Fact sheet

The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has released a set of state-level fact sheets examining key characteristics of adult native- and foreign-born populations and the relevance of these characteristics to implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Policies guiding WIOA’s implementation will have a significant impact on the ability of immigrants and refugees to access and benefit from our country’s adult education and workforce training programs. These fact sheets are intended to serve as a roadmap to identify key concerns at stake in the law’s implementation, and a source of objective data to assist policymakers and community stakeholders in ensuring equitable implementation of the law.

Fact sheets in the series—now covering the 20 states with the largest numbers of immigrant and refugee residents—can be accessed at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/immigrants-and-wioa-services-comparison-sociodemographic-characteristics-native-and-foreign External link opens in new window or tab

Source: CDE Adult Education Office e-mail to the field

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Low-income students score significantly below national averages on meeting college readiness benchmarks, according to ACT’s recent report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015: Students from Low-Income Families External link opens in new window or tab. Equally disturbing is the fact that this pattern of underachievement is persistent. For the sixth consecutive year, low-income students performed well below the national averages.

This report considers the academic preparation and postsecondary aspirations of ACT-taking 2015 high school graduates with reported family earnings of less than $36,000 as compared with all ACT test takers. About 25 percent of the 1.9 million ACT-tested high school graduates fell into the low-income category. In general, the study found that most ACT test takers are not ready for success in college, but low-income students display far less readiness. These academic gaps between low-income students and more affluent students emerge early in life and persist, and they have major consequences for future college readiness. ACT research found that “the level of academic achievement that students attain by 8th grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school.” Wise choices about schooling, however, can help mitigate the socioeconomic backgrounds of students. Low-income students who take a core high school curriculum are more likely to be college-ready than those low-income students who take less-challenging curricula. “Taking the right high school courses is a decision that has profound consequences, yet we aren’t seeing enough low-income students enroll” in these demanding courses, the report found. Additionally, students, notwithstanding the incomes of their families, show more persistence in college if they have demonstrated higher degrees of academic discipline, commitment to college, and social connections. Even though the relationship between college success and noncognitive skills needs to be better understood, there is evidence that there “are core noncognitive skills that are strongly correlated with college success.” These skills need to be “developed and nurtured over time.”

The report also found that

  • Half of the students from low-income families did not meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks—a much higher percentage than the 31 percent of all ACT test takers who met no benchmarks;
  • 20 percent of poorer students succeeded in meeting three or four ACT benchmarks, whereas 40 percent of all ACT test takers achieved three or four benchmarks. Over the past five years, neither the poorer students nor ACT test takers as a whole have increased their percentages reaching this standard; and
  • The rich/poor divide is correlated with large differences in college readiness. The proportion of students reaching each of the four ACT benchmarks—English, reading, mathematics, and science— was between 38 and 43 percentage points lower for students from low-income families than for students from families with annual incomes of $100,000 or more.

The report concludes with a “call to action” for the development of policies and practices that provide a “tightly integrated approach to addressing postsecondary access, readiness, and success that spans the entire education continuum.”

Source: OCTAE Connection External link opens in new window or tab, Issue 246, March 11, 2016

In the March 16, 2016 article External link opens in new window or tab, Meriwynn Mansori, Manager of Curriculum at VIF International Education, states that research shows External link opens in new window or tab that parental engagement pays off for all students. Regardless of family income or background, students with engaged parents are more likely to:

  • Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs.
  • Be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits. Attend school regularly.
  • Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school.
  • Graduate and go on to postsecondary education.

Mansori goes on to explain that in some U.S. states, one in four students is an English language learner External link opens in new window or tab. This statistic reminds us how critical it is to redouble efforts to ensure the success of all our students and to think creatively about ways to collaborate with all parents. Research indicates that when parents of English language learners have more say in their child’s education, student outcomes improve.

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For educators, engagement with parents of English language learners may look different than it does in traditional classroom settings because of perceptions around language and cultural differences. English as a second language (ESL) teachers must embrace opportunities to create inviting environments that allow parents to participate in their children’s education in diverse ways. In the words of one ESL teacher, “It’s not just about fundraising and showing up to parent nights.”

Read the article to learn more about the four suggestions for inviting collaboration and engagement with the families of English language learners.

  1. Adopt a growth mindset
  2. Honor cultural differences
  3. Don’t fret over language differences
  4. Be creative about logistics

Source: Mansori' LinkedIn Blog, originally posted in Getting Smart blog post - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/four-parent-engagement-strategies-english-language-learners-mansori External link opens in new window or tab

  1. The January 2016 issue of Family Medicine reports on a study comparing two approaches to assessing literacy through the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM), interview by telephone and the traditional in-person assessment. REALM administered by telephone was found to be just as effective as the more labor intensive traditional approach. Click HERE External link opens in new window or tab for a copy of the report.
  2. From the recent Roundtable on Health Literacy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, discussion papers and workshop summaries are available HERE External link opens in new window or tab.
  3. In It Together External link opens in new window or tab is a modular training curriculum for health departments, health clinics and community-based organizations that deliver health literacy HIV services. Dozens of trainers from many communities offer tailored health literacy training.
  4. Out of the classroom and into the community: medical students consolidate learning about health literacy through collaboration with Head Start External link opens in new window or tab (published April 23, 2016) is a lengthy article describing a community-based service learning program during one academic year as a way for medical students to learn about health literacy and effective communications strategies. The program is a 5-month pediatric obesity effort designed for Head Start children, parents, and staff.

Source: National Council for Adult Learning, Newsletter External link opens in new window or tab Issue #13, April 29, 2016