[AAACE-NLA] Advocacy and the CBO
arthur at ellijay.com
Tue Nov 2 08:11:52 EST 2004
Let me see if I can do a little more here with your main concern:
"So do the adult students, to whom you are proving their capabilities, beLIEVE the "testing tool adaptation" reeeeeeeaaaaaalllly SHOWS their capabilities? Or do they feel "I've been subjected to this in the past and it showed **nothing**! In fact it falsified what the teacher needed to know, so it's not worth my time." If the learner is feeling this, how does that build confidence in the staff person, when asd staff people we are merely buying into "the 'cookie cutter' approach" by requiring it?"
This is called Adaptation. I don't like it, but funding organization requires some standardized assessment prior to registering a student as 'student' and reporting their progress in order to acquire future funding. blah blah.
So how do we engage the student in a negative situation and make them feel good about it............? Kinda like your doctor making you feel good about an appendectomy.
We've used the TABE primarily as the key assessment tool. ALL the TABE does for us is act as a "go / no-go" gauge. It places the student in one of six levels according to the lowest score. Either they are ready to take the GED right now or they can't read at all or they're somewhere inbetween. Then we can go to the TABE and look at the type of questions they missed and schedule instruction for them.
We report the score - to the student- simply as a number, without the decimal point. Telling them "the highest score is 129 and that all we're looking for is a 100 and you're half way there in math at a 55", is much different that telling a 35 yr old mother of two that she's functioning at the 5th grade in math and needs to build that to 10th grade skills. In their mind that equates to FIVE YEARS OF SCHOOL !
For reporting purposes we slip the decimal point back in.
Adaptation. We used to have a high failure rate on the real GED test because we had to register, against our better judgement, anybody who wanted to take the real test and had the bucks to do it with. A couple of years ago we began requiring TABE assessment followed by Official GED Practice testing PRIOR to registration for the real test. Failure rate is now approximately 5%. With that comes a distinct improvement in our reputation as service provider. If the initial TABE scores aren't up to where they need to be for practice testing then they go into a comprehensive very personalized/indivudualized curriculum. Reassessment comes as we watch their study time and progress through the curriculum and as soon as the TABE gets in range we throw the practice test at them. We make it real clear that we're not looking for 'professional students', as soon as they're ready they're gone.
Now whether I personally approve of this as the most successful methodology is a completely separate issue. Who are we to serve? Unfortunately we have to serve both ends of the spectrum so we've tried to adjust the delivery of services so that the priority goes to the student.
BUT - I made a spontaneous statement just yesterday that IF we didn't have the requirement for all that testing hanging over our heads that I would probably maintain the process as it is without much change.
---- Original Message -----
From: Nancy Hansen
To: National Literacy Advocacy List sponsored by AAACE ; Art LaChance
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: [AAACE-NLA] Advocacy and the CBO
Thanks for replying. I had a couple comments. Regarding this part of your email:
<<In order to "prove" to the adult student that you understand their capability, you must do exactly that, PROVE to them that YOU know that because they have learned in the past they can learn now. Most of what we do is forced adaptation of what we know we must do to capture the students confidence in us ... >>
So do the adult students, to whom you are proving their capabilities, beLIEVE the "testing tool adaptation" reeeeeeeaaaaaalllly SHOWS their capabilities? Or do they feel "I've been subjected to this in the past and it showed **nothing**! In fact it falsified what the teacher needed to know, so it's not worth my time." If the learner is feeling this, how does that build confidence in the staff person, when asd staff people we are merely buying into "the 'cookie cutter' approach" by requiring it?
I support *totally* what you say in this paragraph:
<<..We are now being forced into the "managed enrollment" arena. Where did THAT come from ? In order to 'improve' our service delivery we must replicate the scenario that helped to create the school drop-out in the first place. ! ? Which piece of "research" produced that ?>>
YOU'RE RIGHT! Yeah to Research!!! I feel so strongly that the 'management team' in the literacy field 'wrong' this population when we 'replicate' the crooked path the learner has already traveled. And it may take *years* for them to trust us again or to return for a 4th or a 5th attempt at getting the skills that they should have gained the first go-around!
BeCAUSE of these sentences you wrote below that message. You wrote:
<<...But you know, very often the impact of telling a child that they are "disabled" and not like other people, and simultaneously convincing the parents of that almost completely destroys that child's self-image and unfortunately it never goes away, it simply gets stronger and stronger....>>
That 'impact' has a life of its own when the child becomes an adult. Damaged self-image?? You bet! You've seen it and so have I. I've enrolled learners who not only had been 'mislabeled' disabled, but had been called 'retarded' as an even *more* inaccurate labeling!! Never fails ... my next step has to be to try to convince these learners that the testing performed on them as children did not show the person(s) I see sitting with me at the table enrolling in this adult literacy program in the present moment.
Bet me I didn't drag out the same (or even adapted) testing tool to prove my belief in them. I proved that with a positive evaluation of their current skills, without the personal threat of a standardized TABE or having a clock ticking in their head, causing a giant blockade to the receipt of information I wanted to get from them.
I liked what you had to say about learning from past experience and using that to create a better place for adult learners in your care today. Edited paragraph read:
<<...Actually the issue of using the 'exact same tools' used to diagnose them was referring to my time spent as a rehabilitation counselor. ... we needed to perform a complete evaluation of all physical, emotional, and mental faculties. ... over time I discovered repeated instances of where the diagnosis did not match the clients profile. ... That was where I learned the most about "test anxiety", .... address it as a priority issue before actually performing any evaluative processes. >>
Fitting their profile -- seeing them as human. When did we stop doing that? The priority issue (test anxiety) has too often been shoveled away as a "they will get over it" factor, but I believe instead that wall learners with learning challenges face, can't be scaled. The quicker we can learn from past errors the better our field will be for adults who need a supportive environment rather than one of having to prove something to anyone but to themselves.
You are RIGHT! with your final paragraph!! When *did* we ever believe "the rationale in thinking that we can do the above process in group delivery, or in group counseling. That's the direction I see the industry moving, back to K12 replica." I don't get it.
I'm troubled by the industry making this move because common sense should tell us differently, wouldn't you think? Why take a history that has failed these people and repeat it!?! Doesn't make sense to me either.
And your P.S. said it all!
<<...I truly believe that anybody who's been in adult literacy, on the front lines, in the classroom, for more than three weeks is doing the same thing as I've just indicated. Because it doesn't take too long to realize that if you don't do this you won't have any students.>>
My Time has amounted to a little more than three weeks, so I speak from the front lines as somewhat of an authority of the community in which I live and where the indicators glared at me about what the implications would be if I chose to follow the direction the system had chosen to take. I don't test because the halls would echo with the emptiness of lost souls, gone forever. I will not take thet chance that learners would feel they could never trust this organization ever again ... that they would cease feeling that they had found 'someplace *different*' than where they were once-upon-a-time!
When will the decision-makers realize? Our learners' self-image has been so badly damaged before they enter the doorways to our educational programs the first time that it doesn't take very much. I view their spirits as fine crystal. Just the teeniest of cracks in that crystal can instantaneously turn into a gigantic chasm, pulverizing the crystal into fine dust.
Thanks for replying. I believe you and I are of the same mind. Just dictated-to by different powers.
sfallsliteracy at yahoo.com
Sioux Falls Area Literacy Council
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the AAACE-NLA