Next Week in Cleveland: XPRIZE & CLE-BEE

Adult literacy providers and supporters in the Cleveland area have two exciting opportunities next week to network and learn:

$1 Million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition Info Session

Want to revolutionze adult literacy by testing out the newest, research-based adult literacy mobile apps? Willing to compete for a chance at $1 million by motivating the most adult learners to utilize mobile learning? Register for free lunch and more information at 1pm on September 12th at Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch.

XPRIZE representative Haneen Khalef will also be hosting information sessions in Columbus on September 10th and in Akron on September 14th.

Not in Ohio? Find out more about the Communities Competition here.

One Night Only: 3rd Annual CLE-BEE

Many years ago, Christine Lee trained me as a volunteer adult literacy tutor, opening my eyes to the depth of the issue and inspiring my future career path.

More recently, Christine continues to inspire awareness and involvement with the crazy, fun idea to host a corporate spelling bee fundraiser to benefit adult literacy.

The whole team at The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland has worked to make this fun idea a reality. On September 13th, CLE-BEE will celebrate its 3rd year with high energy, local celebrities… and of course some good food and drink.

Individual tickets are $30.

Hope to see you there!

New Course: Keys to the 3 HSE Tests

In August 2017, Ohio Department of Education approved all three national exams as official assessments to earn a High School Equivalency Credential:

  • GED® Test
  • TASC Test &
  • HiSET® Exam

Save yourself from wasting time searching, and spend it getting hands-on with the best resources to get you started navigating all three HSE exams.

Keys_teakwood

The Literacy Cooperative has generously sponsored a live training to help Cleveland-area educators learn about working in a multi-assessment environment, and become more familiar with the TASC and HiSET exams.

The workshop filled up quickly, and we have had interest from all over the state. To help spread this vital information, I developed an online version of the live workshop.

The video-based lessons are full of curated links to save you time and help you understand key differences in the exams.

In addition, you can still gain the value of networking by commenting on the lessons to share insights and resources.

 

I look forward to diving deeper with you into the three exams, and reflecting on what this means for us as adult educators. Hope to see you in Keys to the 3 HSE Tests!

I Took the GED® Test…How Can I Get College Credit?

In January 2016, the GED Test changed its scores from pass/fail, to three different levels:

GED Performance Levels
Source: GED Testing Service
  • 175 College Ready + Credit
  • 165 College Ready
  • 145 Pass: High School Equivalency

Find more details in the Quick (Unofficial) 2017 GED® Test Update: Only available until June 30, 2017!

The new GED College Ready Plus Credit is a recommendation for colleges & universities to accept a GED Test Taker’s score to count towards college credit.

What does that mean?

If you do well enough on the GED Test, you can save yourself time & money by starting in higher level classes. Skip Math 101 for a more interesting statistics class, for example. GED Test scores can equal up to 10 college credits…that’s almost one entire semester!

But you can’t skip a class everywhere you apply. GED Test Takers who want to make the most of their high scores may want to look closely at where they apply to college.

To find out if your GED College Ready + Credit Scores are worth $$$:

  1. Start by checking if your nearby college or university is part of the ACE Credit College & University Network. I sorted this list by state so I could easily scan which Ohio institutions are on the list. In some cases, I see two branches of Kent State University, but not the branch nearest me. Hmm…
  2. Next, contact the Admissions department. Ask if they accept College Ready + Credit. Even colleges within the network can determine whether or not to accept certain types of credit.
  3. Even after contacting the Admissions department, they will likely give you the name of the department head, or someone else who will have to approve your application to transfer credit. If the answer is yes, then ask for the forms. If the answer is no…

This is when you change from a prospective student to an advocate.

So for example, maybe Youngstown State University’s English department is okay with giving 1 credit for Reasoning through Language Arts, but the History department has not made a decision about the Social Studies credit. Each department or dean the right to make their own decision (more about the process).

However, in many cases, a department chair may have no clue that the GED College Ready Plus Credit even exists, or what it means.

If they say “no,” or they haven’t heard of it, this is your chance to teach them!

  • If you are a test taker, explain how hard you studied, the skills you learned, and more.
  • If you are a teacher, share the Performance Level Descriptors, and a press release from GED Test Service about the new passing level.

Want more details on cool new tips and tools for GED® Test preparation?

Learn More

If I Ran the School: Blended Learning

If you ran a school for at-risk teens or non-traditional adult learners, what would you do?

I’ve been fortunate to work in adult education, where this question gets asked daily. What do you do when 100% of your students have the most barriers to learning, and a bad taste in their mouths?

What works, and what doesn’t?

I would focus on two words:

BlendedLearningCover

Next week, I am facilitating a live course about BLENDED LEARNING for Virginia Department of Corrections educators. 

Want to join us? Sign up for details about how to follow along online!

Tell Me More

Here’s a closer look at common adult education program structures (and why I think blended learning is the best):

Business as Usual: Face-to-face Instruction

No matter your student population, some teachers are all about classic face-to-face group instruction:

  • lecture,
  • textbooks,
  • long videos,
  • and now many students ignoring it all in lieu of cell phones…

Okay, Ferris Bueller is a super exaggeration. I mean, I have seen some really excellent group instruction: engaging, interactive, relevant. But… it’s still face-to-face group instruction.

“What’s wrong with business as usual?” you ask.

Well…if you miss a day, you’re behind. Or you show up, but you don’t understand it, you’re behind. Guess what? Most at-risk students already start BEHIND!

Actually, the truth is that a slim majority of high school students actually pass with business a usual. At least, they graduate.

But I’m not worried about “most students,” and neither are you. We’re worried about the ones who didn’t get it the first time, the ones who fall through the cracks.

What alternative programs do high schools or adult education classes offer for the large minority of students who do not succeed in traditional face-to-face group instruction? How do they stack up against 

Worst Outcomes: Self-Paced Online Learning

A few years back, some members of the educational press were crowing that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) were going to be The Golden Ticket that was going to FIX education!

As predicted, MOOCs did not fix business as usual… follow up studies showed that only 10% of students who enrolled completed a MOOC.

These outcomes could be improved by adding elements of faciliated coursework. But that required removing the Massive and Open parts of a MOOC. Then it’s just an OC (online course), and stops being entirely self-paced.

The high school where I worked fell into a similar trap as MOOCs. The district offered online learning for students with barriers:

  • teens who had babies,
  • were ill for extended periods, or
  • their behavior was too disruptive.

Most of the at-risk online students didn’t have the discipline to complete their coursework. For the 10% of motivated, self-paced learners, online learning is critical.

But purely online learning needs additional support, not less than traditional teaching. It works well for traveling artists & athletes, not discipline cases.

Moderate Success: Dual Enrollment

With the merger of workforce development and adult basic education through WIOA, career pathways are all the rage.

Dual enrollment combines high school level study with post-secondary credentials.

Technical training, classes at a local college campus, and supervised work-study tend to help students persist in learning, and give them a head start on productive careers.

There are plenty of data backing up the effectiveness of these programs for those who enroll.

Men in ties in a carpentry workshop
Returned soldiers at vocational training in Queensland, 1920

So why aren’t they top on my list?

These approaches are not scalable because enrollment is limited.

And limited enrollment is a good thing! Specialized technical training is not for everyone, especially when we’re preparing people for jobs that won’t exist a decade from now.

On top of that, the students with the most barriers–OUR adult basic education students–are often the least likely to benefit from highly structured programs.

Best Solution: Blended Learning

What can we do? 

How can we consistently improve outcomes for adult education or alternative high school programs?

How do we reach the at-risk adults and teens who lack:

  • the stability for dual enrollment programs,
  • the discipline for self-paced online learning, and
  • the attention span for face-to-face instruction?

We throw in a mix of each with blended learning!

Blended learning combines face-to-face, instructor-led programs with self-paced student use of technology.

Multiple pathways are accessible for students in the same building. Through online learning, students can engage the world… while maintaining the support and continuity of instructor oversight.

WhyShouldWeBlend

Vulnerable students of all ages need genuine human connection to successfully graduate.

But they also need the flexibility and autonomy to make their own choices, and accommodate the messiness of life.

Graduate schools have figured this out: they are expanding their reach by adding flexible, blended learning programs that encourage individual inquiry while developing a community of scholars.

Those at “the top” of their careers share the same barriers as those who are most vulnerable:

  • unpredictable schedules,
  • work and family responsibilities,
  • need for increased support, and
  • an inability to participate in an immersive on-campus experience.

Blended learning meets all those needs, plus it’s scalable. Thus blended learning is the optimal solution to prepare at-risk high-school-level graduates for a 21st century economy.

Graduates will be entering a world that mixes:

  • oversight and autonomy,
  • independence and teamwork, &
  • technology and human connection.

Blended learning prepares students for the “both… and” aspect of our strange new world.

“Blended learning is the optimal solution… for a 21st century economy.”

Next week I look forward to discussing the details of how to implement blended learning in adult education programs. I hope you can join us!

 

Tell Me More

As Promised: Quick (Unofficial) 2017 GED® Test Update

Hi friends! I had a lot of fun last week at The Literacy Cooperative’s training “2017 GED® Test Update” in Independence, Ohio. Teachers shared about their program’s practices, challenges, and had lots of hands-on exploration with free online resources.

As promised, I am making the workshop content available online for those who couldn’t make the session in person!

Check out Quick (Unofficial) 2017 GED Test Update today

Save yourself the time searching and sorting and spend more time exploring! Check out my curated list of the BEST resources that GED® Test Prep instructors NEED TO KNOW for 2017.

For just $5, access my recommendations and descriptions with links. Post in the comments section to network and share ideas. Discuss the landscape of College Ready Plus Credit and WIOA. Strategize to become an advocate for GED® Test prep students and passers in your region.

Join now!

GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license. Any content on this website is not endorsed or approved by these trademark holders.

COMING SOON!

In addition to the planned workshop content, participants also had a lot of questions about the upcoming changes here in Ohio.  The state is taking steps to evaluate adding the HiSET and TASC Tests as options to earn a high school equivalency diploma. While I gave folks in the session a quick overview of the alternatives, this topic deserves its own full workshop.

I have already helped programs in states like Texas, New Jersey, and California navigate the territory of multiple High School Equivalency exams and options. Once we get an announcement from the state of Ohio, I will be providing a FREE live workshop through The Literacy Cooperative. Look for that date and get your questions answered on whichever HSE test option(s) the state decides.

Building Engaging Lessons for GED® Test Prep

Our goal on Tuesday is to leave with lesson plans ready for the classroom! Tuesday morning, we’ll warm up with a little review of some GED Test basics before exploring the GED Assessment Targets. This is the first step in creating a standards-based lesson plan.

Next we’ll talk about increasing engagement and excitement in the classroom. I’ll be facilitating a session that my colleague Steve Qunell developed and presented at COABE last week. It’s pretty fun stuff!

We’ll finish the morning by getting into groups to brainstorm a specific lesson plan. What GED Test Assessment Targets do you plan to teach this week? How will you get students excited about it?

 

Bigger, Better Writing on the GED Test

This afternoon in DC, we’ll divide into two groups, then switch mid-afternoon. Educators will have the chance to get on GED Academy and respond to both an RLA Extended Response and a Science Short Answer item. Directions:

Folks in the classroom will practice using rubrics and samples to improve writing instruction. And hopefully improve scores on the GED Test!

How are your students doing on the writing portion of the GED Test? Let me know in the comments!

Fun Ways to Teach for the GED® Test

Will there be some cherry blossoms left in Washington DC this weekend? It’s my goal to find out…and also to teach 60 adult educators about how to increase outcomes and fun in the classroom!

Monday morning we’ll go deeper into the content of the GED Test itself. We’ll start by taking my Kahoot quiz “Intro to the GED Test.” Participants just have to open kahoot.it on a browser in their mobile phone, then enter the code I’ll display on the screen. I’ve been itching to try this after hearing about it on the LINCS listserv a couple weeks ago.

After the friendly competition, of course leading to enlightening conversation about the GED Test content, we’ll dive into instructional strategies in Teaching Adults: A 2014 GED Test Resource Book. I’ll provide an example, then allow participants to test them out.

How did you do on the Kahoot quiz, or the lesson examples? Let me know in the comments! Subscribe to the blog to get updates on the other workshops I’ll be teaching in DC this week.

COABE Presentations on the Repository!

Well, friends, I haven’t been posting on my blog this week because I wasScreenshot_2016-04-16-20-53-30 plugged in to the COABE app. I even made it to the leaderboard on the COABE App! I usually hovered around #15, but finally captured a screenshot at #18…barely hanging on to my spot in the top 20.

It provides the option to send posts to Twitter, so I recommend following the conference at the hashtag #COABE16, if you aren’t already. There seemed to be some folks on the app but not Twitter, and others posting to Twitter but not the app. Best to just be multi-channel and get a bit of everything!

Equally important as having a social media presence, I avoided producing a ton of copies by posting my presentations to the COABE Adult Education Repository. I am all about saving some trees! Here are the slides.

When Worlds Collide: Blended Learning for 2016

How can you prepare your students and program for computer literacy, critical thinking, and the high school equivalency (HSE) exams all at the same time? Do you feel you could get more value out of your investment in technology and computer-based curricula? Join two blended learning specialists from Essential Education for examples of how adult education programs have successfully used blended learning in their classrooms. We will use algebra lessons as a model to transform existing adult education classes into blended learning. Come to get your questions answered, share your successes, and make technology work for you.

Bigger, Better Writing: Using Rubrics & Samples to Improve Instruction

No matter what you are teaching, we have a writing sample for you! Learn how to use rubrics to help your GED, TASC, HiSET, ABE and ESOL students improve their writing skills and scores. Two members of the Essential Education design team will explain the process we use to develop our proprietary rubrics. Participants will break into small groups to practice using a rubric to grade writing samples. Everyone will leave with useful strategies and free teaching tools. Identify the skills your students need to become excellent writers and meet their educational goals!

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