NLA Discussion: The Improved Life
jmartin at acs.tamu.edu
Thu Apr 17 09:40:52 EDT 1997
We have worked for the past three years on a project related to student
intake information and management. As we worked on the project, we went to
the local program providers to get input on data fields to include. As a
result, we have devised an instrument that could be used to measure the
goals of adults and quantify the type of information you are discussing.
Unfortunately, it will probably not get funded to be completed and used in
the field. Many reasons, not the least of which relates to accountability.
But the adults report their abilities to do such things as: "read notes
from school", "read a job application"...then their interest in learning to
do so and finally the assessment at the completion of their program. Did
they achieve, not achieve or not complete? All this could be done on the
computer and only with a click of the mouse they could check in the
appropriate box. If the adult could not read, the person doing intake
could read the screen and put the checks in place.
While the information is related to qualitative data, it allows for a method
of quantifying the results for reporting. Our design was to attach it to the
intake and thus have critical demographic, program and academic ability
information to do the research on such.
One of life's greatest frustrations seems to be that quality information
collection is dependent on acceptance by the same bureaucratic establishment
that provides funding and may not wish the accountability to be reported in
an unbiased setting.
jmartin at acs.tamu.edu
At 03:40 PM 3/31/97 +0000, you wrote:
>At 01:02 PM 3/31/97 +0000, Kathy Bold wrote:
>>To George Lahey,
>> In my experience with adult literacy programs, I have found the same
>>thing - that most do not finish the program. But I can't call them failures.
>>One man I tutored, had about 1/2 of the fourth book to finish when I moved.
>>I don't think he ever finished. But I had taught him cursive and he was
>>thrilled that he could now read the notes his family left on the table and
>>write his own. Sometimes our goals (like finishing the book) are unrealistic
>>to them. I know I made a difference in that man's life. It would be
>>interesting to find out statistics on how many actually finish.
>> Kathy Bold
>Kathy, et al.
>This gets back to the whole idea of how we want to set policy to define the
>"improved life." What policymakers (and by this in particular I mean
>bureaucrats) seem to want to see are those finalized success stories and
>data that is crunched on a single sheet. For Kathy's student this learning
>was enough. When I lived in Hawaii there was a Samoan man I taught who was
>ecstatic when we went to the library and got him a card. It was a whole
>world that opened for him. That can't be quantified into some statistical
>report that lends itself to policy making.
>PaulClay at worldnet.att.net
Director: Texas Literacy Resource Center
Southern Literacy Communications Consortium
College Station, TX
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