June 2, 2008
Digest No. 3


Online discussion on implementing state adult ed standards

Beginning on Monday, June 9th, the National Institute for Literacy Special Topics email list will be hosting a discussion on the implementation of state adult education content standards. Subscribe to the discussion online. You can unsubscribe later by going to the same Web page, or you can stay subscribed for the next discussion.

GED Connection videos now online

The 39 videos that are part of the GED Connection series are now available online for adult education programs in California. If you did not receive an email invitation and would like an account, contact OTAN at support@otan.us or 800-894-3113.

CBET regulations

The State Board of Education recently approved CBET regulations and eliminated the language that would have required fingerprinting of all CBET students. Read more.


TV captioning may offer literacy lessons

Literacy lessons may be just a click away for adult learners now that a wide variety of primetime TV programs offer captioning.  Evidence suggests that adult students, especially English language learners, can improve their literacy skills by reading written captions while watching favorite shows. (from OVAE Thursday Notes, 5/8/08)

Hispanics comprise 44 percent of adult education students

Data for the most recent program year show that nationally Hispanics account for 44 percent of learners in adult education programs.  Hispanics increased as a percentage of total adult education students over the last five years, with the top three Hispanic enrollments last year at 395,032 students in California, in 133,760 students in Florida, and students 78,332 in Texas. (from OVAE Thursday Notes, 5/22/08)

Getting the most from TOPSpro reports

CASAS TOPSpro (Tracking of Programs and Students) software program helps track student assessment and learner results. Its 180+ reports offer many levels of customization. This booklet [PDF] highlights specific TOPSpro reports that help agencies:

  1. Clean up student data and better understand student learning gains.
  2. Identify the reports most helpful to administrators, teachers, and clerical staff.

Agencies find the booklet a useful tool for reviewing and interpreting these reports.
Download a PDF copy of Getting the Most from Your TOPSpro Report .
Learn more about TOPSpro software.

VoiceThread for the classroom

OTAN’s Web-based classroom activity for May is about VoiceThread, an online tool for posting and collaborating on a variety of projects. Read more.

Professional Development

New handbook available soon for Adult ESL teachers

This new CASAS tool for teachers — an interactive guide for use at staff trainings and at the beginning of the year, or when adding new teachers to staff during the year — will be available in draft form at the CASAS National Summer Institute. The Teacher’s Handbook explains testing and data collection requirements with clear, comprehensive examples of CASAS documents presented from a teacher’s perspective. Throughout the handbook, general information is followed by questions that lead to agency-specific answers — giving teachers a customized handbook! For more information, contact casas@casas.org or call 800.255.1036.

CASAS eTest workshops...

…are scheduled during the CASAS National Summer Institute. Led by experienced users, one hands-on laboratory session will guide agencies just getting underway in fine-tuning their implementations. A second lab session will explore advanced features with more seasoned users.  Both groups can exchange ideas at the inaugural CASAS eTests User Group meeting, while those eager to learn about this new test delivery and scoring tool can attend a basic introductory session.

CALPRO Summer 2008 online courses

Registration is now open for two free, online professional development courses.  The classes are "Managing the ESL Multilevel Class" and "Designing Programs for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Session 1: Awareness for Adult Educators."   For registration and additional information, visit the CALPRO online campus Web page.

OTAN Online Workshops
are easy and convenient. Coming up…

OTAN Services for Teachers — June 4
Linda Swanson will focus on the teaching resources available on the OTAN Web site. Topics include effective strategies for browsing and searching the OTAN Web site, and using the site as a gateway to the best adult education sites for your program.

Google Goodies — June 13
Melinda Holt will demonstrate why Google is a search engine and so much more. There are a wide variety of services offered by Google that are free and ready to use – all you need to know is where they are and how to use them.

Blogging in the Classroom, June 13, Online Workshop
Barry Bakin will show you how blogging can be an easy way to provide your students with both traditional and Internet-based assignments that they can access in class, the lab, or from home. This workshop will guide you through the steps of creating your own free blog that you can use with your class, and your first blog post.

Many more workshops are listed on the professional development calendar.

Online course on teaching EL Civics

The Adult Literacy Resource Center in Massachusetts had created an online course for ESL teachers to familiarize them with EL Civics objectives. The course is free.

Did you know…

Survey results

… more than 1,700 adult education teachers and administrators responded to 2008 statewide professional development needs assessment?  Here is a PDF version of the executive summary of the results. The survey was administered by CALPRO.

Directory of postsecondary options

…the CALPRO Web site offers California adult educators a directory of postsecondary options?
The directory is a "snapshot" of postsecondary programs listed online from 2006-2007, on Web sites of public universities in the California State University and University of California systems as well as several national online professional development organizations. The directory reveals a broad range of options in professional development.  After viewing the directory, adult educators should contact the postsecondary institution directly for current and future offerings. For details, visit

Lesson Plan Builder

…the Lesson Plan Builder makes it easier for teachers to develop quality lesson plans that address adult education content standards in the context of CASAS and SCANS competencies?

Free family literacy materials

Washington Learning Systems offers free resources for parents that are appropriate for Parent Education and CBET classes. A new addition is "On the Go," [http://www.walearning.com/Otg.html] a series of 14 activities to do with children while riding in the car, one the bus, walking in the neighborhood, etc. They were produced through a grant from the Department of Education, and are appropriate for children through preschool.

These items are for information only. CASAS, OTAN and CALPRO items are supported by CDE.