Saturday, October 4, 2008

Raising Academic Achievement Scores

Because the Literacy Action Center receives a small portion of federal Adult Basic Education funding through the Utah State Office of Education, we must help our enrollees (adult learners) raise their scores on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). The TABE contains three parts: reading, (written) language, math (computation and application). In all three areas, reading skills are the foundation for all the activities in each area.

Our instruction incorporates decoding (phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, & word analysis); vocabulary; comprehension; and fluency skills. While the English-speaking, low-literate adults that we specialize in educating show gains in reading everyday materials, writing brief notes, and making change at the grocery story, they still struggle to show gains on the TABE.

Therefore, as the only literacy organization in Salt Lake County and Davis County, we continually strive to search for methods, materials, and answers that will best help our enrollees. Three of the questions that we have been pursuing with the help of Reading Horizons' software and instructional program are:

Question 1: Under what conditions can we infuse a visible coding structure into our curriculum that puts learners in charge of accurately analyzing and synthesizing unfamiliar words?

Questions 2: How will learning a visible coding system for decoding and pronouncing (encoding) words move our adult learners from ABE 1 to ABE 2?

Question 3: How long will it take for this transformation to be evident in the TABE results?

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