in the Field of Immigrant Adult Education |
Arranged in order of
publication date with the most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. Although potentially useful, these resources are
not necessarily endorsed by Diversity Dynamics.
The ability to understand,
speak, read, and write English as the nation’s common language is crucial to the successful integration of immigrants
into our society. Without English, immigrants are locked into low wage jobs, blocked from acquiring new skills and new jobs,
denied full access to health and other services, and shut off from contact with the larger society. Vocational and
post-secondary educational opportunities also enable immigrants to realize their full potential. These resources cover
the topic of immigrant adult education.
Restructuring California's Adult Education System, A Golden Opportunity: Strategies to Focus Adult Education on College and Career,
Learning Works, March, 2013, 16 pp.
Authors: Barbara Baran & Julie Strawn
Noting that "there
is no state in which basic skills looms larger in importance than California" and that "most students in basic skills
programs make minimal progress," this report focuses on "four levers" that can be used to reorient adult education
programs from "basic literacy" (presumably inclusive of ESL instruction) and GED preparation to a system "designed
to help students prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education connected to labor market opportunities." The report
draws from interviews with senior administrators and educators in seven states that have attempted to achieve this type of
educational reform: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Washington. The four levers are:
instituting effective governance structures (the Governor of California has proposed the reinstatement of dedicated state
funding for adult education but shifting administration of this funding from the Department of Education to the community
college system), developing system-wide strategic plans and new funding guidelines, spurring the development of sustainable
and scalable educational initiatives, and using data to make the case for refocusing adult education on college and careers.
The report was prepared by Learning Works, an organization founded by the Career Ladders Project for California Community
Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders,
American Council on Education,
January, 2013, 18 pp.
Author: Louis Soares
is facing a disruption, but the biggest driver of change is getting lost in the hype. That's the message of this "manifesto
for college leaders," written by Louis Soares, a fellow at the Center for American Progress. "There is indeed a
transformation coming in American higher education," writes Soares, "It is not driven by technology or MOOCs, though
these tools abet the change. It will be driven by the rise of post-traditional learners." The author defines post-traditional
learners as the working-age population, between ages 25-64, who lack a college credential but are seeking to get ahead while
balancing jobs with educational and family responsibilities. The report argues that colleges must rethink their institutional,
instructional and business models to improve how they serve the post-traditional learner -- a reassessment that may require
"question(ing) the foundations of the academy." In many settings, the post-traditional learner has become the norm
rather than the exception in the educational market of the 21st
century. The needs and circumstances of these learners
will likely lead to alternative forms of credentialing and learning and the development of a "new ecosystem for learning
validation outside of the academy." Regrettably, the author writes, many college leaders "seem more intent
on protecting the existing enterprise than solving the nettlesome challenges of education an ever more diverse and demanding
group of learners." (Adapted from a review by Paul Fain of "Inside Higher Education")
Legislative Analyst's Office, December 5, 2012, 28 pp.
The report recommends a comprehensive restructuring
of the adult education system in California with clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities of adult schools and
community colleges. The report finds that adult schools in California (currently numbering around 300) and community colleges
(112 in total) each have comparative advantages in delivering adult education. However, there should be a "clear and
consistent distinction between adult education and collegiate education." The report further recommends that categorical
funding for adult education in local school systems should be restored (In 2009, the legislature allowed school systems to
use funds previously dedicated for adult education for general purposes). Additional recommendations include eliminating the
requirement that instructors at adult schools hold a K-12 teaching credential so that faculty at community colleges can teach
at adult schools, and instituting a "modest enrollment fee" of $25 per course for students in both adult schools
and noncredit community college programs. The report also recommends that the system narrow its focus from 10 to 6 instructional
programs, including ESL and citizenship and workforce preparation.The Legislative Analyst's Office has also produced a video about the report.
Preparing for the new GED Test: What to Consider Before 2014,
The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP),
Fall, 2012, 17 pp.
Author: Carol Clymer
part of this policy brief is a primer on the new GED test, scheduled to be introduced in January of 2014. According to
the author, the revamped test will have "profound implications" for low-skilled adults seeking to progress to post-secondary
education and employment. (Reviewer's Note: According to a 2010 Pew study, roughly half of Latino immigrant adults in
the U.S. lack a high school diploma). Potential problems include: increased test costs, fewer test centers, a shift to computerized
testing, and more difficult test content aligned with the common core standards. The author then proceeds to review what states
are doing to address these problems, including efforts to devise different pathways to high school equivalency. Many
states already have non-GED high school equivalency diploma programs, including the National External Diploma Program (NEDP),
credit make-up approaches, and diplomas awarded for college credits. The paper urges WPFP state partners to use the GED test
make-over as an opportunity to raise important questions about the capacity of state systems to help low-skilled adults advance
to higher levels of education and employment. In particular, the author urges policy makers to consider five other non-GED
possibilities for high school equivalency: the National External Diploma Program; competency-based high school equivalency
programs developed in Hawaii, Vermont and Wisconsin; new programs under development in Minnesota and Washington; alternative
adult-appropriate exams, such as those being considered by New York and Texas; and college-credit approaches. It is
imperative, the report concludes, that "all students, especially working adults, have practical and cost-effective options
to meet their basic skill and educational needs."
Graduating to College: Three States Helping Adult Education Students Get a College Education,
The Working Poor Families Project, Policy Brief, Summer, 2012, 16 pp.
This policy brief discusses the obstacles facing low-income adults seeking to improve their economic circumstances
through post-secondary education. It also showcases three states that have made "creative leaps forward" in developing
educational pathways for this population and makes recommendations for state policy makers interested in helping low-income
adults transition to higher education. The three states (Kentucky, Maine, and Minnesota) were chosen because they have
many adult education providers outside the community college system, and thus must achieve alignment and articulation of different
systems, i.e. local education agencies (K-12 school systems), community-based organizations, and community colleges. Kentucky
Adult Education promotes access to postsecondary education by setting statewide and county-level goals, e.g. number of adults
earning GEDs who transition to postsecondary education, and by conducting a "Go Higher Kentucky" marketing campaign.
Maine's "College Transitions" program is a preparatory course, serving 4.4 percent of the state's total adult education
population that builds the skills to enter college within a 12-18 month period. Finally, Minnesota FastTRAC is a career
pathways program for adults who have low skills or limited English proficiency. Offered in five stages, each "bridge"
class combines basic skills instruction with occupationally-specific post-secondary training. Since 2011, 34 Minnesota FastTRAC
programs have been implemented on 20 college campuses. (Lorin
Adult College Completion Tool Kit,
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education
(OVAE), 2012, 69 pp.
This publication contains "a wealth
of resources and tools" to help undereducated adults transition to postsecondary education. In producing the Tool
Kit, OVAE seeks to advance President Obama's goal for the United States to have the highest proportion of college graduates
in the world by 2020. The primary audience for the Tool Kit are administrators of state literacy programs and adult education
practitioners. The publication outlines effective strategies for college transition and organizes them into three categories:
facilitating access to college, ensuring quality of instruction, and promoting college completion. Sidebars give examples
of effective programs. An appendix contains links to, and descriptions of, more than 50 resources discussed in the report,
many of them developed with OVAE funding. The Tool Kit also includes handouts for four target student populations: adult basic
education students, incarcerated individuals, veterans, and high-skilled immigrants.
Dreaming Big: What Community Colleges Can Do to Help Undocumented
Immigrant Youth Achieve their Potential,
Community College Consortium for Immigrant
Education (CCCIE), September, 2012
This report profiles "the
exemplary practices of community colleges that are improving the educational prospects of undocumented students." CCCIE
is a national network of 23 community colleges and other organizations that have joined forces to address the needs of immigrant
students. The report details the many challenges faced by undocumented students in accessing and completing higher education.
Despite these challenges, such as lack of eligibility for federation tuition or work study assistance, a number of community
colleges have developed strategies and approaches that are enhancing educational opportunities for these students. These approaches
are grouped into five categories: increase college access, make college more affordable, support college readiness and success,
offer pathways for nontraditional students, and improve college retention and completion. The report also reviews research
findings suggesting a substantial return on investment through enhanced services and supports for these students. Finally,
the publication provides contact information for ten of the colleges whose policies and practices are highlighted in the report,
as well as links to resources that may prove useful to colleges working with this population.
New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile
of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates,
National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, July,
2012, 29 pp.
Using data from a nationwide sample
of undergraduate students conducted in 2007-2008, this study focuses on the differences in postsecondary education enrollment
between immigrant and non-immigrant students. Twenty-three percent of undergraduates in the survey were
immigrant and second-generation Americans. Larger percentages of Hispanic and Asian new Americans (32-38
percent) were in the lowest income group than all undergraduates (25 percent). Hispanic and Asian New Americans were also
more likely to have a parent who did not attend college at 55 percent and 38 percent versus 33 percent of all undergraduates.
In high school, 25 percent of Hispanics took calculus compared to 46 percent of Asians and 29 percent of all undergraduates.
Hispanic immigrants were also more likely to take remedial courses at 52 percent than Asian immigrants (40 percent)
and all undergraduates (35 percent). In terms of postsecondary enrollments, immigrant Hispanic and Asian
students enrolled in community colleges at 51 percent and 54 percent as opposed to all undergraduates at 44 percent.
However, second-generation Asian students enrolled in 4-year colleges at 55 percent, which was higher than Hispanics
(36 percent) and all undergraduates (46 percent). Immigrant Asians (40 percent) and Hispanics (36 percent)
had lower rates of full-time enrollment in school than all undergraduates (47 percent). Finally, the report
found that Asians had a greater propensity to major in STEM fields or business than Hispanics or all undergraduates. (Lorin
In a Time of Scarce Resources: Near Term Priorities in Adult Education,
Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy (CAAL), July 25, 2012, 41 pp.
with an adult education system needing both "transformative change" and the infusion of new resources
-- as called for in the 2008 report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, CAAL conducted a survey of 24 "highly
regarded adult education leaders" to get their recommendations as to what could be accomplished in the present "environment
of limited resources." These leaders achieved "strong convergence or near-convergence" on four near-term priorities
that would advance the larger agenda of the Commission. One priority would be to move toward a "dominant model"
of managed enrollment and high intensity classes in order to accelerate learning gains. Even if the number of students served
by such an approach would drop due to higher per-student costs, the trade-off between "quality of service" and "quantity
of students" was worth making. Other priorities included: a strong and sustained commitment to teacher training (CAAL
recommends a 15 percent federal set-aside for staff development), greater use of technology both for staff development
and instruction, and reliance on "creative funding" approaches, such as charging modest fees to students to participate
in classes and the establishment of an "independent national training trust fund."
Limited English Proficient Workers and the Workforce Investment Act: Challenges and Opportunities,
Migration Policy Institute, July 19, 2012, 8 pp.
This policy brief examines the capacity of the U.S. workforce investment system to serve immigrants with limited
English proficiency (LEP) and reviews proposals to improve the effectiveness of the system. According to the report,
there has been a steep decline in the number of LEP immigrants served by Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Although constituting 37 percent of all low-skilled workers in the U.S., LEP workers represented 2 percent of all adults receiving
training services in PY 2010 -- down from 9.5 percent in PY 2000. Similar declines occurred in Title I programs for youth
and dislocated workers. One reason for these declines may be built-in disincentives to serve the LEP population as a result
of performance standards under Title I emphasizing rapid employment. The brief discusses initiatives pending in Congress
to create greater alignment between Title I and Title II (Title II provides ESL and basic skills instruction). These initiatives
include: consolidation of funding streams, giving greater latitude to the states to manage programs, establishing common performance
measures across both titles, altering the composition of local workforce investment boards, and requiring states to detail
plans for serving LEP populations using co-enrollment strategies. According to the author, in the current debate over reauthorization
of the Workforce Investment Act, immigrants may have the most to gain or lose.
Sinking or Swimming: Findings from a Survey of State Adult Education Tuition and Financing
CLASP & the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education, June, 2012, 28 pp.
Forty-four states responded to a survey conducted in February of 2012 "to glean information about important
policies that govern the way adult education is funded." The survey covers the following issues: administering
state agency, levels of state and local supplementation of federal dollars, policies governing distribution of federal and
state dollars to education providers, the availability of special funding to foster post-secondary transitions, state tuition
and fee policies, and state responses to impending changes in the GED. In reporting survey results, the report raises
policy issues in each of these areas deserving consideration by policy makers. The report finds that "the adult education
system faces monumental financial and policy challenges" caused by "declining state support, stagnant federal funding,
and the potential increased cost of taking the GED... At no time in recent history has the importance of adult education been
greater and the funding more threatened." One key finding is that the actual level of nonfederal contributions
appears to be $1.30 for every $1.00 in federal funding, rather than the commonly reported $3.50 for every $1.00. Although
24 states now require or allow modest registration or tuition charges to students, the report concludes that "raising
costs to students should not be a part of the revenue mix" as it will likely drive low-income students out of the
program. The dilemma can be reduced to a single question: "How can the adult education system continue improving
its effectiveness and meet higher expectations for students with fewer resources each year?" (Italics in report)
Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Options for Practice and Research,
National Research Council of the National Academies, 2012, 488 pp.
comprehensive report is the culmination of a 36-month study funded by the National Institute for Literacy and the U.S. Department
of Education to review and synthesize the available research on how to improve literacy instruction for adults in the U.S.,
including immigrant adult English language learners. The authors observe that "there is a surprising lack of rigorous
research on effective approaches to adult literacy instruction." Hence, the report relies extensively on relevant research
with K-12 and other populations. One chapter of the report discusses "language and literacy development for English language
learners." Although sometimes viewed as "a monolithic category," English language learners, the report points
out, "vary dramatically in what they need to become more literate in English." Another chapter of the report explores
the potential of technology to "amplify effective instructional approaches." Still other chapters are devoted to
learner motivation and persistence, and educating adult learners with disabilities. The final chapter summarizes the main
conclusions of the study and contains several global recommendations, including a systematic program of research addressing
key issues in the field.
Training Futures: A Case Study of a Nonprofit-Community College Partnership,
Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative, May, 2012, 20 pp.
study examines Training Futures, a job training program operated as a partnership between Northern Virginia Family Service
(NVFS) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). The program prepares low-income, predominately immigrant adults (74
percent of participants are non-native English speakers) for career and educational advancement. Training Futures uses an
"imaginaleducation model" involving immersion in a simulated business environment. The program also provides
an array of support services, including exposure to 400 inspirational messages called "quotes bombardment." Through
collaboration with NOVA, the program is able to serve as a "stepping stone," with NOVA counselors providing workshops
and one-on-one advice to assist participants in making the transition to college. NOVA also collaborates by attracting a network
of stakeholders from the business community to serve as mentors, create internship opportunities, and provide input on program
curriculum. Training Futures uses a blended funding model to support operations; NOVA and NVFS have a revenue sharing
arrangement with 85 percent of program tuition income going to NVFS. Although NOVA employs NVFS staff as adjunct faculty,
their salaries are paid for by NVFS. With a low attrition rate and high job placement, the collaboration has proven
successful: nearly 94 percent of participants complete the 6 month program and 84 percent of Training Futures' graduates have
found jobs. Many participants finish the program with college credits and 30 percent continue on with coursework at NOVA.
Additionally, outcomes have demonstrated higher median wages for program participants, with an average hourly rate increase
of $3.02 per hour for those who were employed at the time of enrollment. Finally, the program has been successful in helping
immigrants acculturate to the U.S. job market as well as "legitimize" their foreign credentials by providing a program
certificate and assisting with the transfer of credit for previously completed coursework. (Daniel McNulty)
Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009,
United States Census Bureau, February, 2012
This report provides a portrait of
educational attainment in the United States, including comparisons by demographic characteristics such as nativity, race,
Hispanic origin, and race; and breakdowns by state. Twelve levels of educational attainment are reported from "no
schooling completed" to "doctorate degree." In 19 of the 50 states (including Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania),
the proportion of foreign-born adults with a bachelor's degree was larger than the proportion of native-born adults who had
completed colleges. Similarly, rates of high school completion for the foreign-born in these three states were more than ten
percentage points higher than the national average of 67.7 percent.
Center for an Urban Future (CUF), January, 2012, 12 pp.
This follow-up to CUF's
2006 Lost in Translation Report explores the policy implications of New York State's growing immigrant population
and the declining availability of state-funded ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes. The report finds that,
despite the significant benefits immigrants bring to the state economy--- in terms of population replenishment, entrepreneurship,
and labor--- "New York is not leveraging their full potential." According to the authors, ESOL classes serve as
an essential building block for increasing the skills and knowledge necessary to employment. Yet capacity has not kept pace
with the growing need for instruction. The report sites two major factors in declining enrollment trends: a decrease
in inflation adjusted state-funding for ESOL and a move towards higher-quality, longer-term education. While improving
outcomes for learners, according to the report, smaller class sizes and extended course length has reduced the capacity of
many ESOL programs to serve a majority of those that seek their assistance. The report also finds fault with the Employment
Preparation Education (EPE) funding formula based on county property values. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations
calling for state and local governments to increase funding and develop collaborative partnerships amongst agencies and service
providers. (Dan McNulty)
Up for Grabs: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-Generation Young Adults,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), November, 2011, 54 pp.
Funded by the Gates foundation,
this study seeks to determine whether immigrant-origin youth, defined as young people ages 16 to 26 either born in another
country or with parents born in another country, are "on track to complete post-secondary education and obtain jobs that
pay a family-sustaining wage." Immigrant-origin youth now make up 25 percent of all U.S. young people in this age
category (38 percent in New Jersey, and 37 percent in New York). From 1995 to 2007, the majority of immigrant-origin youth
were born in other countries. By 2010, the second generation surpassed the first generation and now numbers 14.1 million
compared to 10.3 million immigrant youth. The study disaggregates data by generation, age at arrival, Hispanic vs non-Hispanic
origin, and gender, and presents a mixed picture of progress. On the one hand, Hispanic second generation women are
enrolling in college at the same rate as third-generation non-Hispanic white women, yet their college completion rates are
significantly lower (33 percent compared to 51 percent). One of the more vulnerable groups are Hispanic immigrants in the
16- to 26-year-old age category who entered the U.S. at age 16 or later. According to the report, two-thirds have poor
English skills, many have limited or interrupted education in their home countries, and more than 70 percent are unauthorized
and unlikely to qualify for legalization under the DREAM Act. Those seeking to improve their educational or work-related
skills will have to rely on an underfunded adult educational system with "limited capacity to integrate English language
instruction in the context of work." MPI will continue its exploration of this subject in the future by examining
policies and programs designed to serve different sub-sets of the immigrant-origin youth population.
Increasing Opportunities for Immigrant Students: Community College Strategies for Success,
Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE), November, 2011, 47 pp.
is network of 23 community colleges and other organizations that have joined together to increase educational and workforce
opportunities for immigrant students. This report, written by CCCIE Director Jill Casner-Lotto, seeks to identify the key
elements of a comprehensive and systemic approach to the challenge of educating immigrant students. A growing demographic
for community colleges, immigrant students are often older, nontraditional students juggling jobs and family responsibilities.
The report proposes a "framework" of "11 key factors" predictive of success in this area. These include:
executive-level commitment, proactive outreach, community-wide needs analysis, ESL program redesign, comprehensive assessment,
holistic support services, more sophisticated data collection efforts, faculty professional development, student leadership
development, multi-sector partnerships, and peer-learning efforts. The report describes "promising practices" in
each of these areas. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for action and investment by federal, state, and
Supporting Skilled Immigrants: A Toolkit for ESL Practitioners,
Global Talent Bridge, World Education Services, 2011, 83 pp.
publication discusses the dilemma of the 2.7 million foreign-trained professionals in the U.S., who are unemployed or under-employed,
and who are not well served by most adult education and workforce systems. Through the use of a series of "critical incidents,"
drawn from real-life stories of such immigrants, the Toolkit attempts to develop a list of "do's and don'ts" when
working with this population. The report emphasizes the importance of developing effective intake tools and using contextualized
instruction in the classroom. The Toolkit concludes with a chapter profiling four model programs targeting this population:
the English Health Train initiative of the California Welcome Back Center, the Washington State I-BEST Program; the Massachusetts
Integrated Career Awareness Curriculum; and the English for International Professionals program of the Spring Institute for
Intercultural Learning of Colorado.
Talent is Ready: Promising Practices for Helping Immigrant Professionals Establish Their
IMPRINT, 2011, 30 pp.
Drawing on the collective
experience of the five nonprofit organizations (active in 11 states) that make up the IMPRINT coalition, this report addresses
the challenge of serving the 2.7 million college-educated immigrants in the U.S. who are unemployed or under-employed. Describing
the impact of this underutilization of talent as "staggering - lost wages, lost productivity, and a squandering of human
capital," the authors sketch the outlines of a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of this population.
The first section provides guidance on the initial assessment of an immigrant professional, including the credential evaluation
process and the usefulness of an empowerment model in relating to program participants. The second section discusses three
skill-building processes that are vital to career re-integration: learning English, acquiring technical skills, and refining
professional job search skills. The final section discusses opportunities for organizational capacity-building, including
integrating volunteers and engaging employers. As the challenge of serving immigrant professionals is an emerging one, the
five IMPRINT organizations seek to scale up "the patchwork of innovative programs and ideas" that exist now. They
emphasize the importance of data-driven advocacy and envision a role for policy-makers and philanthropy in the program development
Improving Immigrants' Employment Prospects through Work-Focused Language Instruction,
Migration Policy Institute & European University Institute, June, 2011, 11 pp.
Noting the failure of "umbrella language courses" to give immigrants "a tangible boost in the labor
market," this policy brief outlines a series of promising approaches from both the American and European contexts
to link language instruction with occupational training and to address the pressures and challenging life circumstances
facing immigrants. Among these approaches are: contextualizing language training for workplace use; combining
language and skills training based on the model pioneered by Washington State's I-BEST program; developing formal partnerships
between employers and training providers, including worksite instruction models; and accommodating the needs of non-traditional
students by offering evening and weekend classes, self-study options through greater use of technology, and child care assistance.
Breaking the Language Barrier: A Report on English
Language Services in Greater Boston,
Commonwealth Corporation, March, 2011, 92 pp
Commissioned by The Boston Foundation,
this report utilizes provider surveys, key informant interviews, site visits to model programs, and a focus group with immigrant
adult learners, to produce a detailed portrait of the adult English language service system in the Boston area. The
researchers also analyzed demographic data and program performance reports to identify capacity issues and service gaps. A
number of maps pinpoint the location of specialized services, such as intensive or weekend classes. The report summarizes
areas of system strength and weakness and concludes with a series of recommendations, including efforts to coordinate
services to eliminate duplication and provide greater differentiation of instruction for students with different learning
goals, increased weekend and summer classes, more intensive learning options (20 hours per week or greater), more classes
at advanced SPL levels to permit students to transition to post-secondary education, and greater use of technology and distance
learning particularly for the 45,000 LEP immigrants in the Greater Boston area with at least a bachelor's degree from their
Certifying Adult Education Staff and Faculty,
Council for the Advancement of Adult Literacy (CAAL), January 3, 2011, 88 pp
by CAAL for a Roundtable held in June 2010, this paper reviews the range of certification practices and issues in the adult
education field, of which ESL education for adult immigrants is a part. The paper discusses the reasons why certification
is an issue, including the "long-standing, but poorly documented, sense among various interest groups that adult education
teachers are not as qualified as teachers in other parts of the educational system..." The authors describe adult
education teacher certification as "piecemeal, extremely varied from state to state, and generally voluntary rather than
required." At present, no state has any kind of pre-service requirement of course work in adult education, although about
two-thirds of the states require a bachelor's degree and/or K-12 teaching credential before beginning to teach adults.
Fifteen states encourage or require teachers to obtain certification in teaching adults afterthey begin working.
Sound Investments: Building Immigrants' Skills to Fuel Economic Growth,
Economic Mobility Corporation, December, 2010,
report is based on the proposition that immigrant skill development is crucial to American economic development and prosperity.
Funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the report examines three major approaches to immigrant skill development:
returning to school, workplace education, and self-employment. Within separate chapters devoted to each of these approaches,
the author outlines key strategies that appear to be associated with successful outcomes. Although noting the paucity
of immigrant-focused programs offering pathways to family-sustaining employment, the author profiles a number of programs
around the country that appear to be achieving positive results. In doing this research, the author conducted over 100 interviews,
made eight site visits, and did a literature review.
National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 2010, 73 pp.
The Action Plan
contains seven goals, each with recommended strategies, to address the growing challenges most Americans face in understanding
health information. Because the challenges are especially severe among minorities, immigrants, and people from lower socioeconomic
groups, Goal 4 urges stakeholders from diverse fields to "support and expand local efforts to provide adult education,
English language instruction, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health information services in the community."
The plan grew out of the 2006 Surgeon General's Workshop on Improving Health Literacy, a series of town hall meetings in 2007
and 2008, and feedback from stakeholder organizations in 2009.
Meeting the Need? English Language Learners and Immigrant Adult Learners in the Illinois Adult
Rob Paral & Associations for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, 2010, 37
Funded by the Joyce Foundation and the Illinois Dept. of Human Services, the report
seeks to understand the special educational needs of adult English language learners (ELLs) in the State of Illinois. More
than half of adult ELLs and other immigrant adult learners live in the Chicago suburbs, compared to only 28% of native-born
adult learners. About a third of adult immigrant learners have six or fewer years of formal education, compared to 10% of
the native-born population. The report also notes that English language ability seems to be correlated with higher household
income levels and lower poverty levels. The report urges greater state investment in immigrant adult education in order
to increase workforce productivity and competitiveness. Other recommendations include: more attention to the educational
needs of lower-level immigrant learners, adjustments in funding streams to reflect the growing concentration of immigrants
in the Chicago suburbs, greater integration of the workforce training and adult education systems, and greater utilization
of community-based organizations as educational providers because of their "cultural competency," physical presence
in immigrant communities, and ability to provide supportive services for learners, such as child care.
Using Oral Language Skills to Build on the Emerging Literacy of Adult English Learners,
Center for Adult English Acquisition (CAELA), Center for Applied Linguistics,
August, 2010, 8 pp.
Using an estimate of 750,000 adult immigrants in the U.S. who are
not literate in any language, but who may possess oral English proficiency, the authors of this research brief suggest that
instructional techniques should be adapted to capitalize on the oral skills of these students. One such approach is producing
and analyzing learner-generated texts, which "connects instruction to learners' lives." Another is to "balance
meaning-focused and form-focused instruction."
DREAM vs. Reality: An Analysis of Potential DREAM Act Beneficiaries,
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2010, 23 pp.
This report analyzes
the barriers that would stand in the way of undocumented youth legalizing under the terms of the Development, Relief, and
Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. If passed by Congress, the law would theoretically benefit as many as 2.1 million
people between the ages of 16 and 34. However, significant numbers would be unable to meet the educational and/or military
service requirements during the 6-year period of conditional residence. If they fail to meet those requirements, their status
would revert to undocumented at the end of the six-year period. The biggest challenge would be faced by an estimated 490,000
out-of-school youth lacking a high school diploma or GED. Not only would they have to finish high school or obtain a GED,
but they would also have to successfully complete two years of post-secondary education or military service -- all during
the 6-year period. Many people in this situation are poor, lack proficiency in English, are working or have child care responsibilities.
Moreover, under the most recent version of the DREAM Act, conditional residents would be ineligible for Pell grants to cover
the cost of college tuition. However, adult education programs and community colleges around the country, and particularly
in states like New Jersey with large numbers of undocumented youth, would likely face a surge in demand for instructional
services. MPI estimates that New Jersey has 90,000 potential Dream Act beneficiaries.
Professional Development for Experienced Teachers Working with Adult English Language
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA), Center for Applied Linguistics, May,
2010, 10 pp.
This research brief attempts to identify the characteristics of the experienced adult English language
teacher, as opposed to the novice teacher or the "experienced non-expert," and notes that professional development
for such teachers has generally been neglected. Reviewing the limited amount of research data on this subject, mostly drawn
from K-12 studies, the authors identify and explain three broad strategies that have proven effective in teacher development:
classroom-based action research; mentoring, coaching, and peer observation; and opportunities for reflection, including study
circles. These strategies may be initiated by practitioners themselves or by a program, district, region or state.
Evidence-Based, Student-Centered Instructional Practices,
Center for Adult English Acquisition (CAELA), Center for Applied Linguistics, April, 2010, 8 pp.
In this brief, CAELA reviews studies testing the efficacy of student-centered instructional approaches and
reports that four specific practices are supported by the research: promoting interaction among learners in small groups
and pairs; using native language in the classroom when practical and appropriate; connecting instruction with learners' lives;
and teaching learning strategies explicitly.
Local Perspectives on WIA Reauthorization,
Policy Brief, Council for the Advancement of Adult Literacy, March 26, 2010, 21 pp.
February 18, 2010, CAAL convened an all-day, roundtable meeting of 19 local adult education providers operating model "adult
education for work" programs. The purpose of the convening was to recommend changes to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
to facilitate transitions to work and post-secondary education. Addressing the perception of adult education "as a failed
system with limited learning gains and low persistence," the participants urged "substantial, systematic, and categorical
support" for adult education for work, revised accountability measures based on "momentum points" in students'
lives, greater flexibility in program design to meet local need, articulation agreements between colleges and local education
programs, and recognition that people with low basic skills are a major portion of the population to be served. This report
provides a detailed summary of the conversation and recommendations.
Adult Student Waiting List Survey, 2009-2010,
National Council of State Directors of Adult Education, March 24, 2010, 7 pp.
to over 4,000 programs providing adult education services in the United States, this survey found that some 160,000 potential
learns (6,680 in New Jersey) were unable to access services during the year, doubling from the 80,000 reported in the 2008
survey. The 2009 numbers are compiled only from the 1,368 programs that returned the survey.
Promoting Learner Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Work: Developing Academic
Readiness Skills from the Beginning,
Policy Brief, Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA),
Center for Applied Linguistics, March, 2010, 13 pp
Designed primarily for ESL teachers,
this brief makes the case for the early introduction of "academic readiness skills" into the adult ESL curriculum
in order to facilitate transitions to postsecondary education or vocational training. Although acknowledging that certain
"higher order skills" can't be taught until students reach advanced ESL levels, the authors give examples of certain
skills, such as reading for specific information and organizing information graphically, that can be taught to beginning English
Policy Handbook on Adult English Language Learning,
The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), 2009, 86 pp.
From 2006 to 20009, AAJC
played a major role in examining the field of adult English language learning (ELL) in the United States. The organization
was instrumental in hosting two national conferences in 2006 and 2008 bringing policy makers and practitioners together to
develop recommendations for advancement of the field. This Handbook contains a collection of resources developed during
this process, including summaries of the two conferences; a messaging guide designed for use in advocating for new resources
for adult English language instruction based on findings from seven focus groups and a survey of 1,500 registered voters;
a study of ELL programs around the country, including their student profiles, funding characteristics, educational goals,
major challenges, and "priorities for assistance;" and a collection of data supporting the need for investment in
the immigrant adult education field.
The Power of Technology to Transform Adult Learning,
Council for Advancement of Adult
Literacy, October 21, 2009, 65 pp.
This report calls for "wholesale change" in the nation's adult
education and workforce skills training effort "by deploying technology on an unprecedented scale." Such change
will open up doors of opportunity for millions of adults, including English language learners, un-served by the existing system.
The author, Mary L. McCain, an Affiliate Fellow at the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, provides a summary
of existing research on the uses and impact of technology in adult education. She asserts that "many assumptions about
the reluctance of adults to use technology in independent learning are misinformed." She also questions an approach
that simply "attaches" technology to the existing delivery system. A major recommendation is the development of
a National Web Portal, available to both learners and professional educators.
Literacy Matters: Helping Newcomers Unlock Their Potential,
TD Bank Financial Group, 2009,
This Canadian report cites evidence that poor language and literacy skills not only account
for some of the labor market challenges facing recent immigrants but also negatively impact Canada’s economy and society.
The report discusses the "puzzle" of rising education levels among immigrants (over half of immigrants to Canada
between 2001 and 2006 had a university degree) and high levels of unemployment and underemployment, particularly since 1996.
The authors conclude that weak communication skills in Canada's two official languages probably "contribute between one-third
to two-thirds of earnings gap" between immigrants and native-born Canadians. The report also contains an analysis
of publicly-funded, language training programs in Canada.
This study surveys the landscape of adult English language instruction in the United States
and urges greater collaboration and information-sharing among the three federal agencies most heavily involved in the delivery
of English language services to the adult immigrant population: Education, HHS, and Labor. The authors note that only
the federal Department of Education tracks performance data specific to English language learners through its Adult Education
State Grant Program, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of a "multifaceted" federal effort. The
report also examines the extent of coordination among providers on the state and local level, and mentions numerous promising
practices. Twelve states, including New Jersey, were selected for in-depth study, on the basis of the size or rate of growth
of their LEP populations. The GAO concludes by recommending regular meetings among federal agencies to develop joint initiatives,
the development of time frames for the accomplishment of interdepartmental objectives, and a coordinated approach to research
on effective educational practices in the field.
Expanding Horizons: Pacesetters in Adult Education
Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy, June 26, 2009, 27 pp
The author of this report calls for a "radical transformation"
of adult education in the U.S. to create career and job pathways. The report summarizes the findings of a Roundtable of adult
education for work practitioners convened by the Council on April 6-7, 2009. The report discusses the range of obstacles to
reform, including the challenge of building collaborations across institutional lines, creating new longitudinal measures
for tracking student outcomes, accessing reliable data on current and future workforce hiring trends, and the greater costs
associated with this type of instruction. While not dismissing the importance of "traditional" forms of adult education,
such as ESL, citizenship, and family literacy programs, the report argues that adult education for work should become "the
predominant growth sector of adult education."
Taking Limited English Proficient Adults into Account
in the Federal Adult Education Funding Formula,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2009, 11 pp.
Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 is the primary federal funding source for
both general adult literacy education and adult English language instruction in the United States. As Congress considers reauthorization
of WIA, this report suggests that the time is ripe to "revisit" the current state funding formula. The current formula
is based on the number of individuals in each state lacking a high school diploma. As such, the formula omits from consideration
the 11.2 million limited English proficient adults in the United States with high school diplomas, who although eligible to
participate in WIA-funded programs, are not counted in the formula. It also fails to consider the greater costs associated
with educating immigrants, who may need both literacy and English language training. The report notes the adverse impact of
the formula on northeastern states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, where there are more immigrants with high
school diplomas than elsewhere in the United States.
The Importance of Social Interaction and Support for Women
Learners: Evidence from Family Literacy Programs,
Research Brief #2, Goodling Institute for Research on Family
Literacy, Pennsylvania State University, May, 2009, 5 pp.
in part on interviews and focus groups conducted with immigrant learners, this research brief emphasizes the "psychosocial"
value of center-based programs for women in poverty. According to the authors, classroom-based "relationships are crucial
to physical, mental, social, and economic well-being, yet they are often considered less important than instrumental outcomes
such as increasing children’s school readiness or obtaining employment."
Empty Promises: The Unmet Need for ESL Instruction
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee
Rights, May, 2009, 42 pp.
This report urges an enhanced role for community-based organizations (CBOs) in the
delivery of ESL education in Illinois and questions the soundness of a 2001 decision to transfer responsibility for adult
education from the Illinois State Board of Education to the Illinois Community College Board. The report laments plunging
class enrollments at a time of growing need for language instruction and spotlights the innovative educational work of several
CBOs in the greater Chicago area. Finally, the report calls for true partnerships between community colleges and CBOs to improve
educational outcomes for low-level ESL learners.
This brief offers pointers for supervisors overseeing adult ESL programs, many of which use
part-time or volunteer teachers. In 2006, only 15% of adult ESL teachers in the United States were full-time teachers.
49% were part-time, and 35% were volunteers. At the same time, some supervisors lack sufficient formal training in adult ESL
language instruction. The brief describes a "collaborative approach" to supervision, as well as professional development
approaches, suitable for such situations.
Uses of Technology in the Instruction of Adult English
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Center for Applied Linguistics, February, 2009
This brief explores the potential of new
technology to promote language learning and to create new opportunities for interaction between and among students and instructors.
The brief reviews research on onsite, blended, and online approaches and summarizes key issues that should be considered when
using technology to support instruction for English language learners.
Expanding ESL, Civics, and Citizenship Education in Your
Community: A Start-Up Guide,
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 2009
This handbook is designed for community, faith-based, civic organizations,
and employers interested in setting up volunteer-based programs to help adult immigrants adjust to life in the United States,
learn English, and prepare for citizenship. The publication provides a number of program planning tools, including the outline
of a program development plan, as well as tips on classroom organization and student assessment. The handbook includes sections
on strategies for volunteer recruitment, including sample job descriptions and tutor agreement forms, and approaches to marketing
the program to prospective students.
Public Discourse on Immigration: Media Content and Opinion
Analysis (English-Language Acquisition and Children of Immigrants),
The Opportunity Agenda, 2008, 32 pp.
Based on an analysis of media coverage during the period from October 2007 to April 2008, this study sets
forth the requirements for a more effective media strategy to achieve greater public support for English language programs
for adult immigrants. A separate section analyzes media coverage for the Dream Act
The Vital Role of Community Colleges in the Education and
Integration of Immigrants,
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, 2008, 25 pp.
to community colleges as the "Ellis Island" of higher education, this report outlines numerous ways that foundations
can strenghten the immigrant integration work of community colleges. The report highlights some of the more innovative community
college programs around the country, including multi-institutional projects, such as the "Achieving the Dream" initiative
of the Lumina Foundation, the "Project Shine" initiative of Temple University, and Washington State's I-Best Program.
In addition, projects and strategies at the following individual colleges are profiled: Bunker Hill Community
College (Boston), Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn, NY), LaGuardia Community College (Queens, NY), The College of
Lake County (Suburban Chicago), City College of San Francisco, and Pima Community College (Tucson).
Building Capacity for ESL, Legal Services, and Citizenship:
A Guide for Philanthropic Investments and Partnerships,
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, 2008, 39 pp.
that the "time is ripe" for local and regional foundations to help develop "a strong infrastructure of services"
to facilitate the integration of immigrants, the authors of this guide offer a series of practical suggestions for consideration
by the philanthropic community. Topics include: techniques for community mapping, promising ESL program practices, attributes
of successful citizenship assistance programs, and the advantages of collaborative funding. The guide features sidebars about
successful projects around the country.
Reclaiming Voice: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant
Women Learning English,
CERIS - The Ontario Metropolis, Centre, Policy Matters,
November, 2008, 5 pp.
This policy brief
is drawn from a larger study undertaken by researchers at Ryerson University who sought to understand why significant numbers
of Canadian immigrant women were slow to learn English. The study found that women's language needs were different from
those of men and that a "one-dize-fits-all" approach to language instruction was not effective in reaching female
Investigating the Language and Literacy Skills Required
for Independent Online Learning,
National Institute for Literacy, October, 2008, 43 pp.
the paucity of research data, especially about adults engaged in online learning outside the confines of formal programs,
as well as the impediment of the digital divide, the author of this report concludes that "learners at even the
lowest levels of literacy and language proficiency can engage with online learning content." Not only does this
approach facilitate "self-directed learning," but it also holds out the promise of "boosting system capacity"
so that more adults can benefit from current programs. To realize this goal, research must pinpoint the kinds of supports
necessary to facilitate online learning, taking into consideration the advance of mobile technology which may supercede desktop
equipment and broadband connections.
paper reviews available research on the special challenges associated with teaching English to adult immigrants with limited
literacy in native language. Among the issues covered in the paper are: how to define "ESL literacy learners," how
to assess literacy levels, whether acquistion of native language literacy improves outcomes in English, and the training
needs of instructors working with this population. The paper laments the "amorphous nature of the field itself - existing
in the grey area between two fields (ESL and literacy) that tend to operate under different certification, funding and policy
Adult ESL Teacher Credentialing and Certification,
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Center
for Applied Linguistics, January, 2008, 8 pp.
the importance of developing a qualified teacher workforce in the field of immigrant adult education, the authors of this
report review current state practices related to teacher credentialing and certification. The report also features a section
on the efforts of professional associations to implement content and teacher standards for adult English language programs.
Professional Development for Adult ESL Practitioners:
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Center for Applied Linguistics, October,
2007, 17 pp.
In an effort to address the dearth of professional development opportunities for adult ESL practitioners,
this research brief reviews the literature on professional development from 1990 to 2007 and identifies eight key components
of successful professional development.
Workplace Instruction and Workforce Preparation for Adult
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Center
for Applied Linguistics, September, 2007, 8 pp.
policy brief discusses and evaluates various strategies for helping immigrants succeed in the workplace, including workplace
classes, vocational classes, and community ESL programs.
Research Utilization in the Field of Adult Learning and Literacy:
Lessons Learned by NCSALL About Connecting Practice, Policy, and Research,
National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and
Literacy (NCSALL), Harvard Graduate School of Education, August, 2007, 39 pp.
This "swan song" paper was published upon conclusion of NCSALL's 10-year history as a major
national research and dissemination center in the field of adult education funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The
paper is written for policymakers at the national and state level concerned about promoting evidence-based adult education
practice. The paper outlines the "five main lessons" learned by NCSALL in its quest to connect practice, policy,
and research. NCSALL's partners included the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Portland State University, the Center for
Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, and World Education.
Adult English Language Instruction in the United States:
Determining Need and Investing Wisely, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy,
Migration Policy Institute, July 2007, 24pp.
The authors of this report argue that learning to speak, read, and write in the English language is "among
the most neglected domestic policy issues in our nation today." Using available census data and a set of assumptions
about demand for classroom instruction, as well as the likelihood of self-study and computer-based alternatives to traditional
classroom instruction, the report estimates that $200 million a year would be necessary to serve the existing legal immigrant
population. Costs would skyrocket in the event of a legalization program for unauthorized workers. Finally, the authors suggest
that these costs could be met through various funding mechanisms, which are spelled out in the report.
A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, January, 2007, 192
Responding to the challenge of integrating
a record number of immigrants, The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), with support from the Carnegie Corporation
of New York, interviewed hundreds of experts and community representatives from around the country to determine the resources,
activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize millions of eligible immigrants. This report summarizes
their findings and recommendations.
Adult Literacy Education in Immigrant Communities: Identifying
Policy and Program Priorities for Helping Newcomers Learn English, Asian American Justice Center, 2007, 38pp.
With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, AAJC convened
a panel of stakeholders and experts in immigrant adult education to examine the state of the field and to put forth recommendations
for future action. Among the 10 principal recommendations are the need for "contextualized ESOL programs that motivate
adult English learners" and the need for increased state and local support of ESOL programs, but with attention to documenting
program effectiveness and sharing innovative practices.
Lost in Translation, Center for an Urban Future, November, 2006, 14 pp.
This report discusses the problem of inadequate resources for adult
English-language instruction in New YorkState.
The ESL Logjam: Waiting Times
for Adult ESL Classes and the Impact on English Learners, NALEO Education Fund, October, 2006, 58 pp.
Based on a survey of 184 ESL providers in 16 states, this report
argues that adult ESL instruction in the United States is in a state of crisis, with long waiting lists in many sites, overcrowded
classes, and insufficient options for instructions beyond basic level.
The Integration of Immigrants in the Workplace,
Institute for Work and the Economy, July, 2006, 60
This report summarizes the findings
of a two-year project funded by The Joyce Foundation to identify effective ways to integrate immigrants into the workforce.
Input was received from a national Advisory Committee of 41 individuals, and participants in 7 community forums. The report
is organized according to the 7 major lessons learned by the project, one of which is that "strategies directed explicitly
at immigrants must be components of a broader range of initiatives that support the entire workforce." The report
is noteworthy for its attention to the diverse backgrounds and needs of immigrants, including both lower skilled immigrants
and foreign-trained professionals.
English Language Acquisition: Opportunities for Foundations to Strengthen the Social and Economic Well-being of Immigrant
Families, Briefing Paper from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, 2005,
This paper explores how philanthropy can strengthen immigrant families through strategic investments
in language acquisition programs. It discusses successful strategies and offers examples of promising programs that have helped
immigrants-regardless of their educational background-to increase their employment prospects and economic stability through
improved English and other vocational skills. The report also highlights some of the best practices from literacy programs
designed for immigrant families, where both adults and pre-school children can develop English and literacy skills. The report
concludes with a set of recommendations on how foundations can effectively support English language acquisition in these areas,
including gaps in programming and research where strategic philanthropic investment can make a critical difference.
News and Opinion
Cultural blind-spots make "pathway to citizenship" a steep climb
Urban Institute, MetroTrends Blog, March 20, 2013
As federal immigration overhaul looms, California schools slash adult English classes,
Stateline (The Daily News Service of The Pew Center on the States), December 19, 2012
Dollar General Invests in the American Dream,
American Libraries Magazine, August 18, 2010
Mexico will Offer Online-Degree Programs to Citizens Living Abroad,
The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 9, 2010
Program recruits parent volunteers to teach English to other parents with children in the same school,
Daily Camera (Boulder, CO), November 28, 2009
Adult education research in UK casts doubt on value of workplace literacy programs,
TES Connect, November 27, 2009
1.4 Million made available for workplace English classes in Massachusetts,
MIRA Press Release, November 5, 2009
New Bedford's Immigrant Workers Targeted for English Classes,
South Coast Today, August 25, 2009
One Workforce - Many Languages,
Society for Human Resource Management Magazine, January 1, 2009
Making Change: Civics as a Second Language,
City Limits Magazine, July/August 2003