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Helping Lower Skilled Californians Earn Postsecondary Credentials Julie Strawn, Senior Fellow November 10, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Helping Lower Skilled Californians Earn Postsecondary Credentials Julie Strawn, Senior Fellow November 10, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helping Lower Skilled Californians Earn Postsecondary Credentials Julie Strawn, Senior Fellow November 10, 2011

2 Few Basic Skills students in California earn postsecondary credentials Recent California Budget Project report—California’s Basic Skills Students: Who Succeeds and Why?—documents current outcomes for ESL and basic skills students served in CDE and CCC programs. Adult Education Program students make little or no progress, even over several years, and very few ever earn postsecondary credentials. Even in the highest skilled group, Adult Secondary Education, just 1 in 4 earns a high school diploma or GED. Community college basic skills students are higher skilled to begin with than AEP students and make more progress in improving their basic skills or English proficiency—but still only 1 out of 5 earns a certificate or degree or transfers. Focus of this briefing: How can California use its federal adult education funding strategically to help more lower skilled students earn postsecondary credentials? 2

3 How does California compare with other states in helping adult ed. students enroll in postsecondary ed. or trg.? CA ranks last nationally for the number of adult ed. students it places into postsecondary ed. as a percent of all adult education students. CA ranks 40 th nationally for the number of adult ed. students it places into postsecondary ed. as a percent of its most college ready students (those adult ed. students who earn a GED or HS diploma). But, a number of the top performing states are small. States with the largest adult education programs tend to have more lower skilled students and more ESL students than other states—how does CA compare to them? Answer is still near the bottom. Caveat: Federal National Reporting System for adult ed. is only available source of state-by-state performance data, but it is flawed in a number of ways. Some of CA’s poor performance might be explained, for example, by underreporting of students in postsecondary, but unlikely to be the whole story. 3

4 CA adult education (K-12) placement in postsecondary vs. other large enrollment states


6 Why aren’t outcomes better? General problem of too many goals and too little funding in adult education. Result is open entry, open exit programs meeting a few hours a week with little structure or expectations. Few students stay for enough hours of instruction to make a difference. Barriers to adult education students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education include— K-12 basic skills services such as ESL, ABE, and GED prep are not aligned or integrated with postsecondary academic or career-technical programs. Basic skills sequences within K-12 adult ed. take too long—and then students face still more lengthy sequences of developmental education once they enroll in postsecondary ed. Students don’t receive the supports they need to succeed. Little academic or career counseling is available about options for further education and training connected to job opportunities locally. 6

7 How can California help more adult education students enter and succeed in postsecondary education and training? Some background: The adult education population is diverse so there should be multiple pathways to meet their needs. However, surveys in other states show that the majority of adult ed. students have college and career goals. Only the federal part of adult ed. funding ($87 million) and a small state match is under state control in California. The remaining roughly $400 million in state funds for adult education is solely controlled by local K- 12 districts. This raises a threshold question: To what extent should California use the small amount of federal funding controlled at the state level to promote pathways to postsecondary access and success vs. using it for other purposes and populations, such as older immigrants? 7

8 Key tasks for California for increasing postsecondary access and success in adult ed. Explicitly make postsecondary access and success a top priority for adult education programs at state and local levels. Provide venture capital for creating or expanding local models to operationalize this priority. CA example: Career Advancement Academies. State should set evidence-based parameters for the core elements of local models, such as collaboration among education and workforce partners, dual enrollment in basic skills and postsecondary ed. and trg., contextualized basic skills curriculum, modularization, integration of college and career readiness skills, interactive technology, career planning, and wraparound supports for students. Employers, unions, and community-based groups can play impt. roles. Scale up innovation by building those models into ongoing funding streams for adult education and other related programs (e.g. WIA Title I training, ETP). Help practitioners implement new focus on postsecondary through ongoing and substantial professional development. Focusing on postsecondary access and success is a fundamental shift in the goals and content of adult education. Local practitioners who are not already doing it may not understand what these new models look like. 8

9 Key state policy levers for carrying out these tasks Performance targets and outcome data. Set ambitious performance targets for postsecondary placements, benchmark performance, and track student outcomes by local program, preferably publicly. E.g. New York, Ohio, Kentucky. Especially useful to track student outcomes across services, over time, and into the labor market, e.g. Washington “tipping point” study. Targeting of federal funding toward postsecondary goal. Federal adult ed. funds are awarded competitively so both the state plan and the state RFP can be tools for focusing local programs on postsecondary goals. Federal discretionary funds administered by the state in adult ed, WIA Title I, Perkins and other programs can be used as venture capital for innovation. Performance-based funding can also be used to target federal adult ed. funds on state priorities, including a postsecondary access and success goal. Governance. 7 of 10 top performing states in postsecondary placements for adult ed. are governed by a state postsecondary agency. Local transition programs are also more successful when delivered by, or colocated with, community colleges or public technical institutions. E.g. Ohio, Maine. 9

10 New York State illustrates how these state policy levers can move outcomes NY has increased number of adult ed students entering postsecondary ed. or trg. by more than 50% in last 5 years. High specific expectations State targets for placement in postsecondary ed. or job training goals well above federal expectations. (Higher federal ones will go into effect in July 2012). Report cards for each program on performance relative to state targets. State backs up the targets with intensive technical assistance to programs on what their data tells them and how to improve it, e.g. 240 TA calls with programs this year. Particular focus on large programs in each region. Funding that rewards high performance on postsecondary goal Programs that reach highest level on report cards on postsecondary goal have a higher chance of getting performance funds from state. Interagency partnerships (state ed., labor, and higher ed. systems) Joint postsecondary transitions conferences, participation in federal Policy to Performance initiative, state Literacy Zones in areas of high poverty—all of these focus on cross-system partnerships to build innovative models that increase postsecondary access and success for lower skilled people. 10

11 What models do states use to increase postsecondary access and success for lower skilled adults? GED Plus Model. Academic preparation to close gaps between GED-level skills and college readiness, plus college and career planning and transition support services. Target population is GED graduates or students near GED completion. Can combine with “fast track” GED preparation as an on-ramp into the bridge. Example: Colorado SUN’s College Connections. This model may not be as necessary after new GED aligned with Common Core Standards is released in 2014; on the other hand, new GED may be significantly harder to pass.

12 State example of GED Plus Model: Maine’s College Transition Initiative Statewide initiative with 22 programs delivered in 40 communities. Adult education programs, often co-located on college campuses, provide- Career planning, goal setting, & college assessment (Accuplacer or Compass pre and post-testing) College advising, financial aid help, and college study skills Reading, writing and math college prepatory classes. Students select transition classes based on assessment Computer literacy and intro. to online coursework 80% improve Accuplacer scores, 70% enroll in college Students much more likely to enroll in college when the adult education college transition program was located at the college (87% vs. 53%).

13 Local example of GED Plus Model: Colorado SUN’s College Connection Bridge Targeted young high school dropouts at 7 community colleges. At entry, math skills were 6th-8th grade level, reading 9th-12 th grade level. 3 out of 4 had GED. College Connection provided 8-12 weeks of accelerated basic skills (40% reading/English, 40% math, 20% college/career success course) with wrap around supports. College “navigators” provided intensive case management, helped connect students with college academic and financial aid advising. High percentage of students accessed advising. Even students who scored very low on basic skills assessments were able to pass at least one level of dev. ed. in 8-week period. More than 80 percent of students enrolled in college-level courses during or after completion of the program, earned on average 10 credits in follow up period. 13

14 Models states use to increase postsecondary access and success: Career Pathway Bridges Common elements of Career Pathway Bridges-- Combine basic skills and career-technical content, including general workforce skills, pre-college academic and English language skills, and specific occupational knowledge and skills. Contextualize basic skills and English language content to the knowledge and skills needed in a specific occupation or group of occupations. Use new or modified curricula, with identified learning targets for both academic and occupational content, articulated to next level in college and career pathway.

15 Career Pathway Bridges, common elements Change how classes are delivered, e.g. dual enrollment in linked basic skills & occupational courses; integrated, team-taught basic skills & occupational courses; enrolling students in cohorts. Support student success through enhanced student services. E.g. “career coach” helps students navigate campus processes, access college and external services, connects students to other public benefits, and arranges internships in field of study. Connect to local employer and community needs by engaging key partners in design and implementation of bridges, such as employers, unions, workforce development boards, community-based organizations and foundations.

16 Career Pathways and Bridges Growing At least 10 states have significant career pathway efforts aimed at adults or out of school youth. AR, CA, KY, IL, MA, OH, OR, VA, WA, WI Half a dozen states have career pathway bridge initiatives IL, IN, MD, MN, OH, OR, WA, WI New Gates Fdn. Accelerating Opportunity grants will expand this #. Some states have focused state adult ed. plans/RFP’s on this. IL, IN CA new ABE strategic plan moving in this direction. Hundreds of local, career-focused basic skills bridge programs, according to 2010 WSC bridge survey. Little uniformity. Career pathways and bridges becoming a focus of federal policy. DOL’s TAACCCT grants, Career Pathways TA, Pathways to Prosperity ED’s Career Connections and Policy to Performance DHHS’ Health Professions Opportunity grants, Innovative Strategies to Self-Sufficiency, and Promising Pathways initiatives Pathways and bridges part of President’s jobs proposal and the likely focus of forthcoming Innovation Fund. Could be focus of WIA reauth.

17 Career pathway bridges for intermediate and advanced adult ed. students Targeted typically to students testing at grade level 8 and above, ESL level 3 and higher. Two main approaches-- Integrated, team-taught programs. Basic skills content is integrated into postsecondary courses within certificate or degree programs. Can go lower if use dual language instruction. Adult education/ESL instructors co-teach same course with occupational college faculty (can do this with academic courses, too). Dual enrollment in paired basic skills and college courses. Students enroll in basic skills and postsecondary at the same time, earning college credit and credentials while improving English language, math, reading, and writing skills. Courses are taught separately by different instructors but those instructors do joint planning to coordinate instruction. Basic skills course is typically contextualized to content of paired academic or occupational course.

18 State example of Integrated Career Pathways Bridge: Washington State’s I-BEST program I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) helps adult ed./ESL students earn occupational credentials and college credits while improving basic and English lang. skills. I-BEST currently serves about 2,800 students, with more than 140 programs at all 34 community colleges statewide. I-BEST programs range from 1-3 quarters long and must lead to a credential, carry college credit, and be part of degree pathways. I-BEST pairs ABE/ESL instructors with prof./tech instructors to team teach basic skills and job skills at least 50% of the time. Basic skills support courses supplement the integrated basic skills/CTE course, with basic skills content contextualized to CTE program. I-BEST programs must document labor market demand and meet wage standards. GED not required unless occupation requires it. Columbia University evaluation: I-BEST students earn more credits, earn more credentials, have larger basic skills gains. 18

19 Local example of Integrated and Paired Career Pathway Bridges: Wisconsin RISE Bridge at Western Technical College

20 Local example of Career Pathways Bridge paired courses: Portland Community College CASOL and VELAC Course Design: CASOL Pre-requisites: CASOL: ESOL Level 5 (placement into or previous enrollment through Level 4) Term 1 ESOL Support Class (Credit or non- option available) CASOL: Keyboarding (CAS 122); Basic Computer Skills/MS Office (CAS 133) Internship – begin or explore Term 2 ESOL Support Class (Credit or non- option available) CASOL: Beginning Excel (CAS 170) and Beginning Word (CAS 216) Internship Bridge Term ESOL Support Class (Credit or non-option available) CASOL: Intro to Keyboarding (CAS 121)

21 Career Pathway Bridges for lower level adult education and ESL students Lowest level bridges (roughly3 rd -5 th grade level, ESL levels 1-2) may focus on general work readiness and career exploration. Example: Chicago’s SER/Daley College Medical Bridges. Intermediate ones (roughly 6 th -8 th grade level, ESL levels 2- 3) introduce concepts and skills for occupations in a specific sector (such as health care, manufacturing, skilled trades). Example: South Texas College Dual Language Pathways, Illinois Shifting Gears, Minnesota FastTRAC. Typically serve those not close to earning GED, and not testing as ready for postsecondary. Content is articulated to next steps in a college and career pathway.

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23 Local example lower level Career Pathway Bridges: Daley College (Chicago) and Central States SER (CBO) Medical Bridges Created Pre-Bridge (grade levels 4 to 5.9) and Medical Bridge (grade levels 6 to 8.9) Contextualized basic skills in both, prepares students to transition into several medical pathways (e.g. CNA, billing and coding, etc.). SER recruits students, provides case management and helps identify funding sources Daley College - Arturo Velasquez Institute offers training, and pre/post assessment Outcomes: 159 students enrolled pre-bridge or medical bridge Retention Rate 90.4% Students completing CNA 75 Students registered for college credit 57 Students registered for LPN/RN prerequisites 41

24 Daley College/Central States SER Medical Bridge

25 Lessons from other states Think about the whole pathway from the beginning. Can focus on building out different parts at different times but need to have complete vision from the beginning in order to avoid gaps. Create capacity to collect the right outcome data from the beginning. Hard to measure outcomes retrospectively and hard to sustain and scale up innovation if lack any evidence about whether it works. Figure out the end game for sustainability from the beginning. Private and public special grants might jumpstart innovation but it will end when the grants end unless thought is given up-front to which ongoing funding streams can support new models. No one partner at the local level can pull this off alone. All the community college silos (career-tech ed., developmental ed., student services, academic depts.) and adult basic education need to be involved, as should employers and CBO’s.

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