Emerging Practices with Promise
Submitted By: Cathy Balach, Napa Valley Adult Education Consortium
One-on-one student meetings, E Status Cards aid in data collection
- Type of Practice: Data Collection
- Targeted Population: English Language Learners
- Program Area(s): English as a Second Language & Citizenship
- Consortia Involved:
Napa Valley Adult Education Consortium: Napa Valley UCommunity College District, Napa Valley Unified School District
Current student information plays an important role in the adult education planning process because it gives decision-makers valuable information to use in developing program strategies. The Napa Valley Adult Education Regional Consortium found itself in need of a way to maintain current student employment information and to regularly engage with all students about their participation and progress, which would provide another way to gain student information that could inform program planning while also allowing teachers to identify student needs that may not have otherwise emerged.
Napa Valley Adult Education, a member of the consortium, determined that the best approach would be to have teachers collect the information in the classroom. Teachers needed to document attainable workforce goals information, such as whether the students had secured a job or retained a job and whether they had any wage gains. Keeping this type of information up to date presents a challenge in a migratory community of adult students, with new students enrolling monthly in English as a second language (ESL) classes. Moreover, teachers can only collect this information if processes are in place to protect student privacy and if the school attempts to gather student employment information throughout the year because employment changes can occur at any time – and because some students are reluctant to share their personal information.
To address the challenge, a Napa Valley Adult Education coordinator/ESL teacher designed and implemented a classroom-based system to gather student employment data on a monthly basis. There were two parts to the process: First, students completed a new E Status Card each month that requested personal and employment information, including place of employment, length of time on the job, job title, wage and wage increase. The second part of the new system involved one-on-one student meetings that the teacher held with each student the last week of the month. During the meetings, the teacher and student reviewed the card together, which provided an opportunity for teacher and student to discuss the students’ test results, progress, attendance and readiness to advance to the next level.
After a pilot in fall 2016, the E Status Card was introduced to other ESL teachers at the school for implementation, and teachers now use this information to update records. Thanks to this process, employment information that was not previously gathered began to be collected. As a result, more complete student information was gathered, allowing the consortium to measure the impact of upgraded skills that in turn resulted in job placement, job retention, increase in income, and/or increased work skills.
In addition to current data, teachers feel as though they are getting to know their students better. This private time has helped the teachers create another layer of understanding of students’ lives and their role as teachers to encourage their progress.
Prior to this practice, the consortium did not have employment data for students. Student records in TOPSpro show an increase in data captured from zero to 47 percent for ESL students who reported they either secured a job, kept a job, or secured a better job and an increase from zero to 13.5 percent for those who said they increased wages. Teachers reported an increased amount of connections with their students across the ESL program in general.
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