Getting Ready An Orientation to Adult Education (Insert program name here.) Preface

Learning Styles versus Learning Disabilities

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Learning Styles versus Learning Disabilities


Our preferred modalities are our learning styles. Some adults have impairments in one or more of their learning modalities caused by learning disabilities (LD). Adults with LD can ONLY receive information from their intact learning modalities. Thus, for an adult with LD, his or her learning style is not simply a preference; it is mandatory.
ll of us learn through our senses. We obtain information from a variety of modalities (visual-print, visual-non-print, auditory receptive, auditory expressive, tactile, etc.). Adults with LD MUST receive information in particular ways or they cannot process the information and therefore cannot learn it.
Learning Disabilities (LD) can impact academic performance in listening, speaking, reading, writing, mathematics, etc. Specific LD (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia), is a permanent lifelong condition which interferes with learning and academic performance. Although individuals with LD have average or even above average intelligence, without reasonable accommodations (extra time, spell-checking devices, calculators, readers or scribes, etc.) to level the playing field, these individuals are presented with innumerable barriers.
Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADD/ADHD) are also lifelong conditions that can cause problems in academic performance due to the individual's inattentiveness, restlessness, lack of organization and inability to concentrate and complete assignments. Adults with ADD/ADHD may require frequent breaks and private settings.
Physical Disabilities may also hinder some adult learners in reaching their fullest potential. While some individuals were born with impaired vision, hearing, or mobility, many other adults have acquired physical disabilities as a result of accidents, injuries, or the effects of aging. These disabilities may include systemic conditions such as AIDS, asthma, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, etc; brain impairments due to head injuries, drug abuse, strokes, etc.; or orthopedic problems affecting the bones and joints. Adults with physical disabilities may be dealing with mobility problems, pain, discomfort, fatigue, and effects of medication such as drowsiness, nausea, and memory loss. They may require special attention or equipment in order to succeed.
Psychological or Emotional Disabilities are DSM-IV defined conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, etc. The condition itself or the medication used to treat the condition may create learning problems for the individual involving concentration, restlessness, anxiety, memory loss, frustration, etc.
Mental Impairments or Developmental Disabilities, such as mental retardation, may limit the ability of other individuals to achieve higher academic levels. While these individuals may be unable to attain high school equivalency, many are able to achieve a sufficient level of basic skills to enable them to enter the workforce or go on for specific vocational training. These learners may not qualify for testing accommodations but require classroom and learning modifications such as constant reinforcement and concrete application of their learning in order to progress.
Learning Needs Screening
For some of your learners, such as those with observable physical disabilities, the need for special accommodations may be apparent. Some adults have documentation which identifies their LD and are thus legally entitled to instructional and testing accommodations. Others, however, particularly older learners who may not have had special education services when they attended school, may have undiagnosed learning disabilities. So how do you know if a low-performing learner has a learning disability or is developmentally disabled?
The cost of official diagnosis can be quite expensive. Unless the learner requires an official diagnosis by a qualified professional, such as for GED accommodations, it may not be necessary. Some programs use a screening tool to help them predict need.
A short screening tool called the Learning Needs Screening was developed in the state of Washington to identify welfare recipients in need of further formal assessment, diagnostic evaluation, and other related referrals/resources. This instrument was field-tested and validated for this population and was found to be 72.5% accurate in identifying learners with learning disabilities and those classified as MMR (Mildly Mentally Retarded) or as ‘slow learners.’
The purpose of the tool is solely to identify significant learning difficulties in order to refer clients for diagnostic evaluation, if such evaluation is deemed necessary. The Learning Needs Screening uses a self-report format and is most accurate and effective when administered individually using an oral interview protocol. The tool was developed with federal funding and therefore may be reproduced freely. A copy is contained in Appendix E.
The Learning Needs Screening is not a diagnostic tool, but a predictor of need. It does NOT diagnose a learning disability, does NOT identify learners' strengths or weaknesses, and does NOT assist in determining classroom or workplace modifications; it only determines the need for referral for formal assessment.
Remember, instructors are not professional diagnosticians. Many times we can recognize symptoms that may indicate LD, but it is not our role to label learners. Whether or not a learner has a diagnosis, instructors may begin to address the needs of learners using some of the information and ideas listed below.

Classroom and Testing Accommodations for Students with Documented Disabilities
Students who present documentation of their disabilities have a right under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to request reasonable accommodations.

Depending on the type of disability, the accommodations may include (but are not limited to):

  • extended time for learning and testing

  • private settings free of interruptions and distractions for learning and testing

  • frequent breaks or change of activity

  • calculators

  • spell checkers

  • word processors

  • audiotapes of presentations, texts, and tests

  • enlarged print

  • Braille texts

  • readers

  • note-takers or scribes for learning and testing

  • sign language interpreters

  • assistive listening devices (ALD)

  • furniture or room modifications to accommodate wheelchairs, etc.

GED Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Many adult learners state that getting a General Education Development (GED) is their primary reason for entering adult education programs. However, some adults who seem intelligent and study diligently may still fail in test-taking situations. Some individuals simply cannot perform under standard test-taking conditions (hours of sitting still to take a series of tests, a room full of people, a clock ticking off the time, a test which must be read silently). These adults may know the information perfectly well and yet be unable to demonstrate what they know because learning disabilities or attention disorders interfere with their performance under certain conditions.
The GED Testing Service (GEDTS) has made it possible for individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD, as well as physical or psychological disabilities to take the GED test with specific accommodations at no additional charge.
If you are working with a learner that you believe may have a learning disability, it is important to access as much information about the individual as possible, while maintaining strict confidentiality. If the student has a record of special education, he or she may have been diagnosed as a child. Another individual may have been through psychological testing for some other reason. These records may be accessed and used to document the condition.
In addition, it is important that instructors who work with the student provide information about the types of classroom accommodations that have been used successfully with the individual (extra time, frequent breaks, a quiet area for study, successful use of A/V materials in teaching, dramatic differences when using a calculator versus none, etc.)
Some students with physical disabilities (vision, hearing, physical, or emotional impairments) may also be able to access certain accommodations. Additional information on the process for obtaining GED testing accommodations can be obtained from the State GED Office. Contact Ben Williams at (517) 373-1692.
Investigative Assignment #6:

Find out if there is a particular procedure in your program for serving adults with special learning needs. There may be a referral form to complete, a screening instrument you can use, or various accommodations and assistive devices that you can access for your class. Write your responses on the activity sheet.

Planning and Delivering Instruction
The most important role of an adult education instructor is planning and delivering instruction that keeps adult learners engaged, motivated, and working toward their educational goals. You may be teaching in classrooms with learners functioning at many different levels, or you may be helping non-English proficient learners improve their speaking and language skills. Whatever your teaching assignment involves, there are strategies and techniques that will help you create a learner-centered classroom.
Teaching Styles
Reflect back on some of your favorite instructors. What did they do that made learning so effective? How did you feel when you attended those classes?
Did your favorite instructors display any of these characteristics?

Learners fully understand what is expected of them.

Objectives are clearly stated.

Instruction is based on learner needs and wants.

Learners are given the opportunity to practice.

Learners are given immediate feedback.

Learners are treated with respect.

Learners are the most important people in the classroom.

Learners are valued.

Effective Communication
In addition to these characteristics, learning how to communicate effectively with your students is a critical skill for all adult education instructors.

The Teaching/Learning Cycle
Now that you’ve learned about effective teaching characteristics and communication skills, let’s take a look at the instructional process within your classroom. The graphic below represents the major components within the teaching and learning cycle. In this lesson, we’ll examine each of these.

Needs Assessment
When a new learner enters your classroom, the information you have on that learner may vary depending on your program’s orientation and intake process. You will probably have pre-test results but you need additional information to plan an effective program of study.
The more background information you have, the better prepared you will be to develop a program of study that meets the unique needs of each learner. A thorough needs assessment process in which you assess the needs, interests, strengths, learning styles, and goals of your learners is an important pre-requisite to learner-centered instruction.
If your program’s intake process does not provide all of this information, you will want to fill in the gaps.
Self-Assessments: You may want to begin with a learner self-assessment. Self-assessments allow the learners to focus on their interests, strengths, needs, and goals. A sample self-assessment is included in Appendix C.
Learning Styles: In addition to self-assessments, learning style inventories can also provide valuable information about your learners’ needs and preferences.
Special Learning Needs: Screening for special learning needs can assist you in determining teaching modifications that might better assist the adult learner.
Adult Learning Plan
Once you have completed the needs assessment process, you are ready to meet with the

learner to develop an individual adult learning plan (ALP). The ALP is a road map to help the

learner reach his/her educational goals during the learning process. It reflects the immediate

strategies, steps, and activities the learner will use to reach his/her goals.
In creating an ALP, you and the learner:

  • Discuss the importance of the ALP process (i.e., planning, implementation, and monitoring progress/level advancement),

  • Discuss the roles of the instructor and learner in the ALP process,

  • Designate the time frame in which to review goal progress and achievement, and

  • Record other information, using assessment results.

The ALP should be maintained in the learner folder. Because the design of the ALP is a local program decision, the information on the form may vary from program to program. Be sure to check with your program director to see if a specific form is used.

A sample ALP is contained in Appendix F.

Lesson Planning
When preparing lessons in the adult education class, a good model comes from D. Hemphill, "Making Sense to Teachers about Teaching," Adult Learning, May, 1990. The lesson planning worksheet that follows can help you to think through your lesson planning process.



  1. • Opener

  2. • Focus learners

  3. • Connect to past learning

  4. • Connect to past experience


  1. • New knowledge presented

  2. • Many options in strategy or method



  1. • Structured activities

  2. • "Basic skills" or "pieces" of more complex skills, may be practiced

  3. • Skills are clustered into increasingly larger "chunks"



  1. • Application task approximates real-life performance demands

  2. • Maximize possibility of life transfer of skills learned

Lesson Planning Worksheet

Life Skill Competency:

Basic Skills Needed:

Materials Needed:

Specialized Vocabulary:




  1. • Identify competency/ IGO.

  2. • Tie in to prior and future learning.

  3. • Connect to current interests of the learner.


  1. • Select method of presentation.

  2. • Select materials, equipment, and technology.

Guided Practice

  1. • Select method for guided practice.

  2. • Select materials, equipment, and technology.


  1. • Select method for evaluation.

  2. • Select materials, equipment, and technology.

Methods of Instruction
A balanced mix of instructional methods is important in managing the adult education classroom. Each learner has preferences regarding how he or she learns best (working with a large group, small group, alone, with a tutor, etc.). Learning style inventories and questionnaires may help to determine these preferences that should be taken into consideration when organizing activities in your classroom.
The physical environment of the classroom may be better suited to some instructional methods than to others. For example, a small room with individual desks may lend itself better to large group or individualized instruction (although sometimes desks may be arranged to accommodate small group work). On the other hand, a large room with tables and chairs may offer the opportunity for large group, small group, or individual instruction all to happen at one time or another.
In addition, the intake structure of a program may establish what instructional methods are used. For example, in a short term, special topic class, it is probably not appropriate to have everyone doing individualized instruction. Also, in classes where only one instructor is available, one-to-one/tutorial instruction may not be an option unless a volunteer helps out.
Regardless of which methods of delivery or classroom management are chosen, instruction should always be centered on specific objectives and competencies selected by the individual or group. Assessment of learners’ progress is also vital. At the completion of any type of learning activity, individual learners must demonstrate and document their skills and accomplishments.
Some of the methods of instruction commonly used in adult education include the following:

  1. • Large Group Instruction

  2. • Small Group Instruction

  3. • Cooperative Learning

  4. • Project-based Instruction

  5. • Computer-assisted Instruction

  6. • One-on-One Tutorial Instruction

  7. Individualized Instruction

  8. • Field Trips

  9. • Guest Speakers

  10. • Experiments

These methods are explained on the following pages.

Large Group Instruction
The instructor plans and directs activities to meet the needs of a large group or sometimes the whole class. A majority of learners participate but some may choose individualized study instead.

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 They foster a sense of community in the classroom by starting everyone off together.

  2. 􀂃 They provide instruction or assistance in a particular subject area required by the majority of learners.

  3. 􀂃 The physical environment is conducive to participation by the entire group.

  4. 􀂃 Lesson content is at an appropriate level for all the learners included in the group.

  5. 􀂃 The instructor varies the delivery of content and the assignments to include visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic input and output alternatives.

  6. 􀂃 Small group and personalized instruction are available alternatives for some learners.

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Establish group rapport.

  2. 􀂃 Provide a multi-sensory presentation of information.

  3. 􀂃 Provide guided practice.

  4. 􀂃 Provide independent practice.

  5. 􀂃 Offer a variety of multi-sensory assignments.

  6. 􀂃 Set evaluation criteria.

  7. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of large group activities.

  8. 􀂃 Provide follow-up activities as needed.

Content areas that are addressed well:

  1. 􀂃 Anything appropriate to all levels

  2. 􀂃 Job Readiness

  3. 􀂃 Health Topics

  4. 􀂃 Parenting Skills

  5. 􀂃 Topics in affective and cognitive domains

  6. 􀂃 Life Skills

  7. 􀂃 Work Process Skills

How technology is used:

  1. 􀂃 Technology can be worked into any lesson or can be the basis for any lesson.

  2. 􀂃 Video or audiotapes can be used to deliver information.

  3. 􀂃 In a computer lab situation, all learners in the group may be using the same software program and the instructor may use an LCD panel to demonstrate how to use the program.

  4. 􀂃 Educational software programs on computers may be used to drill and practice new skills in the large group setting.

Small Group Instruction
Material is presented to a small number of learners (probably no more than 10) that are either on a similar learning level or are participating with a specific purpose in mind.

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 The instructor needs to teach specific skills to part of the larger group.

  2. 􀂃 Several learners are interested in the same subject but others are not.

  3. 􀂃 Certain learners need more opportunities to participate in a group but are intimidated by a large group setting.

  4. 􀂃 Certain learners prefer to work in a group versus individually.

  5. 􀂃 The instructor wants to build peer relationships among the learners.

  6. 􀂃 Successful learners are given opportunities to model strong skills or good study habits to learners who have weaker skills/habits.

The classroom has a limited number of instructional materials on a particular subject.

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Set purposes and expectations in establishing the group.

  2. 􀂃 Limit the amount of time the group will work together (4, 6, 8 weeks).

  3. 􀂃 Provide a multi-sensory presentation of information.

  4. 􀂃 Provide guided practice.

  5. 􀂃 Provide independent practice.

  6. 􀂃 Offer a variety of multi-sensory assignments.

  7. 􀂃 Set evaluation criteria.

  8. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of small group learning activities.

Content areas that are addressed:

  1. 􀂃 Science

  2. 􀂃 Reasoning

  3. 􀂃 Team-building

  4. 􀂃 Study Skills and Test-taking Skills

  5. 􀂃 Social Studies

  6. 􀂃 Chart, Graph, and Map-reading Skills

  7. 􀂃 Math Facts

  8. 􀂃 Essay-writing

  9. 􀂃 Low-level Reading/Phonics

  10. 􀂃 Pre-vocational preparation

How technology is used:

  1. 􀂃 The Internet can be used as a resource

  2. 􀂃 Videos can be shown

Cooperative Learning
Learners of all abilities and backgrounds work together towards a common goal. Each group or team member is responsible for a part of the learning process and offers feedback, support, and reinforcement to others. Often group members are assigned specific roles (i.e. worrier, encourager, time keeper, recorder, reporter, facilitator, etc.). A variety of grouping strategies and techniques are employed (i.e. round table, corners, color-coded co-op cards, simulation, jigsaw, co-op/co-op, pairs check, cubing, numbered heads together, etc.).

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 Group work/teamwork skills are perceived as important job skills for the work place.

  2. 􀂃 Cooperative behavior is promoted in the classroom.

  3. 􀂃 Classroom activities and lesson content are structured so learners see each other as resources; students are willing to learn from peers as well as from the instructor.

  4. 􀂃 Group members are active in sharing ideas and practicing skills.

  5. 􀂃 Learners feel comfortable with one another.

  6. 􀂃 Independent learners are allowed to work alone at times.

  7. 􀂃 Learners are functioning at different academic levels

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Teach skills for group/team learning.

  2. 􀂃 Describe a clear and specific learning task.

  3. 􀂃 Choose a grouping strategy and group size.

  4. 􀂃 Select group members so that learner abilities are mixed, which will allow them to help each other.

  5. 􀂃 Discuss and practice roles.

  6. 􀂃 Engineer groups; assign team roles.

  7. 􀂃 Set time limits and goals.

  8. 􀂃 Facilitate the teams by providing materials and assistance as needed.

  9. 􀂃 Monitor the teams.

  10. 􀂃 Have teams report back and analyze their process.

  11. 􀂃 Transfer these cooperative skills into life-skills/problem solving.

  12. 􀂃 Establish evaluation criteria.

  13. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of cooperative learning activities.

Content areas:

  1. 􀂃 Current events

  2. 􀂃 Writing

  3. 􀂃 Research Skills

  4. 􀂃 Life Skills

  5. 􀂃 Work Process Skills

Project-based Instruction
Learners explore a chosen theme as part of a mini-class, longer unit or year-long class emphasis. Researching the theme and preparing to present the information involves a range of skills across the curriculum.

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 The entire group focuses on a theme that is later developed at various levels with varying tasks depending on the learners' abilities.

  2. 􀂃 Everyone is included in the completion of a finished product but each learner is allowed to select a task based on his or her ability and interest.

  3. 􀂃 Learners are allowed to contribute to projects using their strengths and improving on their weaker areas.

  4. 􀂃 Learners actively initiate, facilitate, evaluate, and produce a project that has meaning to them.

  5. 􀂃 A context for new learning and cross-curricular integration is provided.

  6. 􀂃 The instructor facilitates and coaches rather than creating and directing the activities.

  7. 􀂃 The classroom environment is comfortable, risk-free, and promotes learner discussion without fear of criticism.

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Select a theme as a group.

  2. 􀂃 Narrow the theme to a manageable length.

  3. 􀂃 Design a project as a group.

  4. 􀂃 Clarify objectives and desired outcomes of the project.

  5. 􀂃 Research the theme as a group.

  6. 􀂃 Decide within the group who will do what to gather information and present the results.

  7. 􀂃 Create a product or program to share

  8. 􀂃 Reflect on the process and evaluate the project.

  9. 􀂃 Set evaluation criteria.

  10. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of project-based instruction.

Content areas:

  1. 􀂃 Everything–cross-curricular.

How technology is used:

  1. 􀂃 Educational videos, computerized encyclopedia, and Internet are constant resources.

  2. 􀂃 Technology can offer a method of collecting information (video or audiotape live interviews and speakers or broadcast radio or television programs.

  3. 􀂃 Technology can offer a method of presentation (PowerPoint, video production, etc.)

  4. 􀂃 Technology can assist in creation of a final product (word processing).

Computer-assisted Instruction
The learner receives instruction and practice by means of the computer that is used as a tool in teaching basic skills or knowledge. Educational software programs are either the major source of instruction or are used to reinforce materials presented using a more traditional method.

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 The learner sees computer literacy as necessary to function in today’s world.

  2. 􀂃 The learner likes privacy and prefers to control the content and pace of learning.

  3. 􀂃 The learner needs feedback that demonstrates success and boosts self-esteem.

  4. 􀂃 A significant amount of drill and practice on a particular skill is needed to reinforce what has been taught.

  5. 􀂃 Flexibility in the length and scheduling of study time is necessary

  6. 􀂃 Learners require multi-media input and practice in order to learn.

  7. 􀂃 Computers are not utilized as the sole means of instruction.

  8. 􀂃 An instructor is readily available when things go wrong.

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Introduce basics about the computer (turning on/off, going to programs, putting in/taking out disks and CDs, etc.).

  2. 􀂃 Introduce the specific software program(s) a learner will use (getting in/exiting the program, saving material/place, moving around within the program, etc.).

  3. 􀂃 Introduce basic computer keyboarding (enter, backspace, delete, arrow keys, mouse, etc.).

  4. 􀂃 Present new skills in a non-threatening manner: explain, show, have the learner do it, have the instructor keep hands off.

  5. 􀂃 Establish the objectives of educational activities using the computer.

  6. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of computer-assisted Instruction.

Content areas:

  1. 􀂃 All academic areas – if you have the appropriate software, you can do anything.

  2. 􀂃 The Internet as an information source, research tool, and teaching tool (many sites allow interactive learning).

  3. 􀂃 Writing Skills – process writing.

How technology is used:

  1. 􀂃 Educational videos and software programs can introduce basics of computers/Internet.

  2. 􀂃 In a lab situation, computer/Internet basics or a software program can be demonstrated using an LCD panel to project onto a large screen.

  3. 􀂃 Multi-medial presentations can be created by learners to demonstrate their knowledge

  4. 􀂃 Headphones should be utilized for software programs with sound (to avoid distractions).

  5. 􀂃 Spell checker, grammar checker, and encyclopedia as resource tools for other programs.

One-on-One/Tutorial Instruction
The instructor or a tutor works with one learner at a time, usually in a subject area in which a particular learner needs intensive individual instruction.

Appropriate when:

  1. 􀂃 Individual’s skill levels are too low for the learner to work without assistance

  2. 􀂃 Individual’s strong personal preference for this type of instruction is shown in the learning style inventory

  3. 􀂃 Only one individual needs to study a particular subject and requires substantial assistance

  4. 􀂃 It does not impede the progress of the rest of the class or interfere with the overall function of a learning center

  5. 􀂃 There is a least one instructor available to the rest of the group (a volunteer or speaker may work with the rest of the group or a tutor may do the one-on-one instruction)

  6. 􀂃 An individual learner is not singled out in a negative way.

  7. 􀂃 Math and Language Arts skills are at higher levels.

Key steps:

  1. 􀂃 Evaluate the learner’s skill level and learning style.

  2. 􀂃 Schedule appropriate times.

  3. 􀂃 Limit the amount of one-on-one time so that it does not dominate total time available for instruction.

  4. 􀂃 Plan for instruction.

  5. 􀂃 Identify the specific subject matter/ objectives to be covered in that session.

  6. 􀂃 Set evaluation criteria.

  7. 􀂃 Assess learner progress and demonstrate learner gains that are a result of learning activities.

Content area:

  1. 􀂃 Literacy, Math, ESL, and Grammar

  2. 􀂃 Almost all academic areas at a low level.

How technology is used:

  1. 􀂃 Reinforce concepts when more drill and practice is necessary for mastery.

Selection of Materials
Perhaps one of the most difficult and confusing tasks for adult education instructors is the task of applying assessment results to the instructional needs of the student. Once the assessment results are used to identify the competencies the learner needs to master for goal attainment, the process of planning instruction begins. Choosing appropriate instructional strategies that are relevant, challenging and student-centered is an important step to student success. The instructional possibilities available to ensure mastery of competencies are numerous. In some instances, written materials, audiovisuals, and computer software are a necessary part of the instructional approach that is chosen.
Upon entry into a program level, the appropriate assessment is used to measure a learner’s initial level of functioning and knowledge of specified skill areas. Choosing materials to aid in the instructional process for skill mastery should be based upon the assessment results and the skills the student needs to reach his/her goals.
Regardless of the instructional approach taken to assist the learner in mastering skills, it is important to keep in mind the student’s learning style. If a learning activity requires the selection of materials, the format is important to consider. Sometimes the format of the materials or the manner in which information is presented is more appropriate for one type of learning style versus another. For example, one individual may be quite successful in reading and answering questions independently. Another individual may require interaction with a group or instructor, an audiovisual presentation of the material or computer-assisted instruction in order to have optimum success in learning. As much as possible, an instructor should offer alternatives whenever they are available.
We are fortunate that there are now so many excellent materials: printed texts, audio cassettes, video, and computer programs for the varied ability levels and interests of adults, but choosing from this wide array can be confusing for new instructors.
The CASAS Curriculum Materials Guide (available for purchase from the CASAS catalog) offers a list of competency-based materials which are available for adult programs. The materials listed in The Curriculum Materials Guide are reviewed and evaluated by a committee of evaluators (ABE practitioners) before inclusion. The computer version, The Instructional Materials Quick Search, provides the instructor with easy access to materials.
Investigative Assignment #7:

What type of teaching materials do you have available? Visit your class site and spend some time reviewing the books, software, and other teaching resources that you will be using. Ask fellow instructors for recommendations on teaching materials that they like best. Make a list of some of the teaching materials that seemed particularly relevant to you. Write your responses on the activity sheet.

The GED Test
The GED Test, developed by the American Council on Education, is a standardized test designed to measure the major and lasting outcomes of a traditional high school education. Examinees must demonstrate skill in five core subject areas: language arts, reading and writing, social studies, science, and mathematics.
The GED Test is a 7½-hour exam. The passing standards for the test are set so that only about 60 percent of seniors graduating each year would be able to pass it. Few GED candidates are ready to take and pass the test without study. Testing questions are presented in multiple choice, essay, and math grid formats. Ninety-seven percent of colleges and universities accept the GED diploma as equivalent to a traditional high school credential. More than 1 in 20 first-year college students in the U.S. are GED graduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
How long it takes to get a GED

Factors affecting the length of preparation time include:

• Length of time the individual may have been out of school

• Level of reading ability

• Level of academic skills

• Level of I.Q.

• Presence of learning disabilities
It may take some individuals months or even years to be ready to test. The testing site usually returns the results to candidates by mail within six to eight weeks after testing.
You can access additional information about the GED at this website:

Investigative Assignment #8:

What are the GED eligibility criteria in your program? Where and when is testing conducted? What is your role in the GED testing process? Ask your program director/coordinator or local GED examiner and find out the GED policies and procedures for your program. Write your responses on the activity sheet in Appendix A.

ABE Adult Basic Education

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act

AEFLA Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (federal)

ALRC Adult Learning Resource Center

BEST Basic English Skills Test

CASAS Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System

CBO Community Based Organization

CELSA Combined English Language Skills Assessment

CEO Chief Executive Officer or Chief Elected Official

CFDA Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

CFO Chief Financial Officer

DOE Department of Education

EDGAR Education Department General Administrative Regulations

EFL Educational Functioning Level

EL English Literacy

ESL English as a Second Language

ESOL English Speakers of Other Languages

ETS Educational Testing Service

GED General Educational Development

K-12 Kindergarten through twelfth grade

LEA Local Educational Agency

LWIB Local Workforce Investment Board

NRS National Reporting System

OERI Office of Educational Research and Improvement (federal)

OMB Office of Management and Budget (federal)

OVAE Office of Vocational and Adult Education (federal)

WIA Workforce Investment Act
A Comparison of Assumptions and Processes


Pedagogy and Andragogy


Malcolm S. Knowles Boston University






Increasing Self-Directedness


Of little worth

Learners are a Rich Resource for Learning


Biological Development

Social Pressure

Developmental Tasks of Social Roles

Time Perspective

Postponed Application

Immediacy of Application

Orientation to Learning

Subject Centered

Problem Centered

Process Elements












By Instructor

Mechanisms for Mutual Planning

Diagnosis of Needs

By Instructor

Mutual Self-Diagnosis

Formulation of Objectives

By Instructor

Mutual Negotiation


Logic of the Subject Matter

Content Units

Sequenced in Terms of Readiness

Problem Units


Transmittal Techniques

Experiential Techniques (Inquiry)


By Instructor

Mutual Re-diagnosis of Needs

Mutual measurement of Program

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