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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Bill Bettencourt, Sierra Joint Consortia

Alignment of Courses and Seamless Transition

  • Type of Practice: Alignment of Programs
  • Targeted Population: English Language Learners
  • Program Area(s): English as a Second Language & Citizenship
  • Consortia Involved:
    Sierra Joint Consortium: Nevada Joint Union High School District, Placer Union High School District, Roseville Joint Union High School District, Sierra Join Community College District, Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District

The Challenge

The Sierra Consortium covers a large geographic area that includes cities and rural areas. There was no consistency among Adult Education schools concerning student-learning outcomes in ESL courses at any of the levels. Sierra College is creating an integrated non credit ESL course, but orienting adult education ESL outcomes to community college expectations for incoming students would ignore that many ESL students do not initially plan to attend college. Instead they are interested in improving language skills for daily tasks and job advancement. Additionally, the college reported that students who had successfully completed the adult education ESL program did not have the familiarity with academic language or study skills necessary to succeed. Finally there is a recognition that some areas in the consortium are underserved having no formal adult education programs.

The Solution

ESL instructors from the Adult Ed schools met with a consultant over the summer of 2015, and compared the student learning outcomes from the already existing ESL Sierra college lowest level course; adult education instructors modified those outcomes for each level of instruction across the consortium, and identified the level where articulation to community college should take place. The group then created an asset map to be given to each ESL instructor indicating where students can attend a variety of ESL courses not restricted to a particular school district. A resourced team consisting of one lead instructor from each adult education school, the community college and a consultant was formed and tasked with the following: (i) create a bridge course that will introduce students to academic language and study skills to be taught on the college campus using adult education instructors, (ii) create a common assessment for the highest level adult education ESL courses before sendin


The first benefit is that adult education faculty became excited to share ideas, curriculum and methodologies with each other. We wrote outcomes and objectives for 5 levels of ESL instruction. Sierra College saw the advantage of having students who are better prepared and ready for introduction to college level work. Having shared outcomes and objectives for all levels, along with the asset map allows students to move more easily among classes across the consortium that might better meet their needs. The bridge course moves students to a college environment while keeping familiar teachers, thus providing a smooth transition from adult education to the community college.

The Data

The project is still in process, but we are excited about the progress we have made, and anticipate excellent results.

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