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Accelerated Learning in Developing Countries: Are They Ready? Education Development Center Dr. Barry Stern Project Director, EQUIP3/Youth Trust

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Presentation on theme: "Accelerated Learning in Developing Countries: Are They Ready? Education Development Center Dr. Barry Stern Project Director, EQUIP3/Youth Trust"— Presentation transcript:

1 Accelerated Learning in Developing Countries: Are They Ready? Education Development Center Dr. Barry Stern Project Director, EQUIP3/Youth Trust (202) 572-3712

2 Problem: Worldwide impediment to development, domestic and international tranquility: Unemployed and under-skilled youth  Youth “bulge” – population growth exceeds economic  Inadequate response of government schools: Primary education quality? Problematic post-primary education: Mismatch / curriculum design / incentives  Employers unwilling to invest in areas with low literacy levels

3 International Challenge  Dramatically raise literacy levels at reasonable cost  Develop curricula that appeal to teenagers and young adults – not “remedial” but accelerated, applied, team-oriented, fun  Incentive system (graduated rewards) makes sense for all stakeholders – students, instructors, employers

4 Fast Break: a program to improve work and college readiness  Overview  History of Fast Break + Barry Stern’s involvement  The what, why, who, and how of program  Evaluation evidence + why it works  Target groups and costs  Applicability of program or its principles to developing countries? - discussion

5 History of Fast Break  1989 - Focus Hope in Detroit developed Fast Track – readiness for Machinist Training  1993 - Colin Powell’s visit led to federal interest to replicate Focus Hope programs in other cities  1994-1997 - $1 million grant from NSF to replicate Fast Track in Los Angeles – 3 year demo  2000-03 Michigan’s “Operation Fast Break” 6 sites – $5 Million  Alabama uses as front-end of workforce development programs – Roger Penske + Governor

6 Fast Break provides immersion-type curriculum that is effective and popular with young adults and teenagers  Multi-disciplinary, team taught courses with cross-trained instructors  Facilities, methods, and interpersonal relations that model high performance workplace  Heavy use of courseware (e.g. PLATO, NovaNet, Key Train) to manage instruction and reporting.

7 FAST BREAK CONTENT - 320 hours  Math (computer-assisted + small group)  Reading  Computer Applications - Word Processing - Spreadsheets - Databases - WINDOWS - Graphics Programs  Career & Employability Skills - Speaking, listening, bus. writing - Time management/calendars - Career selection - Resumes - Interviewing - Work habits PRINCIPLES  Hard work + high expectations  Earn way in and right to stay in  Integrated curriculum in applied work context  Continual feedback  Daily practice of fundamentals, including learning on demand  Teamwork  Personal responsibility& discipline  Freedom from drugs  Reward for effort and excellence  Respect for others  Primacy of the customer  Employer driven

8 Career Development Stages and Skill Levels Fundamental Skills Basic Skills Reading, writing, speaking, listening, math Thinking Skills How to learn, create, solve problems, make decisions, etc. Personal Qualities Responsbility, integrity, self-confidence, moral character, loyalty, etc. Generic Work Skills (SCANS) How to use resources, process information, use technology, understand systems, relate to others, work on teams Industry-specific Skills (Portable Credentials) Company/employer- specific skills Career Guidance and Information (“menu”) Education and Training for Careers (“meal”) Skill Certification and Placement into Jobs or Further Education (“dessert’) Source: Dr. Barry Stern, Career and Workforce Development Trends: Implications for Michigan Higher Education, Ferris State University, August 2003.

9 Why does Fast Break work? Combination of...  Disciplined learning environment  Application of high performance workplace principles –all aspects of “human capital” (social, cultural, moral, cognitive, aspirational)  Targeted use of technology  High intensity to accelerate gains (e.g. 320 hours of instruction in 8-12 weeks)

10 Who are the participants? Any group needing better skills and/or work habits to enter college or career-track work : Out-of-school youth (h.s. grads/dropouts) High school students College freshmen needing remedial education Welfare recipients needing better skills + work habits Ex-offenders Re-entrants to job market (displaced workers/homemakers) Entry-level workers desiring to advance Recent immigrants needing skills and orientation to U.S. system of work and education

11 FAST BREAK Program Two Components:  FAST BREAK – job/college readiness  Step-Up – readiness for Fast Break

12 FAST BREAK ENTRY REQUIREMENTS  Work Keys Level 3 Reading for Information Applied Math  Commits to attend 5-8-hours-a-day for 8-12 weeks  Commits to going to work or school after graduating GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS  Work Keys Level 4 and + 1 level (math, reading, locating info.)  Certified attendance (no more than three unexcused absences or tardies)  Remains drug free  Satisfactory career speech  Satisfactory progress in basic computer applications (IC3 certif)  Proper attitude (can work as team member or unsupervised, accepts criticism, etc.)

13 Features of FAST BREAK environment  Math, reading, computer instructors assist one another and are with students all day long  Integrate content areas with one another + “soft” skills  Little lecturing – instead, small group + computer- assisted to handle multiple ability levels in class  Class usually split in 2 – ½ computer lab; ½ classroom, and they switch periodically  No down time, no waiting – everyone has daily plan + back-up  Workplace discipline and effective time management  Staff meets daily to discuss class and individual performance

14 Fast Break results in U.S. (CA + MI)  80% program completion rate  80% graduates get jobs or enter college  2.5 grade level improvements in math and reading in 7 Weeks, 1-2 Work Keys levels  Computer application skills (word processing, spreadsheets & data bases)  Higher college placement test scores  Higher wages than before program  High degree of employer satisfaction with graduates

15 Employment impact Employers say graduates…  Are more trainable than most they have hired  Demonstrate ability to learn on their own as well as work on teams  Are punctual, responsible, eager to learn  Save them money on recruiting, turnover, absenteeism & worker accidents  More self-directed than grads of other programs

16 Unusual outcomes  Large classes (30-40) do better than small ones (15-25)  University students would enroll in the summer to hone their math and English skills  Some parents enrolled after their kids graduated and got jobs

17 Instructor benefits:  Learn to function in a team-oriented environment  Improve own basic skills  Learn how to use computers and office equipment  Learn about different careers and the local economy  Improve instructional effectiveness by obtaining feedback from graduates and employers

18 Features of Educational Software  Organized by Skill Level  Short Lessons  Identify Skill Gaps  Management System  attendance, time on task, lesson completion rates  Reports & Complete Tracking  Ease of Use for both Students & Instructors  Appealing Graphics

19 Courseware aligned to Work Keys + WIN or KeyTrain curriculum Curriculum Content  Applied Math  Reading for Information  Locating Information  Writing Workbooks Available Courseware (e.g. PLATO, NovaNet) can also align to ACT test, G.E.D. and other assessments

20  Intensive, total immersion strategy  Emphasis on reading and math + integrated, contextually relevant curricula + learning on demand (e.g. career sp.)  Powerful incentives (e.g. job, college, grade promotion)  Continual data-based feedback (individual and team)  Nurturing staff continually communicates about students  Model high performance business environment with opportunities for informal learning  Teachers visit job sites to follow up with employers and graduates  Focus on specific competencies + disciplinary standards  Manage instruction with computers - repetition, diversity Summary: Why Fast Break Works

21 Budget for minimum size program of 300 students/year in U.S.  $500,000 in annual operating costs if no overstaffing (assumes no staff, facilities or in-kind)  $580,000 in operating costs if overstaff by 1-2 FTE  Comes to roughly $2,000 per student for 320-hour program, or $6.25 per student hour.  Another $150,000 for one-time start-up costs - courseware, computers, furniture & office equipment, minor remodeling

22 Implementation challenges in developing countries: 1.Critical mass of trained instructors for Fast Break and math-reading tutors for Step-up 2.Jobs available for Fast Break grads – “pull program” 3.Information “superhighway” infrastructure (inexpensive computers, reliable Internet connections and computer technicians) 4.Reliable, steady supply of electricity 5.Translation of courseware and materials into language of country 6.Reliable, cheap, easily administered and scored assessment for reading and math 7.Youth availability for intensive training because of livelihood activities.

23 Program In Action (supplementary to presentation)  What’s Next?  Learning and teaching hypotheses to guide WDI Programs  Details on How & Why the Fast Break Model Works  Business and career impact

24 Fast Break Sites in Michigan  Flint - Mott Community College (with Workforce Board)  ** Detroit - TWW Associates, Detroit - now Fast Break Futures that adds MOUS certification - TANF + other $$  * Detroit - Focus:Hope Fast Track (16 years experience)  Plainwell - Michigan Career Technical Institute (individuals with disabilities)  Lake County - Workforce Board/Baldwin Comm. Schools  ** Macomb County - Lakeshore Adult School (with Workforce Board)  ** Hamtramck Alternative High School  ** Battle Creek - Strive/Urban League/Davenport College * Developed original model. ** Program no longer active.

25 U.S. Program Costs (if starting from scratch) Annual Operating Costs = $580,000  Staffing + benefits for full-time Fast Break and part-time Step Up programs (incl. 2 teaching assistants)  Work Keys assessment and WIN curriculum materials  Software renewals, books, supplies  Rent, amortization of equipment  Drug screens, insurance, advertising  Telephone, printing, duplication  Overhead @ 13% Capital Equipment & Expenses = $150,000 (Start-up – one time)  Courseware licenses/student IDs  PCs, file server, printers  Copy machine, fax, telephones  Office, classroom, computer furniture & equipment, bookshelves, storage cabinets, white boards, decorations  Camcorder, VCR, TV, projectors  Remodeling, computer installation  Student smocks, tests, assessments Assume program serves 300 students per year with 20-30 computer workstations, 2/3 in Fast Break, 1/3 in Step Up

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