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The Resource Library is a compendium of tools and resources selected specifically for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. You can navigate the Resource Library by topic, or by key word (or tag).

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instructional strategies

The Adult College Completion Toolkit was developed by the Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). OVAE developed the Toolkit to help policymakers at the state and local level implement practical evidence-based solutions that increase the number of graduates who earn high-quality degrees and certificates required to compete for good jobs in the 21st century global economy. College completion is a shared responsibility; this Toolkit also provides resources for adult education administrators, teachers, and students.

The Adult College Completion Tool Kit is designed to connect state administrators and local practitioners to the strategies, resources, and technical assistance tools resulting from the Department’s work. States can use this information to identify and implement state adult education leadership priorities, supported by federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funds, which encourage and support adult learners transitioning to college.

The tool kit focuses on three areas:

  • Access: Academic preparation, financial resources, and other support students need to enroll in postsecondary education programs.
  • Quality: Evidence-based practices used by programs to ensure their services prepare students adequately for postsecondary education.
  • Completion: Administrative policies and programmatic approaches to encourage student persistence in postsecondary education programs.
2012
Michelle Tolbert, MPR Associates, Inc.,
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education

This report is a follow-up to California’s Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success initiative and provides an overview of practices and strategies for transitioning adult education students to postsecondary education. A series of literature reviews began in 2007 with the publication of Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community College (Center for Student Success, 2007). This report is one of a number of follow-up projects to the initial literature review.
The report begins with an overview of educational levels and enrollment of students in adult education, GED, and community colleges.  The author discusses advantages of additional educational achievement, the role of community colleges in serving adult education students, and the importance of collaboration among adult education and community colleges.
Strategies and practices in transitioning students from adult education to postsecondary education were identified and are described in four areas:  organizational and administrative practices; program component practices; staff development practices; and instructional practices.  Practices and models from adult education programs throughout the United States provide practitioners with an array of strategies and examples that could be implemented in adult education and community colleges.

2009
Sharon Seymour
Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges/Center for Student Success

This report was developed as part of the Postsecondary Success initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The paper provides a summary and analysis of promising policies and practices that could be beneficial in helping adults advance from adult education to postsecondary education. Data were collected by telephone interviews with 17 state adult education directors, postsecondary staff, and 1 – 2 program directors that were recommended by the state director.
The report summarizes and describes findings in the following categories:

  • Planning and partnerships
  • Models of college and career readiness
  • Assessment and advising
  • Comprehensive supports
  • Acceleration strategies
  • Funding mechanisms
  • Youth-specific issues and models.

The paper begins with an overview of adult education college and career readiness efforts and includes a particular focus on youth in adult education, ages 16 to 24. In addition to basic skills instruction, most adults, regardless of age, could benefit from college and career readiness services by helping them prepare for postsecondary education. The author describes a multitude of approaches taken by participating states in providing these services and also discusses challenges and opportunities that emerged in planning for and implementing the services. In addition to stating that the adult education system reform efforts should include a shift and expansion "beyond the GED", the author provides recommendations for learners of all ages in adult education programs and closes by discussing youth-specific issues and approaches to developing and implementing youth-focused programs in 4 of the 17 states. The recommendations for adult education leaders and private and public funders are framed around partnerships, strategies, and needed research.

2010
Cynthia Zafft
National College Transition Network

This Brief, based on a longer review that considers the hypothesis that low-skilled students can learn more effectively and advance to college-level programs more readily through contextualization of basic skills instruction, presents two forms of contextualization that have been studied: “contextualized” and “integrated” instruction. There is more descriptive work on the contextualization of basic skills than studies with student outcome data. In addition, many studies with quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of contextualization have methodological flaws that limit conclusions. Further, only a small number of studies are with college students. However, despite these problems, contextualization seems to be a promising direction for accelerating the progress of academically underprepared college students. The method of contextualization is grounded in a conceptual framework relating to the transfer of skill and student motivation; practitioners who use it observe positive results, and the available quantitative evidence indicates that it has the potential to increase achievement.

2011
Dolores Perin
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

Integration of academic and vocational curricula is missing from most American classrooms because integration that is rigorous, authentic, and sustained is much more difficult than most advocates imagine. The difficulty arises because teachers must do the following: keep integration sharply focused on clear, well-defined educational objectives; find legitimate applications that really excite students; and be able to meet the demands of time, expertise, and resources that are beyond the reach of most teachers. Academic and vocational curriculum should be integrated to increase student achievement, especially for those students who have not fared well in the traditional curriculum, and to benefit all students. Whatever form integration takes, it should begin by clearly specifying the educational goals: clearly targeted, well-defined educational objectives; use of academic and industry skill standards to direct integrated learning; and teachers who remain focused on primary learning objectives, so that any decisions to temporarily diverge from these aims are made consciously, explicitly, and with a better understanding of the costs of the benefits. Requiring increasing degrees of planning, coordination, and commitment, the four different forms of integration for teachers to consider are as follows: course-level integration, cross-curriculum integration, programmatic integration through career clusters and industry majors, and schoolwide integration, such as academies and other models.

2001
Gary Hoachlander
National Center for Research in Vocational Education, University of California, Berkeley

The Guide was developed by the Massachusetts Dept. of Adult and Secondary Education, the System for Adult Basic Education Support, and several Mass practitioners, with technical assistance from the Center for Applied Linguistics.  The Guide provides teachers with sample activities to use in their classrooms to help ESOL students develop the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their "next steps" employment, academic, or life skills goals.  This resource is NOT a list of skills, of which there are many examples, but a resource that translates those skills into interesting classroom activities.
 
The Guide is actually three guides, one each for Basic (SPLs 0-3), Intermediate (SPLs 4-5), and Advanced (SPL 6) ESOL learners.  The Guide developers felt strongly that even Basic Level ESOL students can practice next steps skills in the classroom.  While this resource was especially designed for ESOL learners, the activities can be easily adapted for ABE and Transitions students as well.
 
The Guide is available in PDF but also in Rich Text Format, so that teachers can isolate particular activities, add new ones, or amend those that are provided.  The RFT version also allows teachers to tailor listed activities for whole classes, groups of students working together, or an individual student.
 

2011
The System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES) and the Center for Applied Linguistics
Massachusetts Deptartment of Adult and Secondary Education

The Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center provides adult education and literacy resources, publications, and training for teachers of adults in Virginia. The mission of the Center is to equip the field of adult education and literacy with essential skills and resources by delivering innovative and effective training, publications, curriculum design, and program development.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education

This paper describes the City College of New York's College Transition Program, with a focus on its approach to math teaching and learning. The paper also discusses the lack of alignment between GED math content and what students need to know to pass the COMPASS placement test, and how the CUNY program is improving alignment so that students are better prepared for college work.

2009
Steven Hinds
The City University of New York

Developed as a companion piece for More than Rules, this report documents how the City University of New York restructured its College Transition Program (now called the College Transition Initiative) to further integrate it into the college. The paper describes the restructuring process and the changes made in instructional practices, curriculum, staffing, assessment, and advising.

2011
Steven Hinds
The City University of New York

This resource explores the reasons that algebraic thinking is necessary for adults to enable them to meet the demands of the workplace of the future.  It further explores the reasons that algebraic reasoning needs to be integrated early into all levels of arithmetic instruction.

2010
Myrna Manly and Lynda Ginsburg
National Institute for Literacy