightening.  If we are truly going to be competitive in a global market our educational systems need to make some major changes.

    Jerry Guay, Hardin

11/18/08

Response #1 to Research #4

The Reach Higher, America report does a wonderful job of sharing the economic impact of education for every citizen.  With the economy being the focus of the political arena at present, I would encourage every adult educator to read this report and share the economic impact of raising the literacy levels of all adults with our politicians, legislators, business leaders, and parents!!!  If every one of us makes it a priority to share what we do and how important our work is to the lives of our students as well as our local economy, more students will find our centers and access our services.

Suzette Fox, Billings Adult and Community Education

11/4/08

Response #1 to Our Treacherous Path

I downloaded the Executive Summary of “Reach Higher…” and was a little skeptical.  It states, “Young adults are less educated than the previous generation”.  I’d like to see the data that came from.  The percentage of college graduates has steadily increased since World War II and still shows minor increases each year.  It also states, “88 million adults have at least one major educational barrier…”.  This equates to nearly 60% of the workforce.  Personally, I find that a little hard to believe.  Also, define “major barrier”.  We all have barriers (mine is the fact that I’m not a millionaire).  Finally, the report states “One in three young adults drop out of school…”  I’d love to know where that came from!  I live in an area with one of the highest dropout rates in the state and we don’t even come close to that number.  Even our minority students graduate at a much higher rate than that.

I don’t have the time or inclination to read the entire report.  I would hope some of these claims are substantiated in the complete report.

I look forward to attending the Time for Action conference in Billings, perhaps some of my skepticism will end.

Jerry Guay, Hardin

Research Item #4:  Research Quoted during Reach Higher, Montana Conference

Research Quoted during Reach Higher, Montana Conference

Last week there was a two-day conference sponsored by MSU-Billings - Reach Higher, Montana:  A Time for Action.  During that conference, presenters encouraged participants to collborate and move beyond the "me", "my" and "mine".  They also provided several citations from a variety of studies.  Here are just a few:

Comments heard during Reach Higher, Montana Conference

Dr. Ron Sexton, Chancellor of MSU-Billings

  • In the United States our current generation will be less educated than their parents.

  • Adult Learners are the new marketplace for colleges.

  • Dropping out of high school is becoming the norm.  In the United States, there are 6,000 students who drop out each day.

Dr. Gail Mellow, Commissioner of Reach Higher, America report

  • The ability of U.S. adults to understand an editorial has dropped from 15% to 13% from 1992 to 2003.

  • By 2020 20 million individuals will need literacy training - approximately 3.5 times the number of people now in ABE.

  • We need to move away from "weeding out those we don't want to serve to finding unique services to serve them."

Margaret Bowles, Montana OPI Adult Basic and Literacy Education Specialist and GED Administrator

  • Ten percent of Montana's adult population does not have a GED or high school diploma.

  • Thirty-eight percent of those lacking a GED or high school diploma are between the ages of 16 to 24.

  • There is a $5,500 earning differential for those Montanans who have a GED.

Studies Cited during Conference

  • Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, June 2008

  • Beyond Social Justice:  The Threat of Inequality to Workforce Development in the Western United States by Patrick J. Kelly, July 2008

  • Counting on Graduation:  An Agenda for State Leadership by Anna Habash, Fall 2008

  • Weak Education Leaves Americans Unprepared, www.strongamericanschools.org, March 2008

  • Annual Report 2006 of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Question:

Do any of you who attended the conference have information to add?  What were your perceptions? 

Do any MTLINCS readers have any reactions to the information provided above?

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

____________

Research Item #3:  Percentage Lacking Literacy Skills

Our Treacherous Path

Americans should have been stunned when the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), released in 2005, revealed that a staggering 30 million American adults scored at "below basic" - meaning they could perform no more than the most rudimentary literacy tasks.  Another 63 million adults could perform only simple, basic everyday literacy activities.

The NAAL findings are ominous because most good jobs require at least some education beyond high school.  The NAAL found that of the approximately 222 million adults aged 16 or older living in households or prisons in the United States, some 93 million lack literacy at a level needed to enroll in the postsecondary education or job training that current and future jobs require.

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org, p. 2. 

Question:

Whoa!  Is this the conclusion you all draw from the information above?

Approximately 42% of America's adults aged 16 or older LACK literacy skills in order to get a good job.   

Does that figure bother any of you?  What do you think?  Please tell MTLINCS to take a math class!

Click here to mail a response to MTLINCS.

 

October Topic
  Reflections from Professional Development Activities

Research Item #2 High School Dropout

Followup Response

Response to Woody Jensen's Post (Response 1 for September)

Reflections of Professional Development Activities

10/26/08

MAACE at MEA-MFT

Norene, thanks for encouraging us to share.  I enjoyed many unique sectionals at MEA.  It was an informative conference.  I would like to thank those who took the time and effort to allow MACCE to be a part of MEA.    

M.J. Hamling did an excellent sectional on “Ideas for Struggling High School Math Students”.  I particularly like the “rule of four” note-taking sheet.  It is setup so that students can take thorough notes on math concepts in different formats (i.e.; algebraic (if applicable), numeric, verbal and geometric).  If you are interested in learning how this is done, please email me at jacksonk@billings.k12.mt.us

M.J. also told us about a book called, Tear Soup by Schweiber, DeKlyen, and Bills.  It is an excellent book that explains in simple terms how different people deal with grief.  What’s unique about it is that it is easy to understand.  The illustrations are excellent, a must for any adult education program.

Finally, I did not learn this at MEA, but I used it during my sectionals.  Moourl.com is a website that allows people to shorten and personalize urls.  For example, this is a website for math facts: http://home.indy.rr.com/lrobinson/mathfacts/mathfacts.html

I went to moourl.com, shortened and personalized it to: http://moourl.com/mathfacts 

It goes to the same website but the second one is easier for the students to remember. 

So, check it out and impress your friends.  I guarantee you will use it more than once.

Kathy Jackson, Billings Adult Education Center

Click here to access information from MAACE at MEA-MFT Sectionals.

Leadership Academy

I have always dreaded welcoming people to orientation and saying I am sorry but one of the things we are going to do as a part of orientation is test you.  Listening to Lennox share what West Virginia found when they did Student forums and the adjustments they made to their orientation as a result inspired me to talk with our staff about making changes as well.  The Missoula ABLE staff was excited about making a significant change to our orientation process.  We are in the midst of making the changes now and hope to implement them in time for winter quarter.  Testing won’t be a part of the first contact students have.  Instead they are going to get to learn about their learning styles and preferences and how to use those in the classroom. 

Renee Bentham, Missoula

Montana was fortunate to have Lennox McLendon onsite to host the first Montana/Idaho LA meeting.  The self-assessment piece should be a very interesting one for the Billings staff to complete since the staff has several new members.  Looking at what we do well and want to improve upon will be good for all of us.

Norene Peterson, Billings Adult Education Center

The first meeting of the Leadership Academy demonstrated the commitment and willingness of the participants to share their time and expertise to improve the delivery of adult education across the state.

Margaret Bowles, OPI

High School Dropout Rate

High School Dropout Rate:  Has the drop-out rate impacted your ABLE program?  If so, how?

Followup Response by Woody

10/13/08

The Adult Education budget coming from OPI to ABLE has gone up and still needs to go up even higher to allow us to provide even more adequate services and grow our enrollment.  That OPI allocated budget to Adult Education as further allocated and used by Margaret still comes from a total OPI budget.  The total OPI budget for public education (K-12 & adult education) has ever increasing demands not matched by incoming revenue growth.  What we get as adult educators from the State (not federal, not local taxes) is still in competition for resources with K-12 public education.  It’s the same pot of money that K-12 and adult education draw upon that become separate line items.  There are some State Statute requirements relative to whom adult education money can be spent on.  Those regulatory requirements generally say 16 or older and not public school enrolled.  There are things that adult education can do in terms of credit recovery, alternative high school credit acquisition, transfer high school credit, and diploma completions for high schools with their ex-students or those disenfranchised for the moment (16 and older, not enrolled, 10 day absence rule victims, counseled out, etc.).  Some un-enrolled high school age youth that fall into the dropout category could, would, or do reintegrate to high school enrollment as favorable statistics, if there were adult education services available them enabling that sort of transition or bridge.  With the AA High Schools all struggling to meet AYP, they might be looking for help from any source to include adult education.

Marketing adult education, as being able to do just that function, is what I am proposing.  We need to sell our potential contribution to K-12 education as self-advocacy allowing us to get more State adult education funding for ourselves, as one of many approaches, to include transition to post-secondary and what we can do for job skills training also.  Going proactive may be a whole lot more beneficial than a “poor me” or I need more money approach.

Those types of services would benefit a high school’s AYP, at-risk services, alternative education services, etc. if utilized and perceived as such.  In times of economic crunch for public schools, the very programs designed to handle at-risk services and alternative education initiatives of a proactive nature are the first to go.  They are the first to go as part of cut-backs, because they are the last added or not deemed as “absolute essentials.”  I suspect that if the pending funding court case does not infuse substantial funding for Montana public education K-12 that is not a one time or short term event, then lots of the bigger school districts in Montana will go into a financial “melt-down.” 

Please be aware that Helena and Billings both are pursuing other ways of earning a HS diploma outside of the K-12 budget using locally generated adult education funding in conformance with the law, but being a different application and true alternative education as compared to at-risk educational services.  Actually, many of the AA High School Districts are interested in the initiatives going on primarily in Helena.  Helena has already gotten the State’s Board of Public Education’s “okey dokey” to proceed.  For further info, you may want to dial in David Strong working for Helena Public Schools.

If the State wants to allow certain dual enrollment functions by law for greater budget flexibility, effectiveness, and efficiency that would also be a major common sense application.  I might add that “common sense” isn’t that common around here or for how we have historically done things in Montana public education.

Woodrow H. Jensen

Responses to Woody Jensen's Post on 9/23

The new youth dropout impacting the ABLE programs are those with good literacy skills and sometimes exceptional ones who are bailing out of high school because the high school pacing, requirements, and learning environment are limiting, irrelevant, not challenging, and often not done in the way they learn best.

Woody

10/7/08

Response #5

Dear Colleagues,

I just read the comments on MTLINCS and had a couple of observations to add.

First, looking at trends over time, we have seen two additional kinds of dropouts in addition to the litany of reasons that most people leave school. We have a few students each year who drop out because the work is not challenging and they simply want to get on with their lives. Those showed up after NCLB implementation and they are not a very large number of our students. We also have more students who have a high school diploma (and an IEP) who are seeking basic skills so that they might be employable or even just to be better parents.

Still, most of the students we see do not fit into either of those categories. I was intrigued by Renee's comment about liking to see their youth portion of their student population around 25%. We advertise and serve those who are eligible for services. Our young adult population exceeds 50% of our students, and that does impact the other students. Don't Federal and State laws prevent us from discriminating on the basis of age once folks reach eligible age?

Woody, I have to disagree with your funding comments for a couple of reasons. First, the state dollars for ABLE are a drop in the bucket compared to funding for public schools. The Federal dollars clearly state that they cannot be expended on students enrolled in public education. The State dollars that are put up to match the Federal dollars are subject to the same restrictions as the Federal dollars. State law also prevents expending the state funds on students enrolled in public schools. So, I guess my question is, how can Adult Education funds be spent to help districts "capture" additional enrollment counts without breaking the law?

Dixie Stark, Literacy Bitterroot, Hamilton

10/5/08

Response #4

Even though we aren't a large program, we are seeing a small rise in the number of youth with good skills dropping out and just wanting to take the GED test.  If they're at a 12.9 grade level, they are in and out of here sometimes without 12 hours (we do TABE survey, not complete battery) so it impacts our statistics of students with 12 or more hours.  I would say the impatience and need for instant everything is a change I see in serving the younger dropouts we're serving.

Melinda Lynnes, Miles City

Response #3

ABSOLUTELY!!!!  In night school we have some students who can complete all the requirements for a specific class in half the time it would take them in a traditional class. However, some need more time to complete curriculum and deadlines are the reasons they fail. I have 2 students who are very bright, but need extra time; they weren't afforded that option in traditional schools.  The majority of my students come to the program with a need to connect requirements to how they pertain to them.  Without the relevance there is no buy in, and without the buy in even some of the brightest students want no part of it.

Vicki Mattingly, Great Falls

Response #2

We see students with a wide range of literacy skills from exceptional to very poor.  They drop for a variety of reasons, not just ones Woody stated.  They might drop for those reasons, but they don't articulate them exactly as Woody stated. 
 
The reasons I usually hear include-- "Well, I got into some problems (ie. trouble), or I need to be working more hours, or my family split up and I'm living with a friend and just need to get this GED done asap, or we just moved (mid year) here and I can't catch up to get my credits to graduate, or I have to take care of my child, my sister (or sometimes a parent)--The list goes on.

Cathy Smyers, Missoula

Response #1

Those are not the students we are seeing in Missoula.  Some of the students who leave have very good skills but they are more likely leaving because they have missed too much school, they are uncomfortable socially in the high school environment or there is a family situation not because of the pacing, requirements and learning environment.  That being said, I agree that some of those things should be looked at but it is not causing the drop out problem in Missoula.

Renee Bentham, Project Director Dickinson Learning Center, Missoula

____________

Research Item #2:  High School Dropout Rate

RISK 1: Dropout Rates Are Staggering

… Even more alarming, many students who do complete high school are deficient in basic skills and job and college readiness. Some 40 percent of all college students take at least one remedial course (at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1 billion), while 63 percent of two-year college students take at least one remedial course.4

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Executive Summary, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, http://www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/ 

QUESTION:

Have those post-secondary students with skill deficiencies impacted your program?  If so, how?

Click here to mail a response to MT LINCS.

 

 


 

September  Topic
  Research Item #1 High School Dropout

High School Dropout Research

High School Dropout Rate

High School Dropout Rate:  Has the drop-out rate impacted your ABLE program?  If so, how?

9/30/08   

Response #2 to Question

The dropout rate has impacted Missoula.  We work hard to be a program that serves adults.  We are not funded to have the staffing required to serve a large population of youth.  We have an influx of youth in the fall and winter after the ANB count and when grades come out and students see that they aren’t going to be able to earn enough credits to graduate.  We are happy to serve youth, however we like to keep them at no more than 25% of our total program at any given time.  When we have more than that it tends to impact the adults and we are challenged with not having the staff to provide the supervision needed to work with the students. 

Last winter our population of youth ranged from 31-35%.  When that happens I have to spend more of my time walking the halls.  We have incidents like all of the spray bottles in our gym being emptied on the floor and other kinds of mischief both more and less serious in nature.  In addition, often the youth are not ready to be in a classroom where they are required to be self directed and focused so they are disruptive simply due to a lack of maturity.  It is a challenge we deal with regularly as we attempt to sort out how best to serve this population given the resources available.

Renee Bentham, Project Director Dickinson Learning Center, Missoula

9/23/08

Response #1 to Question

ABLE programs have always served young and beyond young dropouts needing a GED as a secondary credential.  Traditionally those drop-outs have had poor literacy skills and a lack of success in public schooling.  ABLE has always served an adult population having a GED or HS diploma knowing that even with the credential that what they had in their literacy toolkit for being really ready for post-secondary training or having the skills for career advancement was not good enough.  The new youth dropout impacting the ABLE programs are those with good literacy skills and sometimes exceptional ones who are bailing out of high school because the high school pacing, requirements, and learning environment are limiting, irrelevant, not challenging, and often not done in the way they learn best.   

Knowing the bigger ABLE centers in MT are aligned with and part of public schools and realizing that public schools are struggling, one good marketing approach for ABLE centers through ABLE or community adult education funding is to provide services under a broader concept of public education cooperation to youth 16 or over that the high schools would value or need to help them succeed.  Right now, in trying for more state dollars from the K-12 public education budget, if Adult Education gets more, then public high schools get less.  That’s a hard thing to sell to OPI budget authorities where adult education should get more when public education is fighting for its own survival.  If Adult Education wants more of the state’s budget pie, then they have to provide services and graduate completions, credit recovery, or transition services leading to a return to high school or alternative HS diploma options supporting public school graduation rates.

Woody Jensen, Director of Billings Adult Education Center

High School Dropout Rate Research

Research item number one in the 9/22 MT LINCS email gives you the link to Reach Higher America: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce. This is the report the Gary Eyre referred to throughout the ABLE Data Quality Conference and the GED/ABLE Annual Meeting.
 
I urge you to read this document. I believe it is going to shape our work in the years to come.
 
Margaret Bowles
Adult Literacy and Basic Education Specialist
Office of Public Instruction

____________

Research Item #1:  High School Dropout Rate Research

High school dropout rates are staggering.  Every year, one in three young adults—more than 1.2 million people—drop out of high school. Even more alarming, many high school graduates who do complete high school lack basic skills and readiness for job training and college.

Reach Higher, America:  Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, Executive Summary, Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, June 2008. National Commission on Adult Literacy, www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org 

QUESTION:

Has the dropout rate impacted your ABLE program?  If so, how?

Click here to mail a response to MT LINCS.