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WORKFORCE LITERACY INSTITUTE. SESSION 1 - Overview Friday, March 24, 2006. Getting to know you. Tell us who you are and answer one of these questions What are your expectations of this Institute? What questions do you want answered at this Institute?. Overview of Institute.

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workforce literacy institute


SESSION 1 - Overview

Friday, March 24, 2006

getting to know you
Getting to know you

Tell us who you are and answer one of these questions

  • What are your expectations of this Institute?
  • What questions do you want answered at this Institute?
overview of institute
Overview of Institute
  • Objective: helping Ad. Ed. students transition from our classrooms to employment or vocational training
  • Expectations:

After this Academy you will be able to :

    • Understand transition issues and successful transition models
    • Develop goal setting with students
    • Assist students with career exploration
    • Explain financial aid, admissions, and programs available at EPCC
    • Help students choose local vocational schools
    • Understand EPCC’s ESL standardized tests and ESOL program
    • Implement strategies to allow Limited English Proficiency students succeed in post secondary training.
why is the ged not enough
Why is the GED not enough?
  • “The high school diploma or equivalent at one time did provide individuals in the United States with reasonable access to well-paying jobs and other resources and opportunities. Changes in technology, labor markets, and globalization, however, have increasingly demanded that individuals now obtain not only the skills and knowledge traditionally learned in high school (and certified by the GED) but also postsecondary education and credentials.”

Source: Stephen Reder, “Adult Literacy and Post-Secondary Education Students” Review of Adult Literacy and Learning Volume 1(December 1999) This article can be found at:

the cold hard cash argument
The Cold Hard Cash Argument


national patterns for abe transitions
National patterns for ABE transitions
  • The GAP: Many of adult students report they are interested in attending college, but few do:
    • Nationally only 7% of students entering 2-year institutions have a GED despite the fact that up to 20% of all high school credentials were GEDs.
  • Attaining a degree: Only 40% of GED graduates obtain a post-secondary degree or stay in school after 5 years, compared to 65% among college graduates.
  • We don’t have the national data, but we suspect that post-secondary admissions and retention is significantly more difficult for older and limited English proficient students.

Source: Reder, Stephen. “Adult Literacy and Postsecondary Education Students: Overlapping Population and Learning Trajectories,” Review of Adult Learning and Literacy. Volume 1 (December, 1999) This article is located at

what is the state of transition abe programs in texas
What is the state of transition ABE programs in Texas?

In general, Adult education programs have overlooked the coordination between adult education and post-secondary education


  • Not a priority in state plan, although its getting more attention
  • The vast majority of adult education clients in El Paso area may not be ready for post-secondary education. In the average program, 70% of students are literacy or beginning ESL students.
  • ESL curriculum has focused on survival not academic skills
signs of change
Signs of change
  • UTEP, EPCC, and adult education program administrators have been meeting regularly for the past year to address some transition issues.
  • There also an ad hoc committee for a Transition Initiative composed by key stakeholders
  • Professional Development: You are here!
why do we need transition programs in abe
Why do we Need Transition Programs in ABE?
  • We need to develop better transition support for students wishing to go into post-secondary education.
  • We need to advance the goal of adult education from GED to college preparation
  • We need to make post-secondary and adult education teachers and administrators more familiar with each others’ programs.
goals for post secondary institutions
Goals for Post-Secondary Institutions
  • We need to address the special needs of adult transition students
  • We need to develop more consistent policies and procedures for transitioning adult students from ESL, remedial to credit courses.
  • We need more communication between ESL, developmental and for-credit instructors and educators within post-secondary institutions.
demographics of target population for transition
Demographics of Target Population for Transition
  • For the period of 10/1/05 to 2/7/06, 2,073 displaced workers are receiving services from Upper Rio Grande @ Work
  • Age:
    • 11% are 55 or older
    • 81.28% are 30 – 54 yrs. old
    • 8% are younger than 30 yrs.
  • Gender:
    • 53% are women
demographics of target population for transition1
Demographics of Target Population for Transition
  • Skill and English levels of population
    • 68% are basic skills deficient
    • 48% are literacy skills deficient
    • 43% have obtained a HS diploma or GED
      • Compare with 58% of general population in area
    • 59% speak English “not well” or “not at all”
      • Compare with 31% of civilian workers in area
lep vs english speaking workers in el paso area
LEP vs. English-speaking workers in El Paso area

Source: 2000 Census, special tabulation for LEP

as a nation we are not very literate
As a nation, we are not very literate

The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) measures the English literacy of America's adults (people age 16 and older living in households and prisons). NAAL builds on the previous national assessment of literacy completed in 1992.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy.

and literacy scores are getting worse
And literacy scores are getting worse…
  • Changes between 1992 and 2003
    • Less than or some high school
    • Down 9 points in prose
    • High school graduate
    • Down 6 points in prose
    • College graduate
    • Down 11 points in prose and 14 points in document
    • Graduate studies/degree
    • Down 13 points in prose and 17 points in document
ugly little secret
Ugly Little Secret
  • Only 31% of college graduates and only 19% of community college graduates can proficiently perform more challenging literacy tasks (like comparing 2 editorial viewpoints) or quantitative tasks (like computing the price/ounce of a product)
silver linings
Silver Linings
  • Literacy Scores for GED graduates are very similar to those of high school graduates. (That either says a lot about GED preparation or not much about the quality of a high school education)
  • A lot of people with just basic and even below basic literacy skills graduate from vocational, 2-year, and even 4-year post-secondary institutions. (This probably means that with persistence and the right kind of support many of our students can do it too)
student panel
Student Panel
  • Panel of current and exited students were asked to discuss the following questions
  • Purpose is to see first hand what barriers exist for students when transitioning
  • Focus training on what we can do to help eliminate or minimize barriers
student questions

Do your plans after this class include:

Vocational training

Go to work

Have not decided yet

How did you decide what vocational training you will go to?

What do you want to learn in this class?

What can be added to this class to help you that is not already being taught?


What are you currently doing: vocational training or have a job?

How did you decide what training or job you wanted?

What did you learn in Adult Education that helped you where you are now?

Were you prepared for vocational training or employment after Adult Education?

Student Questions
group activity i

Group Activity I


Form five groups

Choose a recorder and presenter

Task: Your administrator has asked you to identify those students who are ready to make a transition to post-secondary education. Make a list decision rules to guide you in this task. For example: “Transition students should have BEST literacy score in the Low Advanced range or better”

Use brainstorming rules: all ideas are good, no censorship, no right or wrong answers

10 Minutes to complete list

goal setting in the classroom
Goal Setting in the Classroom
  • Definition: Goal setting involves setting a clear objective and ensuring that every participant is clearly aware of what is expected from him or her.
    • Deciding what is important for you
    • Separating what is important from what is irrelevant
    • Motivating yourself to success
    • Building self-confidence with achievement of goals
types of goals
Types of Goals
  • Long Term: Beginning step is to determine a plan; think about where you want to be in 20-30 years
  • Short Term: Under each goal, what are the steps you need to take to reach goals
  • Immediate: Daily To-Do list

Revisions expected as you review your lists and move forward

goal categories

Attitude: to improve behavior

Career: level of achievement

Education: skills and abilities needed to achieve other goals

Family: how do you want to be seen by partner, children, or extended family

Financial: desired earnings by life stages

Physical: Athletic goals, good health

Pleasure: vacations, trips: something for you

Public: community service; making the world a better place

Goal Categories
our focus
  • Career and Education of Ad. Ed. Students
    • Relation to all other categories
  • Why is goal setting important with our students?
    • To know where our students stand in terms of their educational goals
    • For instructional modification to assist students:
      • Meet their goals
      • Prepare for future goals
      • Transition to next steps
activity 1 writing or discussion prompts
ACTIVITY 1: Writing or Discussion Prompts
  • Use the following prompts to initiate class discussions or personal writings:
    • More than anything else I want…
    • As a child, what careers did you dream about?
    • As an adult, what careers do you dream about?

Source:VESL – Vocational English as a Second Language Courses A & B Curriculum Guide by Stephanie Sommers

activity 1 continued
ACTIVITY 1: Continued
  • Do a “mini-lesson” on “I am going to” and/or “I will”. Ask students In your dreams…..:
    • Where are you going to live?
    • What job are you going to have?
    • What sorts of people are you going to have as friends?
    • What are you going to do with your leisure time?
  • Put students into groups to ask each other these questions. Come back as a class and ask these questions one at time; have students answer the questions for their partners.
activity 2 my wants and wishes
ACTIVITY 2: My Wants and Wishes
  • Write the following words on the board, one at a time, and ask the students to relax and imagine what they want in each of the categories.
    • Work/career
    • Education
    • Lifestyle
    • Personal growth
  • Then ask them to describe in writing what they want to happen. Encourage them to be very detailed and specific. Ask them to describe their wants and wishes in enough detail so that other people can get "mental images" of what they're talking about.
activity 3 real goal setting
ACTIVITY 3: “REAL” Goal-Setting

Discuss how “REAL” Goals must meet the following criteria:

  • R – Realistic: Is this goal specific enough for you to actually attain it? You need to be realistic—if your goal is "to see the world" you'll never do it. If your goal is "to make a trip to La Ciudad Chihuahua"—that's specific and realistic enough to achieve.
  • E - Easy to Measure: Can you actually measure your goal to see if you attained it? If your goal is "to get a better education"—how do you know if you met that goal? You could say your goal is "to raise your grade level in reading by at least two years by the end of the class." You can measure that goal and actually see that you've reached it.
  • A – Achievable: If your goal is something you don't really believe that you can reach, then you'll never reach it. If your goal is one that someone else sets for you, you will probably not meet it. Your goals need to be based on your abilities, desires, and talents.
  • L – Logical: Does the goal make sense to you? Is it important to you and to what you want to do with your life? If it doesn't make logical sense, you'll never reach it.

Source: Getting There: A Curriculum for Moving People Into Employment by Marian Colette, Beverly Woliver, Mary Beth Bingman, and Juliet Merrifield

activity 4 my goals
ACTIVITY 4: My Goals
  • Facilitate a discussion on goal setting using question such as:
    • What are goals?
    • Why do people have different goals?
    • What goals do you have for the day? the week? the month? the next 3 months? 1 year? 3 years? 5+ years?
    • How do you feel when you reach a goal?
    • Is it important to set goals? Why?
    • Are your goals the same as 10 years ago?
    • Will they be the same 10 years from now?
  • Ask students about the goals they have set for themselves and ask for examples. Add your own examples when necessary. List students’ goals on the board in the following headings:

-Short Term - Long Term - Personal – Career – Educational

  • Write a minimum of 3 goals in each category. Discuss the student responses and their similarities and differences.
activity 5 my future goals
ACTIVITY 5: My Future Goals
  • Distribute the “Goals and Strategies” worksheet and ask students to select 3 goals from Activity 4 that they really want to accomplish.
    • Ask them “What would you have to do to accomplish this goal?” and “When do you want to have this goal accomplished?”
    • Help them to identify and write the steps needed to accomplish the goals.
  • One copy for them and another for your records. This will assist you on curriculum development, coordination of activities that can assist with the attainment of goals
resources and references
Resources and References
  • Workplace Lessons by Barbara Baird - 2005
  • VESL – Vocational English as a Second Language Courses A & B Curriculum Guide by Stephanie Sommers – April 2000 - Bridge to Advanced Technological Education and Employment
  • Getting There: A Curriculum or moving People into Employment by Marian Colette, Beverly Woliver, Mary Beth Bingman and Juliet Merrifield– Revised Edition 1996 – The Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • It’s Goal Setting Time Again! by Kellie Fowler – December 2004 -
what works

What works

Successful College Transition Programs

the new england college to abe transition project
The New England College to ABE Transition Project
  • Nellie Mae Educational Foundation funded a comprehensive transition model aimed to “bridge the gap between a GED and the skills required for college work.”
  • 25 transition programs with more than 40 postsecondary institutions in 6 New England states
  • Transition programs operate as part of ABE programs and provide free instruction in basic academic skills: reading, writing, math and using computers and the Internet.
  • 241 students enrolled in the program
  • 168 students completed the program (70%)
  • 49 students dropped out (20%)
  • 24 students unaccounted for (10%)
  • 116 enrolled or expected to attend college (69%)
key findings
Key Findings
  • Typical student was a 32 year-old white, English speaking woman
  • 68% was employed
  • 69% of project participants enrolled in post-secondary education, compared to only 27% of GED recipients nationally
  • Only 12% of project graduates were Latino and 17% were non-native speakers of English.
  • Latinos were 20% and non-native speakers 30% of project dropouts.
what worked
What worked
  • Successful transition programs have knowledgeable, experienced, committed program staff and leadership
  • Successful transition programs have strong college partnerships
  • Successful programs have staff who understand the challenges and unique problems of adult students
  • Staff understands that much of what adult students are encountering is completely new to them and involves issues of socio-economic class and substantive personal and financial challenges

For more information see: “The New England ABE-to-College Transition Project Evaluation Report” available at

washington state transition
Washington State transition
  • This study follows 20 teachers who attended a transition workshop for English Language Learners at Washington State CC.
  • Survey of teachers on curriculum, instruction, and programmatic concerns:
survey says
Survey says..
  • 57% did not think ESL courses and college courses were aligned in the college curriculum
  • 43% of college teachers did not think that ESL students had the same abilities as English speakers
primary concerns in teaching english language learners in post secondary environment
Primary Concerns in Teaching English Language Learners in Post-Secondary Environment
  • Lack of student participation/self-esteem
  • Sensitivity to culture and language
  • Need to maintain a nurturing environment while maintaining high standards
  • Need to balance teaching of grammatical and syntactical areas as well as critical thinking skills
  • Standards and assessment
how can transition be taught
How can transition be taught?
  • Holistic Instructional Models
    • Building from a needs-based curriculum model
  • Multicultural models and teaching practices
  • Reading and composition instruction
  • Discrete skill instruction
what they learned
What they learned:
  • Need for better assessment of ESL students
  • Need to create consistency in pre-college courses
  • Need to schedule regular meetings among literacy instructor, ESL instructors, pre-college course instructors, and credit instructors

To learn more: “The Transitions from Adult Literacy ESL Programs to Academic Reading and Writing: Next Steps for English Language Learners

epcc s success through transitional english program step
EPCC’s Success Through Transitional English Program (STEP)
  • From 1993-1995 OVAE funded a transition project at EPCC which served 211 transition students referred to EPCC by ABE programs, the Department of Human Services, the El Paso Housing Authority and other agencies.
  • STEP students were provided transitional workshops, language instruction, and a “pre-collegiate retention phase” over a period of 6 weeks. The workshops “were designed to increase self-esteem, strengthen language and academic skills, and provide institutional knowledge.”
step results between may 1993 and december 1994
STEP Results between May 1993 and December 1994
  • 201 STEP students complete transitional workshops
  • 161 STEP students started a College semester
  • 120 STEP students completed one semester
  • GPA for STEP students 2.43 compared to 1.51 average for the College
  • 140 STEP students received Pell grants
one step at a time
One STEP at a time…

STEP workshops focused on:

  • Assistance with activities related to basic needs (welfare, childcare, transportation, etc.)
  • Assistance with activities related to college enrollment (admissions, placement, registration)
  • Ability to use college resources (financial aid, tutorial services, counseling)
  • Strategies for academic success (time management, independent learning, test taking, library usage)
  • Career awareness and development
the step footprint
The STEP footprint

The STEP workshops are based on a five-part model:

  • Critical discussion
  • A writing activity
  • A reading activity
  • A group activity
  • An action activity
sample lesson
Sample Lesson

See handout for Workshop #1: Introduction

Source: Success Through Transitional English Program STEP Final Report, prepared by Andres Muro and Inez Mendoza

take your own first step
Take your own first STEP
  • Form 5 groups; each group will be assigned one of the STEP model’s components (Critical discussion, writing activity, reading activity, group activity, and action activity)
  • Assign a group facilitator, scribe, and presenter
  • Objective: Each group will develop a set of activities for their component, create a summary poster, and present to the whole group
  • Workshop X: College Readiness

Purpose: In this workshop students will explore their readiness to pursue post-secondary education. Activities are designed to allow students to explore their own skills, abilities, goals, persistence, and possible obstacles to making such a transition.

their journey

Their Journey

Our Journey