Evidence Based Adult Education

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Adult Literacy Research: Opportunities and Challenges by John Comings and Lisa Soricone

This occasional paper can be found at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=26#opps

This occasional paper has two goals that support the building of a stronger research base for the adult literacy field. The first goal is to interest researchers in pursuing rigorous scientific research in this field. Despite the many challenges to research, this field offers researchers some opportunities to have a positive impact on education, increase the research base, and advance their careers. The second goal is to identify these challenges and approaches to overcoming them so that future research could design more successful studies. Addressing these challenges to research is a critical step toward building a larger and stronger foundation of evidence to support practitioner decisions.

Evaluating and Interpreting Research Syntheses in Adult Learning and Literacy by Harris Cooper

This occasional paper can be found at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=26#syntheses

This occasional paper introduces the methods of research synthesis and meta-analysis to researchers and consumers of research in the field of adult learning and literacy. The first section defines key terms and offers a brief history of how the methodologies developed. The second section provides a conceptualization of research synthesis that views it no differently from other research endeavors in the social sciences. Then, the tasks of research synthesis are presented within the context of a hypothetical example drawn from the literature on adult learning and literacy.

How Do You Teach Content in Adult Education? An Annotated Bibliography by Elizabeth M. Zachary and John P. Comings

This occasional paper can be found at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=26#content

Adding to the resources for evidence-based practices, this paper provides sources of research and professional wisdom that are useful to the design of evidence-based instruction. This annotated bibliography is divided into seven subsections that focus on reading, writing, math and numeracy, English as a second language, GED, adult learning theory, and technology. Each section presents adult education sources and then additional resources based on K–12 research, instruction, and professional development resources.

An Evidence-based Adult Education Program Model Appropriate For Research, An Occasional Paper from the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL)

This occasional paper can be found at: http://www.ncsall.net/?id=26#ebae

"Building on NCSALL’s Establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/op_comings3.pdf , this paper seeks to establish a way for researchers to choose programs that offer an opportunity to employ the most appropriate research method for identifying and evaluating effective interventions.

We posted a draft of this monograph to our Web site to invite stakeholders in adult education to contribute to the drafting process by submitting comments. View comments at http://www.quicktopic.com/32/H/ssZegRA2shRxg.

Establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System

This will be found at http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/op_comings3.pdf

Synthesis of Discussion Held in 2003 on Establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System

A synthesis of the original discussion is available as a pdf at http://www.alri.org/Rosen/ebae.pdf

Over several weeks, from late October through early December, 2003, an online discussion took place in a work group at http://communityzero.com/ebae . More than 200 adult literacy educators from across North America participated. The purpose of the work group was “to have a thoughtful conversation about establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System” in the United States. 94 messages, mostly from practitioners and researchers, were posted in response to three sets of questions. The entire transcript will be found, in three parts, at http://www.alri.org/Rosen/ebae1.htm , http://www.alri.org/Rosen/ebae2.htm and http://www.alri.org/Rosen/ebae3.htm , where each message is identified by e-mail address and some posts are also identified by name.

In the synthesis some messages are quoted (although not attributed) and some are paraphrased or summarized. All the original posts are identified by number, but not all posts were included in the synthesis. Since the discussion was designed to be in response to a paper by John Comings entitled Establishing an Evidence-based Adult Education System, I have indicated when John has stepped in to the discussion to add, clarify or respond. I have tried to organize the responses by categories to help the reader.

You are welcome to add new comments and questions, but please date and sign them with your name and e-mail address. For directions on adding comments within a message, see Adding Comments to Someone else's Post in AleDirections You can also go directly there, http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/AleDirections#Adding_comments_to_someone_else.27s_post

David J. Rosen
December 3, 2004

Questions

Part One Questions

  1. How could the process for developing the system, set out on pages 10-15 of Building an Evidence-based Adult Education System, Baseline Program Models for Adult Education, Defining, Testing, and Using the Baseline Program Models, and Establishing an Evidence-based Education System, be improved?
  2. How could the initial steps, set out on pages 17-18 (Next Steps), be improved? You may wish to ask questions about, or refine, the steps suggested, or you may wish to suggest additional steps.

Part Two Questions

The second part of our discussion focused on how to define specific student subgroups based on instructional need and goal, and how to design of the “baseline models.”

The two questions were:

  1. How would you fit students into subgroups?
  2. What would models look like for each?

And these were further elaborated by me as follows:

“Perhaps we could look at it this way: what groups/kinds/types of students do you think we should study (first), groups with what kinds of instructional needs and goals? For example, should we study ESOL SPL level 1 and 2 students whose goal is "learn English"? Or whose goal is "get U.S. citizenship," or whose goals include those and possibly others such as "talk with a doctor or nurse on the telephone," or "get a driver's license" or.....? What are the pros and cons of studying groups of beginning level ESOL students? Suppose you had $10M for adult education research over 5 years, and it were up to you (anyone reading this) how to spend this? What group(s) with what needs and goals would you choose and why?” [Message 7, Part Two]

“What reasons/purposes/goals that students have for coming to programs would you like to see program models address? Which adult learner purposes would you like to see as starting points for program model research? For example, any of these below?

Program models designed to help:

1. adult native speakers of English (at a basic literacy level) who want to learn to read and write; 2. adult immigrants who want to learn to understand and speak English (at a beginning level;) 3. adults who want to get their GED or adult diploma; 4. adults who want to improve their basic reading and writing skills so they can enter/succeed in a professional certificate program (such as an early childhood education, classroom paraprofessional, LPN or other certificate program required to keep or get a particular kind of job;) 5. adults who want to be able to read to their children or grandchildren; or 6. adults who have a GED or diploma who want to prepare for college.

What's missing from this list? With which student purposes/goals/reasons should we start first as we think about program models to study?” [Message 11, Part Two]

Part Three Question

  1. How would we know if a model were effective, and how can we test its effectiveness.

Synthesized Comments, by Category

To see synthesized comments in response to these questions, by category, select AleEBAECommentsbyCategory

Additions to the Discussion in 2005

Select Scientific-basedEdResearch

Defining and Developing Professional Wisdom

Select Professional Wisdom

This is a dialog between Dr. John Comings and Dr. David J. Rosen on what professional Wisdom might look like in the field of adult literacy education.


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