Module 2 - Orientation and Assessment
There are no sure-fire techniques for ensuring that students will attend class regularly, continue their studies, and experience success in an adult literacy program. Research indicates that approximately 45 percent of adult literacy learners drop out in the first six weeks of the program and that 50-70 percent of adults entering literacy programs drop out before they reach their goals.¹ While the overall quality of the program influences attendance and retention rates, orientation is a key component in creating a positive learning environment, establishing clear expectations, and planning effective instruction. The initial meeting and first few sessions in an adult program set the stage for adult learners’ success and persistence in achieving their goals.²
Like any new experience, beginning an adult literacy program is a change and is thus charged with emotions, questions, and concerns. Some adult learners have not had positive experiences in previous educational settings and are apprehensive that they will fail again. For many adult learners, it takes a lot of courage just to walk through the door.
Consider a “first day” experience you’ve had that stands out in your memory – in high school, college, or on the job.
- What were your feelings before the “big day?” Were you excited? Apprehensive?
- What were your concerns? About the work, the people, the expectations?
- What things helped you to feel comfortable and confident in this new setting?
On your worksheet, make some notes about your “first day” experience.
Then state why you think information on students’ feelings and concerns and the techniques to make them feel more comfortable are important to adult education instructors?
Some adult learners entering adult literacy classes may be speakers whose native language is not English. For assistance in adjusting orientation to support these non-native English speakers, please consult the following resources:
- Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA)
- Community Partnerships for Adult Learning (C-PAL) - English Literacy Toolbox
If, however, their English skills aren't strong enough for them to benefit from your class, it is likely best to refer them to adult English Language classes.
Click "Next" below or a specific topic on the outline to the left to continue.
1 Comings, J. P., Parella, A., & Soricone, L. (1999). Persistence Among Adult Basic Education Students in Pre-GED Classes (NCSALL Reports #12). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved July 9, 2006, from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/report12.pdf
Young, Fleishman, Fitzgerald, & Morgan, 1995, National Evaluation of Adult Education Programs: Executive Summary, VA:Development Associates.
2 Comings, J. P., Parella, A., & Soricone, L. (1999). Persistence Among Adult Basic Education Students in Pre-GED Classes (NCSALL Reports #12). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved July 9, 2006, from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/report12.pdf
Quigley, 1995 - ERIC - ED389880 Sandra Kerka, Adult Learner Retention Revisited, ERIC Digest No. 166.