NLA Discussion: waiting lists/a program example
cb.king at verizon.net
Tue Apr 10 22:17:47 EDT 2001
Barbara and Nancy and others:
Nancy (and George earlier) has made an important
distinction about waiting lists:
(1) endless waiting with no visible change in sight
because of "no service available," and
(2) the "You're-enrolled-in-the-next-class,-can-you-be-here?"
waiting lists. I thought Bob's and Jon's arguments
were more about the "no service available-open-ended
wait-time" (as was Nancy's rightly-held complaint that
this was not an acceptable option), than about the later,
"You-are-enrolled-in-the-next-class" kind of waiting list
that has to do with good program practice, as George
and Barbara point out. If I was wrong about Bob's
and Jon's argument, I would be glad to stand corrected.
----- Original Message -----
From: Nancy Hansen <sfliteracy at mcleodusa.net>
To: <nla at world.std.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2001 12:02 PM
Subject: NLA Discussion: waiting lists/a program example
> Santa Fe Community College's closed enrollment program is excellent! I am
> opposed at *all* to waiting lists where there is *this* kind of potential
> participation in a *class* setting that starts every 8 weeks. The old
> expression "There's an end in sight." applies to your program very well.
> In fact I also agree with the premise that closed enrollment creates an
> environment which is more structured and well-organized. "Drop-in and out
> the scheduling" with a one-to-one tutor wouldn't be anything our
> would find productive either. Consistency is important in both type
> Thank you for sharing your example.
> Nancy Hansen
> Sioux Falls Area Literacy Council
> Barbara Martinez wrote:
> > Here at Santa Fe Community College we have ended open enrollment in ESL
> > classes and will do the same with GED/basic skills classes this summer.
> > Feedback has been positive from ESL students who feel that it is a more
> > serious program, and teachers can teach with a more planned, sequential
> > curriculum.
> > Many of our GED students come and go, come and go. We always welcome
> > back with open arms, but have low rates of completion and/or level
> > This means we are not serving them in the best way and it also lowers
> > value of our program as far as students are concerned. The ones that do
> > come consistently get frustrated because they end up repeating areas
> > have already studied in order to allow the returning student to catch
> > Therefore we are starting this summer to close classes after the first
> > 8) week. We will have an "independent study" section that students may
> > enroll in while they wait for the next class session, but even in this
> > section, attendance of at least 4 hours a week will be required. If
> > do not attend, they are dropped from the program until the next
> > period which is typically every 8 weeks.
> > Barbara Martinez
> > <bmartinez at santa-fe.cc.nm.us>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: David Heath
> > Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2001 2:39 PM
> > To: nla at world.std.com
> > Subject: NLA Discussion: waiting lists/a program example
> > Hello all,
> > I would like to continue Jon Randall's echo of Bob Bickerton's
> > point "to enroll everyone who comes to our doors, not only can
> > erode the quality of services we provide, but takes the policy
> > and elected leaders off the hook." I would like to do this with
> > a program example of how Odessa College Adult Education
> > has responded to the first part of this idea.
> > Waiting lists are a result of insufficient resources to serve the
> > number in need of services. But waiting lists are also the outcome
> > of organizational forces that struggle to respond to situational and
> > dispositional barriers to participation and learning that prevent a
> > student from sticking to an original intention. That is, they result
> > a program's sincere desire to increase student persistence.
> > In Texas, some programs are struggling to operationalize the
> > notion of serving fewer better. As a program manager, the
> > decision to move away from an accepted, traditional practice of
> > open-entry admissions, no semester structure, and no attendance
> > requirement has not been without steady reflection, nor has it come
> > about without organizational resistance and continuous efforts to
> > dislodge the status quo. I will outline the programmatic changes in
> > our ESOL program in broad form, provide some general descriptors
> > of the environment and student population while saving comment on
> > the theoretical underpinnings to a second post for those who find
> > such philosophical foundations less relevant than the action that
> > came about due to those underpinnings.
> > The ESOL program is in a community of 100,000 people in Western
> > Texas where 50+ % of K-12 students are first language Spanish.
> > Locally, we serve around 350-400 ESOL students a year. A student
> > can attend morning or evening classes for ten hours a week. These
> > students are primarily immigrants from Mexico, more likely female than
> > male, 25-44, with an average grade completion in Mexico from 6-9. A
> > common goal is to have better communication skills in order to negotiate
> > the demands of an English speaking environment, in the community and
> > at work. Very few students speak any English at home.
> > For many complex reasons (accountability being only one), we decided
> > to take a different approach this year. Rather than our traditional
> > open-entry policy, we went to a tri-semester program with a 75%
> > attendance policy and a 10-20 hour ESOL orientation at the opening of
> > each semester, created largely around dimensions outlined in the
> > NCSALL report, "Persistence Among Adult Education Students in
> > Pre-GED Classes". The orientation is presented entirely in Spanish
> > except for advanced classes to permit critical thinking and
> > (All our population is Spanish speaking except for perhaps 1-2 students
> > a semester.) It varies in length depending on the depth the teacher and
> > students desire to plumb in any given semester. I will forgo details
> > than to say it is a fairly in-depth, critical, participatory
> > of the forces in students' lives that prohibit and encourage
> > persistence. It also contains elements to build self-efficacy and set
> > realistic goals and follow-up on those intentions.
> > The attendance policy has some flexibility but is enforced in a fairly
> > strict manner. Any student who fails to meet the attendance requirement
> > is given notice and conferenced with prior to dropping from class.
> > However, once dropped, s/he must wait until the next semester to enter
> > class. For the first nine months of this program year, attendance is up
> > 19% over last year, from 60% to 79%. More student contact hours are
> > being generated with fewer students.
> > Teachers are unanimously pleased with the changes. According to
> > them, planning, classroom management, student progress and
> > teacher-student relations are all improved. They believe students are
> > more serious, engaged and feel a stronger sense of community. We
> > completed a student survey in late September to check student response.
> > Seventy percent felt the changes to be positive and productive. Some of
> > these students had been in and out of the ESOL program for several
> > We will conduct a follow-up survey in May to determine if student
> > has altered.
> > Locally, we will meet all state and federal outcomes, in fact we will
> > substantially exceed those. I personally feel the program is in a
> > position to meet the demands for a caring and disciplined environment
> > that promotes an intimate space for "opening up" to learning and others
> > while maintaining an organizational structure that will promote
> > If you desire more details surrounding the ESOL orientation or the
> > programmatic changes, please email me personally.
> > I would be very interested to hear if others have implemented anything
> > this and how it may be progressing.
> > If you are interested in the thinking that drove these changes, see
> > my follow-up message.
> > David Heath
> > Odessa College
> > dheath at apex2000.net
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