ABLE Research

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Student Persistence:  Research and Articles

Adult Learner Retention Revisited (Kerka, S. 1995)

Build Motivation by Building Learner Participation (Garner, B. 1998)

Getting into Groups (Pritza, M. 1998)

Getting to Class and Completing a Semester is Tough, pg. 12 (Sticht, T. et al. 1998)

Improving Retention in Adult Basic Education and Recommended Strategies for Effective Instructional and Counseling Interventions (Quigley, B. 1997)

NCSALL’s Adult Persistence Study

New England Adult Learner Persistence Project, New England Resource Center, World Education

Research to Practice: Increasing Retention Through Student Success (Malitz, . & Nixon-Ponder, S. 2003)

Staying in a Literacy Program (Willard, A. 1998)

Self Efficacy (Bandura, A. 1994)

The First Three Weeks: A Critical Time for Motivation (Quigley, B. 1998)

Tips for Motivating Your Students

Where Attendance is Not a Problem (Lucey, M. 1998)

Online Resources

Student Retention courses on Florida TechNet

Persistence websites

Persistence Resources:  Strategies, Tips, and More

Adult Students: Recruitment and Retention

M. Wonacott, Practice Application Brief No. 18, ERIC Clearinghouse of Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 2001.  Reviews research on adult learner persistence and provides guidelines for recruiting and retaining adult learners.

California Adult Learner Persistence Project

Use the California Adult Learner Persistence Project Website to examine practices at your local agency. The Website will guide you through evaluating your own local agency, and will provide links to other resources – such as research publications and professional development opportunities – that will enrich your learning process.

Considerations for Setting Realistic NRS Goals

Provides considerations and examples for setting realistic NRS goals related to employment, postsecondary education, and GED.

Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults

R.J. Wlodkowski, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998 Revised edition offers culturally responsive practical advice and strategies to enhance adults’ motivation to learn. Looks at theory and research on how motivation affects instruction and highlights the integration of motivational strategies into lesson plans. Available for purchase from

Florida Adult Education Online Learning Center Improving Student Retention in Adult Education Programs

A free, open-entry online professional development course on student retention developed by the Florida Adult Education Online Learning Center.

Group Goal Setting Activities: An Approach from Youth Service Corps

Provides various options for helping students set realistic goals.

Goal Setting

Provides three goal setting models including time required, size of group, materials, procedures and rules, and discussion questions

National Adult Education Honor Society

Includes information on the history, student eligibility, inducting students, getting started, benefits, and nomination process.

NCSALL Study Circle Guide: Learner Persistence in Adult Basic Education

The study circle is designed for adult education practitioners who desire to explore specific topics, brainstorm ideas, and develop strategies in a small group setting. This guide includes everything needed to initiate a study circle on learner persistence including handouts, readings, discussion questions, etc.

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Helping Adults Persist.

This 3 ˝-hour seminar introduces adult education practitioners to the research on adult student persistence, focusing on the positive and negative forces that help and hinder persistence.

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Supports and Barriers to Persistence.

In this 4-hour seminar, participants explore reasons why students leave programs and ways to support students, including sponsorship.

NCSALL Seminar Guide: Self-efficacy in Persistence.

This 3 ˝-hour seminar introduces adult education practitioners to the four supports to adult student persistence identified in the research study.

Ordering Information for the Group Embedded Figures Test

Ordering information for the GEFT that assesses cognitive style and analytical ability.

Recruitment and Retention in Adult Education Programs

The Central Illinois Adult Education Service Center (CIAESC) This manual addresses possible reasons for the drop in the retention rate for adult learners and for their academic failure and offers procedures for identifying those most at risk of dropping out. The 200 strategies in this manual are designed to empower learners, establish group cohesion, facilitate the identification of goals, and encourage participation. Strategies are categorized as follows: User-Friendly Strategies, Responsive Strategies, Empowering Strategies, Personal and Relevant Strategies, and Interactive Strategies.

Recruitment Issues and Strategies for Adults Who Are Not Currently Participating in Literacy and Adult Basic Education (ABE) Programs

A. Kohring, C. White, and M. Ziegler, 1999 Discusses some techniques, tools, and strategies for recruiting adult learners using various marketing and public relations methods. Also reviews other issues related to recruitment and lists suggestions for strategies to test in ABE or literacy programs.

Student/Teacher Evaluation and Planning Session (STEPS)

Provides a detailed process for setting up and implementing regularly scheduled planning sessions between adult students and teachers.