Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy
1221 Avenue of the Americas - 44th Floor
New York, NY 10020
Phone 212-512-2362 ... Fax 212-512-2610



About CAAL

National Commission on
Adult Literacy

Get Commission Final Report


Talks & Essays

Letters & Media






E-News Issues

Contact Us

Commission Advisory Panel

Donate to CAAL






The following publications may be reproduced and quoted with attribution. Most are in the form of downloadable PDF files. Bound versions may be purchased directly from the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy ($20 plus postage, contact for ordering instructions.) Orders of 10 or more per title are eligible for a 10% discount. Note that some of these documents are large and more easily accessible via high-speed connection. If a document cannot be accessed due to slow connection speed, CAAL suggests ordering a bound print copy. The DVD presentation (NC5) may also be downloaded or purchased from CAAL.

National Commission on Adult Literacy
Corporate Role
Correctional Education
Entry-Level Health Care
Developmental Education
Other CAAL Topics
Remembering Our Roots


Commission-Related Publications by CAAL

NC-CAAL15. LABOR MARKET EXPERIENCES, EARNINGS, INCOME INADEQUACY PROBLEMS, AND CIVIL BEHAVIOR OF U.S. ADULTS BY EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT: Consequences for Adult Education Programs, prepared February 2014 for CAAL by the Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University. This 22-page paper, by Ishwar Khatiwada, Andrew Sum, and Sheila Palma is an update of information, according to the given social and workforce variables, provided in 2008 in Reach Higher, America, the final report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy. It is a companion paper to NC-CAAL 14 listed just below.

NC-CAAL14.  NET ANNUAL FISCAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF U.S. ADULTS AGED 18-64 BY EDUCATION ATTAINMENT, 2009-2012. This paper, prepared in January 2014 for CAAL by the Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University, provides analysis of the fiscal gains to the nation and to individuals of high school and college graduation in America for adults aged 18-64.  It also presents aggregated and state-by-state data for the 15 states: CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, TX, and VA. The paper is a partial update of data presented in Reach Higher, America, the report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy.

NC-CAAL13. LONGITUDINAL DATA COLLECTION IN CAREER PATHWAYS PROGRAMS. While far from a definitive statement on the subject, this four-page Policy Brief offers a brief discussion and illustrative listing of core indicators and elements of data collection in longitudinal career pathways programs. The Brief was co-authored by CAAL's Forrest Chisman, Garrett Murphy, James Parker, and Gail Spangenberg. [May 27, 2010]

NC-CAAL12. LOCAL PERSPECTIVES ON WIA REAUTHORIZATION. This 21-page Policy Brief reports on the February 18, 2010 CAAL Roundtable discussion of WIA and the Adult Education and Economic Growth Act with 19 leaders of local programs and institutions identified by their peers as providing exemplary "adult education for work" services within a particular community or local labor market. The programs are located in 16 states representing all regions of the U.S. This Brief contains important messages for state policymakers as well as federal. [March 26, 2010]

NC-CAAL11. THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM ADULT LEARNING: Expanding Access to Adult Education and Workforce Skills Through Distance Learning. This 65-page report is based on a 9-month project directed by Dr. Mary L. McCain of TechVision 21 in Washington, D.C. The report fleshes out the general technology recommendations made in Reach Higher, America, the final report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy. Federal and state government is the primary audience but CAAL also aims to inform private sector engagement and program and curriculum development activities. The centerpiece recommendation among several given is for establishment of a national web portal for adult learners and professional use. [October 21, 2009]

NC-CAAL10. REBUILDING NIFL TO MEET FUTURE NEEDS: A New and Innovative Agency with a Broader Mission, by Forrest P. Chisman and Gail Spangenberg. This 28-page discussion paper proposes substantial revamping of the National Institute for Literacy into a new independent National Institute for Adult Learning, with broad responsibilities for adult education and workforce skills development, including leadership in technology, stronger governance, and more adequate funding. [October 8, 2009]

NC-CAAL9. EXPANDING HORIZONS: Pacesetters in Adult Education for Work, by Forrest P. Chisman, is a report from the "Adult Readiness Roundtable" Project of CAAL carried out jointly with the National Center on Education and the Economy in April 2009. The 27-page report is designed primarily to help inform and stimulate thinking and action at the state and local levels. [June 26, 2009]

NC-CAAL8. 51009 SIDE-BY-SIDE OF WIA TITLES I AND II AND RELATED prepared by CAAL to help advance the recommendations of the National Commission on Adult Literacy, for the Adult Education and Economic Growth Act under development by Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Reuben Hinojosa.

NC-CAAL7. 50509 TESTIMONY testimony by Commissioner David Bere to the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness on May 5, 2009. David Bere is the President of the Dollar General Corporation (the principal funder of the work of the National Commission on Adult Literacy). His testimony, which references the Commission's work, focuses on Dollar General's long-standing experience with adult literacy as a funder and employer.

NC-CAAL6. 22409 SUPPLEMENTAL TESTIMONY written testimony submitted on February 24, 2009 to Rep. Ruben Hinojosa and the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, in response to a request from Rep. George Miller. The question posed is: How can the Workforce Investment Act partners work with the Community Colleges near them to use the newly designated economic recovery package funding for training programs? (Also see NC-CAAL 4 and NC-CAAL 5.)

NC-CAAL5. 21609 SUPPLEMENTAL TESTIMONY Supplemental testimony submitted by CAAL for House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness (see NC-CAAL 4) in response to issues and concerns raised by a panel of testifiers at the February 12, 2009 Hearing.

NC-CAAL4. 21209 CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY Written testimony for the Hearing of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness (of the House Education and Labor Committee), February 12, 2009, chairman Congressman Ruben Hinojosa. Commissioner Morton Bahr testified on behalf of the Commission.

NC-CAAL3. CLMS BRIEF 3: ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION prepared for CAAL by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies. This short document calculates the effect of inflation on the $20 billion in public expenditures called for by the Commission (in 2008 dollars) by the year 2020. [December 2008, 4 pp.]

NC-CAAL2. CLMS BRIEF 2: ESTIMATE OF SUI REVENUE, STATE BY STATE – prepared for CAAL by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University to help develop the Commission's recommendation for a national trust fund for ABE and workforce skills development. The paper estimates the annual amounts of unemployment insurance tax collections for individual states for financing adult basic education/job training programs for U.S. workers under alternative wage base/state supplemental unemployment insurance tax rates. [November 2008, 15 pp.]

NC-CAAL1. CLMS BRIEF 1: ESTIMATE OF REVENUES FOR ABE FROM SUI TAX SURCHARGE – prepared for CAAL by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University to help develop the Commission's recommendation for a national trust fund for ABE and workforce skills development. The paper estimates the annual levels of unemployment tax collections for financing adult basic education/job training programs for U.S. workers under alternative wage base/supplemental unemployment insurance tax rates. [October 2008, 6 pp.]

Commission Publications

NC12. REACH HIGHER, AMERICA: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce is the final report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy. It was released at a public event in Washington, D.C. on June 26. The report documents the adult education and skills crisis facing American workers, proposes a fundamentally new approach to adult basic education and workforce skills preparation in America, and lays out the fiscal and social benefits that will result from substantially increased public expenditures for programs and services. Focus is on the needs of the unemployed, low-skilled incumbent workers, immigrants with limited or no English, parents or caregivers with low basic skills, incarcerated adults, high-school dropouts, and high school graduates not adequately prepared for college. Among other things, the Commission recommends transforming the current system, which reaches about 3 million adults annually, into an adult education and workforce skills system with the capacity to enroll 20 million adults by the year 2020 and a mission of moving adults to readiness for post secondary education and job training. The report offers a kind of “domestic Marshall plan” for meeting workforce education needs—including bold recommendations for state government, business and labor, philanthropy, and the general public. A clear message of the report is that unless the nation gives much higher priority to the basic educational needs of the workforce—adults 16 and older beyond the reach of the schools—America’s standard of living, its status as a leading world power, and its very social fabric will be severely eroded. In addition to the final report, a standalone Executive Summary and three one-page "pullouts" (Business, Media, and Public Policy) are among the materials available from the Commission website. [June 26, 2008, 77 pp.]

NC11. THE FISCAL CONSEQUENCES OF ADULT EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT – prepared for the Commission by a team of researchers from the Center for Labor Market Studies of Northeastern University, under the leadership of Commissioner Andrew Sum, who directs the Center. The report studies the earnings of adults according to their level of education achievement in terms of the impact those earnings have on the fiscal affairs of the states and the lives of individuals. Appendix E of the report gives estimates of annual net fiscal contributions of adults by education attainment level for the 13 largest states. The report findings have major implications for the purposes and conduct of the nation’s adult education and literacy enterprise at all levels of service. The report should also be of high interest to state and federal polilcymakers and planners, as well as the business community. [December 14, 2007, 66 pp.]

NC10. CHALLENGES IN ASSESSING FOR POSTSECONDARY READINESS – prepared for the fourth meeting of the Commission on December 4, 2007 by Daryl F. Mellard and Gretchen Anderson of the Division of Adult Studies, Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas. This Policy Brief examines the major assessments in use today to measure adult learning gains and determine student placements – e.g., BEST, CASAS, TABE, COMPASS, ASSET, and ACCUPLACER – in terms of their uses and how they well they align with postsecondary education entry requirements. Special attention is given to the GED. The authors identify several problems and challenges as well as recommendations to resolve them. [December 14, 2007, 26 pp.]

NC9. POLICIES TO PROMOTE ADULT EDUCATION AND POSTSECONDARY ALIGNMENT – prepared for the National Commission on Adult Literacy by Julie Strawn, senior policy analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy. This Policy Brief focuses on "helping adults with lower skills and/or limited English proficiency earn postsecondary credentials that open doors to family-supporting jobs." It examines obstacles to moving toward this goal -- with major attention to lack of alignment between federal and state adult education efforts, job training services, and postsecondary education policies. It also draws attention to the financial, personal, and family challenges that prevent adults from seeking and completing programs. Numerous policy and action recommendations are given for Commission consideration. [September 28, 2007 (rev. 10/18/07), 28 pp.]

NC8. FAMILY LITERACY IN ADULT EDUCATION: The Federal and State Support Role – prepared for the Commission by Tony Peyton, Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations, National Center for Family Literacy. This short special perspectives paper contains an Executive Summary and four major sections: (1) Making the Case: Why Provide Family Literacy Services; (2) Federal Support for Family Literacy; (3) Examples of State Family Literacy Initiatives; and (4) Issues & Recommendations. Among the five recommendations made by the author is that serious national and state attention should be given to the collection of comparable data about family literacy services, program types, funding, legislative provisions, and enrollments across the states, as well as research that fully demonstrates program outcomes. [September 7, 2007, 15 pp.]

NC7. WORKPLACE EDUCATION: TWENTY STATE PERSPECTIVES – prepared for the Commission by education consultant James Parker (formerly of the U.S. Department of Education). The Policy Brief describes various aspects of current workplace education programs in 20 states: AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, IN, KY, LA, MA, MN, MS, NY, NC, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WV, and WI. It examines how the programs are funded; the level of effort in each case for the past two years; connections, partnerships, and/or strategic plans implemented by workplace education programs; how states measure outcomes or determine success; the nature of workplace education outcomes achieved; challenges or barriers faced by the states; what the states consider to be the key elements of success in their workplace education efforts, and what future policy options the states would like to consider. One section of the paper presents seven policy options from the author's perspective. In an appendix, profiles are given for each of the 20 states examined. [September 4, 2007, 22 pp.]

NC6. ADULT EDUCATION AND POSTSECONDARY SUCCESS – prepared by Stephen Reder, University Professor & Chair, Department of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University. This Policy Brief examines GED holders in comparison to their counterparts who have received a high school diploma as well as those with no high school credential. The comparisons are made in terms of long-term postsecondary education outcomes. The author makes numerous recommendations for expanding and restructuring the adult education system, with the goal of college readiness and success in mind. [September 4, 2007 (rev. 10-8-07), 29 pp.]

NC5. TOUGH CHOICES OR TOUGH TIMES – A DVD talk to the Commission by Marc S. Tucker, President of the National Center for Education and the Economy. This talk summarizes highlights of the report of the New Commission on Skills of the American Workforce, for which Dr. Tucker was the Study Director. It calls for dramatic, even controversial changes in the structure and conduct of America’s K-12 and education system. The DVD is viewable only online with QuickTime and Flash on both MAC or PC platforms with high-speed connections. [July 2007, 17 min.] Click here for Flash viewing. Click here for QuickTime viewing. For smooth audio, please await the full download before playing.

NC4. FORCES CHANGING OUR NATION'S FUTURE – prepared for the Commission by labor economist Andrew Sum of Northeastern University, a member of the Commission. Dr. Sum is Professor and Director, Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern. The resource is based on research findings from The Perfect Storm (Educational Testing Service, March 2007) – which Dr. Sum co-authored along with Irwin Kirsch and other ETS researchers. It also draws on a number of other studies. The publication includes an Author's Introduction and Executive Summary and 30 graphs and tables. It examines the comparative performance of U.S. adults and youth on international literacy assessments, the importance of literacy and numeracy proficiencies for labor market success, and the projected outlook for literacy proficiencies of U.S. adults. [June 18, 2007, 44 pp.]

NC3. DARE TO DREAM: A Collection of Papers from a Resource Group of 102 Education and Literacy Professionals. The papers in this collection were developed as a basic resource for the Commission. They reflect the ideas, insights, cautions, and recommendations of a group of 102 education and literacy leaders. These professionals were asked by a team of group leaders to respond to questions developed by Commission senior staff in several thematic areas. Group leaders were then brought together in a concentrated roundtable discussion. All 102 participants are indicated by name and affiliation. Their broad challenge was to "think outside the box,” to imagine systemic changes that would be required to expand adult education and literacy service beyond the 3 million or so presently reached by publicly-funded programs to many times that number. [May 24, 2007]

NC2. MOUNTING PRESSURES FACING THE U.S. WORKFORCE AND THE INCREASING NEED FOR ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY – prepared by Dennis Jones (President) and Patrick Kelly (Senior Associate & Director, National Information Center), National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). This document consists primarily of 50 color graphs reflecting current data from OECD, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, GED Testing Service, and NCHEMS. The data set includes information on international comparisons, demographic trends within the U.S., U.S. education achievement levels with particular attention to groups of low achievement, and other variables that NCHEMS believes calls for a dramatically expanded and more effective adult education and literacy enterprise in America. A short introduction and executive summary indicates the authors' main conclusions. [May 21, 2007, 67 pp.]

NC1. Four Lay-of-the-Land Papers on The Federal Role in Adult Literacy – prepared for the Commission’s first meeting in November 2006 by Lennox McLendon (Adult Education and Literacy Legislation and Its Effects on the Field, 18 pp.), Garrett Murphy (Adult Education & Literacy in the United States: Need for Services, What the Current Delivery System Looks Like, 14 pp.; and Federal Role in Adult Literacy, 13 pp.), and James Parker (Introduction to the Main Strands of Federal Adult Literacy Programming, 17 pp.). [December 6, 2006]

T1. TO ENSURE AMERICA'S FUTURE: BUILDING A NATIONAL OPPORTUNITY SYSTEM FOR ADULTS Strengthening Links Between Adult Education and Community Colleges
is the final report of a major two-year task force study of links between adult education and literacy and the community colleges. The report was announced in a national news release on February 29, 2005 (click here to read the release) and was disseminated to thousands of groups and individuals throughout the country, including all 1200 community college presidents. Based on the study findings, the report concludes that the adult education and literacy system and community colleges will have to find new ways to work together” to bring about the National Opportunity System envisioned in the paper, a system needed for the functioning of our democracy, for the U.S. to remain globally competitive, and to ensure essential workforce development. The report gives numerous recommendations to federal and state government, community colleges, and the adult education community. In addition to the full report, a separate Executive Summary is available. Seven background research papers were developed to help inform the report and the Task Force’s deliberations. They are listed immediately below. [February 29, 2005, 102 pp.]

T2. ADULT BASIC EDUCATION & COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN FIVE STATES: A Report from the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) to the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy This report compares selected program characteristics of community college and non-community college programs in five states (Oregon, California, Iowa, Connecticut, and Hawaii) based on comparable data collected by the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS). The characteristics investigated include size of enrollment, demographics, education level, retention, staffing, service to welfare clients, and learning gains. For each state, data from individual programs is aggregated at the state level and comparisons are drawn. The paper (Working Paper 1) is the first in a series of working papers contracted by CAAL for its two-year task force study of transitions from adult education to community colleges. [September 16, 2003, 33 pp.]

T3. ADULT EDUCATION & LITERACY IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN MASSACHUSETTS: A Case Study for the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy – prepared by Martin Liebowitz, former program director at Jobs for the Future, for the Task Force on Adult Education and Community Colleges. This report (Working Paper 2) examines the role of community colleges in providing adult education services (ABE, ESL, and GED) in Massachusetts and examines the statewide context in which the services are provided. The study is presented in five broad sections: (1) state governance of adult education and community colleges, and the context for adult education in Massachusetts; (2) demographics, goals, and performance measures in terms of students served, outcomes, and how services are delivered; (3) how adult education is managed within community colleges; (4) links and transitions within community colleges and between the colleges and the rest of the adult education system; and (5) summary and key findings. [March 2004, rev. 9-14-04, 62 pp.]

T4. THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN STATE ADULT EDUCATION SYSTEMS: A National Analysis – by Vanessa Smith Morest of the Community College Research Center of Teachers College at Columbia University, with assistance from Kerry Charron, Annika Fasnacht, and Daniella Olibrice. This report (Working Paper 3) is based on information drawn from several sources, including state directors of adult education across the country and the National Reporting System. The report looks at the structure of adult education in the United States with a focus on the role of community colleges. Among its many findings are that neither adult education nor community college systems are adequately aware of the large role that community colleges currently play as a provider of adult education and literacy services across the country. [April 2004, 35 pp.]

T5. ADULT EDUCATION & LITERACY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN KENTUCKY– by Forrest P. Chisman, Executive Vice President, CAAL. This report (Working Paper 4) describes and discusses how the community college and adult education systems work together in the state and the principles and linkages that make it a fascinating and instructional national model. The paper is organized into two main sections preceded by a seven-page Summary of Key Findings, Recommendations, and Issues. Two key issues highlighted for national policy consideration are: (1) Kentucky emphasizes and gets significant results through short-term adult education services, and also in its workforce education and transition programs, but "the scope and accomplishments...are not captured very well by the federal National Reporting System (NRS) or other data sets." (2) Despite the priority given by Title II of WIA to transitions from adult education to postsecondary education and to workforce education, the federal government has not established policies or funding to support either service. [May 2004, 89 pp.]

T6. THE ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM & ADULT EDUCATION – by Suzanne Knell and Janet Scogins, Director and Assistant Director, Illinois Literacy Resource Development Center. This report (Working Paper 5) reveals that Illinois is a model of national significance for many reasons, including the fact that an astounding 77 percent of adult education and literacy learners in the state is served by community colleges. It is also the largest state (among 13 in the nation) in which a community college authority administers adult education services. The report contains an Executive Summary followed by two main sections. Part 1 is the main body of the report. It provides (a) a statistical overview of the need for adult education service, the provider system, the number of students served, and the nature of service in Illinois; (b) a discussion of the nature and functioning of the community college administrative system for adult education in the state; (c) the state's system of financing adult education; (d) the process by which responsibility for adult education was transferred to the Illinois Community College Board in 2001 and the issues and outcomes this shift has produced; and (e) a summary discussion of how adult education service is provided in four Illinois community colleges (Parkland College, Carl Sandburg College, Illinois Central College, and College of Lake County). Part II of the paper includes detailed profiles of the four local community colleges studied. [July 2004, 123 pp.]

T7. OREGON SHINES! Adult Education and Literacy in Oregon Community Colleges – by Sharlene Walker (former state ABE director) and Clare Strawn (assistant professor, Department of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University). This report (Working Paper 6) contains an Executive Summary and four main sections: (I) Demographics of Need and Service, (II) Building An Integrated Statewide System, (III) The College Perspective, and (IV) A Closer Look at Some Elements of the Oregon Story. A supplemental reading list and other appendices are included. In Oregon, community colleges govern adult education and literacy, and they provide nearly all services offered in the state. Policy is based on the premise that adult education and literacy are on a par with all other community college programs. State financial support is provided almost exclusively in the form of full-time equivalency reimbursement funding to the colleges. These are just some of the features that set Oregon's adult education/literacy system apart and make the state an important model. [October 2004, 84 pp.]

T8. ADULT ESL AND THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE – by JoAnn Crandall (Professor of Education, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus) and Ken Sheppard (National Foreign Language Center). A concept paper on the quality and articulation of ESL programs offered by community colleges. Most colleges offer several different types of ESL programs supported by different funding streams. These often are not linked at the management, faculty, curricular, or assessment levels. Aside from possible inefficiencies, this makes it difficult for students to make transitions from ESL instruction to GED or college degree and job training programs. The paper is based on review and analysis of existing data and literature, interviews with selected program directors, and two small-group meetings. [December 2004, 59 pp.].

T9. FORGING NEW PARTNERSHIPS: Adult and Developmental Education in Community Colleges – by Hunter Boylan, Director, Center for Developmental Education, Appalachian State University. This report (Working Paper 8) is a national study of best practices in linking community college adult education and literacy and developmental education services. Among the questions explored are these: How common is this linkage? What forms does it take? What are its benefits? What are the barriers to implementing it? How can those barriers be overcome. The study includes a survey of 200 Kellogg Fellows who have participated in the developmental education leadership program of Appalachian State University. [December 2004, 73 pp.]

ESL6. FINDINGS IN ESL: A Quick Reference to Findings of CAAL Research on ESL Programs at Community Colleges – by Forrest P. Chisman. This brief publication is the final in CAAL's series on its ESL research since 2004. Due to the high ongoing interest in ESL service provision, the purpose of Findings in ESL is to make CAAL's ESL work more readily accessible to general and ESL audiences who may not have the time to wend their way through the fairly dense full-length reports, items ESL 1 through ESL 5 above. This summary document is available at no charge in PDF format. It may be purchased as a bound document directly from CAAL ($10 prepaid plus postage, for instructions). [July 2008, 22 pp.]

ESL5. PATHWAYS & OUTCOMES: Tracking ESL Student Performance – by Steven Spurling, Sharon Seymour, and Forrest Chisman. This report is a longitudinal study of adult ESL services at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF). Its primary aim is to help those who plan and design community college ESL programs assess and develop effective services. But it will also help those who offer adult ESL services in other institutional settings, and policymakers and funding organizations. The authors note that CCSF's ESL program has features in common with many other community college programs, and point to the model's importance because so many ESL professionals across the country consider it to be "exemplary." It is both "a typical case and a best case of adult education ESL in the United States." This groundbreaking report contains a wealth of highly detailed research information and analysis. It may well be the most comprehensive, in-depth research ever conducted on any adult ESL program. It is based on College records tracking all students over a seven-year period who first enrolled in CCSF's credit and non-credit ESL programs in 1998, 1999, and 2000. More than 38,000 non-credit and some 6600 credit ESL students make up the "cohort" that was examined. The primary focus is on persistence, learning gains, and transition to credit studies, and on the success in credit courses of non-credit ESL students. Major attention is given to the various features of CCSF's ESL program that affected student outcomes and pathways -- such as terms and hours of attendance, and program design and policy. CCSF's substantial data on "stop-outs" is also presented and analyzed in depth. The report is organized to serve the needs of various kinds of readers. [January 2008, 212 pp.]
Note: Alternate printing/display option for this title:
pathways-outcomes1 chapters 1 to 2.pdf
pathways-outcomes2 chapters 3 to 5.pdf
pathways-outcomes3 chapters 6 to 8.pdf
pathways-outcomes4 chapters 9 to 10.pdf

ESL4. TORCHLIGHTS IN ESL: Five Community College Profiles – by Elizabeth Zachry & Emily Dibble (Bunker Hill Community College, MA), Sharon Seymour (City College of San Francisco, CA), Suzanne Leibman (College of Lake County, IL), Sandy Ares & Beth Larson (Seminole Community College, FL), and Pamela Ferguson (Yakima Valley Community College, WA). This publication is a supplement to the report, PASSING THE TORCH: Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL and should be read in conjunction with that report (see PASSING THE TORCH abstract and link above). These profiles should be helpful to those who design and operate community college ESL programs as well as policy makers and funding agencies. For example, the profiles each contain a discussion of financing and levels of funding needed to provide high quality adult ESL services. [June 2007, 123 pp.]
Note: Alternate printing/display option for this title:
torchlights (1-1,2) pp 1-53.pdf
torchlights (2-3,4) pp 54-101.pdf
torchlights (3-5) pp 102-123.pdf

ESL3.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY from PASSING THE TORCH: Strategies for Innovation in Community Collge ESL [February 2007]

ESL2. PASSING THE TORCH: Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL – final report of two-year CAAL study conducted by CAAL’s Forrest P. Chisman (study director – Executive Vice President) and JoAnn Crandall (research director – Professor of Education, University of Maryland – Baltimore County). The report examines innovative and successful programs and strategies in use at five community colleges (nominated as exemplary by a national panel of experts): Bunker Hill Community College (MA), City College of San Francisco (CA), College of Lake County (IL), Seminole Community College (FL), and Yakima Valley Community College (WA). Chisman and Crandall worked in close cooperation throughout the study with research teams from the five colleges studied. PASSING THE TORCH focuses on non-credit ESL services. It concentrates on generating learning gains, retaining students, and bringing about transitions to future education. Among many effective strategies examined are high intensity instruction, learning outside the classroom, and the use of "learner-centered thematic" curricular. Special attention is given to curricular integration, co-enrollment, vocational ESL (VESL) programs, and the Spanish GED. Issues of faculty training, development, and quality are examined, and recommendations are given for "engineering innovation" in ESL colleges and programs. A main section of the report deals with costs and funding issues, and calls for substantially greater and more targeted funding for adult ESL. Other recommendations have to do with NRS reporting standards as they relate to ESL and with the need for development of ESL assessment tools. [February 26 2007, 153 pp.]

ESL1. ADULT ESL AND THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE – by JoAnn Crandall (Professor of Education, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus) and Ken Sheppard (National Foreign Language Center). A concept paper on the quality and articulation of ESL programs offered by community colleges. Most colleges offer several different types of ESL programs supported by different funding streams. These often are not linked at the management, faculty, curricular, or assessment levels. Aside from possible inefficiencies, this makes it difficult for students to make transitions from ESL instruction to GED or college degree and job training programs. The paper is based on review and analysis of existing data and literature, interviews with selected program directors, and two small-group meetings. [December 2004, 59 pp.].

OT16. INVITATION TO A ROUNDTABLE: A Discussion of Return on Investment in Adult Education. This paper, a companion report to OT15 below, was written by James Parker and Gail Spangenberg, with substantial input from a panel of state and national leaders. The main part of the report, 23 pages, gives a close-up look to readers of the actual content of a day of Roundtable conversation about Return-on-Investment. Author bios are in Appendix I. Panel participants are listed in Appendix II. An annotated resource listing (Appendix III) supplements the resource listing of OT15. A lengthy Appendix IV contains ROI data from Arkansas and the slide-set presentation used by the PIAAC team in their presentation to the panel. (March 17, 2014)

OT15. STEPPING UP TO ROI IN ADULT EDUCATION: A Survey of State Activites, by James Parker and Gail Spangenberg, reports on the findings of a national survey carried out between February and June 2013 in which state adult education directors or their designates were asked to respond to a series of questions about the nature and extent of their Return-on-Investment activity. A major annotated resource listing is included as Appendix IV. (September 2013, 55 pp.)

OT14. A TIME OF SCARCE RESOURCES: Near Term Priorities in Adult Education, by Forrest Chisman and Gail Spangenberg, is a 34-page report (plus appendices) on a survey project in which over two dozen adult education and literacy leaders responded in depth to a series of questions having to do with highest priority next steps for the adult education field in this time of scarce financial resources. The main section of the paper addresses areas of consensus or near-consensus. Highest priorities are seen as gradually moving more toward high intensity-managed enrollment instruction models, increasing professional/staff development opportunities (even in a time of scarce resources), making much more use of technology, and developing new funding sources, including, as appropriate, some form of fee for service. The other major section of the paper presents a menu of ideas that are more general and varied in nature, including a discussion of articulatling core curriculum standards and the GED.

OT13. RANDOM ACTS OF PROGRESS: Certification of Readiness for Jobs & College, by James Parker and Gail Spangenberg, is the final report in CAAL's project about certification of adult student readiness for work and college. The 34-page paper is organized into three parts. The first section summarizes and discusses major national and selected state certification systems as well as recent research on the topic. Part II discusses the numerous hard questions and issues that must be recognized to move forward productively in this complex area. Part III makes next-step suggestions for overcoming problems in awareness and data collection, and proposes a varied research agenda.

OT12. FACING THE CHALLANGE OF NUMERACY IN ADULT EDUCATION, by Forrest P. Chisman, is the final report on CAAL's two-year project in adult numeracy. This 42-page report addresses one of the most complex, neglected, and important areas of adult education. It explains what "numeracy" is and why we need it. It makes the case for shifting from the current emphasis on traditional math instruction in adult education to instruction in a more comprehensive set of math skills, Among the major areas of focus in the report are articulation problems between ABE preparation for the GED and between the GED and college placement based on COMPASS. Other topics of high concern include the paucity of math instruction for adult ESL students with low levels of prior education, and a possible divergence in goals of concurrent education and adult numeracy education.

OT11. ROI FROM INVESTING IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, by Andrew Sum, Director, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, is a 5-page Policy Brief prepared for CAAL on September 9, 2011. It reviews the "findings on the effectiveness of past workforce development programs for low-income adults and dislocated workers in the U.S." Data is summarized from three federal workforce development programs: the National JTPJA Evaluation of Programs for Low-Income Adults (1990), the ADARE EValuation of WIA (2005), and the IMPAQ International EValuation of WIA (2008).

OT10. ADULT NUMERACY: A READER contains four papers from CAAL's January 2011 invitational Roundtable on Adult Numeracy. Included are (1) Adult Numeracy Demand & Provision (27 pp.) by research scholar Lynda Ginsburg of Rutgers University; (2) Policy to Improve Math Teaching & Learning in Adult Basic Education: A Perspective from Massachusetts (9 pp.) by Bob Bickerton, Senior Associate Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Education; (3) Basic Skills in the United Kingdom: How It Has Evolved Over the Past Decade (12 pp.) by Sue Southwood, Programme Director, Literacy, Language and Numeracy, National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE) in London; and (4) More Than Rules: College Transition Math Teaching for GED Graduates at the City University of New York (66 pp.) by Steve Hinds, Mathematics Staff Developer, Adult Literacy/GED Program and College Transition Initiative, CUNY.

OT9. CERTIFYING ADULT EDUCATION STUDENTS: A Survey of State Directors of Adult Education on Certificate Programs In Use is an information paper by Garrett Murphy. It reports on findings of a survey concluded late in 2010 on student certification systems in use across the county, as reported by state ABE directors, to validate student attainment in adult education and workforce skills programs. The work was carried out to help CAAL identify some of the deeper issues in adult education student certification that may be considered in an upcoming invitational Roundtable. [April 19, 2011, 16 pp]

OT8. CLOSING THE GAP: The Challenge of Certification & Credentialing in Adult Education, by Forrest P. Chisman, is CAAL's final project report on this topic. It includes a summary of an invitational Roundtable discussion in mid-2010, sets forth findings from that meeting and other CAAL research, and makes several short- and long-term action recommendations. A two-page Executive Summary presents major findings and recommendations. See item OT6 below for a supplemental CAAL research publication by Cristine Smith. [February 23, 2011, 31 pp]

OT7. DOING BUSINESS TOGETHER: Adult Education and Business Partnering to Build a Qualified Workforce – by James T. Parker. This paper is the result a CAAL project designed to stimulate more and effective business involvement in planning for and providing basic and workforce skills to current and potential workers. It has a heavy focus on what works in states where excellent models already exist in adult education and business collaboration. It discussed elements of successful partnerships, outlines exemplary models in 16 states, and provides suggestions for future action by adult education and business leaders. [January 8, 2011, 24 pp.]

OT6.  CERTIFYING ADULT EDUCATION STAFF AND FACULTY – Cristine Smith with Ricardo Gomez.  This report is a primer on who is doing what in certification and credentialing of instructional personnel in adult education programs across the country.  It was prepared as a background information paper for a CAAL Roundtable held in June 2010.  It reviews certification activities, and variations among those activities, at the state level and in postsecondary institutions.  It considers the pros and cons of developing a comprehensive certification system with comparable elements across the states, and offers suggestions for research and action.  [January 3, 2011, 88 pp.] 

OT5. THE ROLE OF CORPORATE GIVING IN ADULT LITERACY – Forrest Chisman and Gail Spangenberg, CAAL. Funded by Verizon, Inc. this report is based on a nine-month study conducted in 2005. It examines the role and impact of corporate giving in adult literacy at both the national and local levels. The study – which includes findings from a web-based survey of local literacy programs – finds that by any number of measures, corporations play an essential, instrumental role in adult literacy, funding innovation and other activities for which no other funding is available at both the national and local levels. The study concludes that corporations have good reason to be proud of their role and urges the corporate community in general to consider the benefits of philanthropy in this high priority area of national need. It provides a framework and baseline of information for understanding corporate philanthropy in this field as well as a basis for increased dialogue among corporate donors and literacy leaders. It signals a need for grantor and grantee organizations alike to better communicate and document their expectations and outcomes. [March 2006, 76 pp.]

OT4. TO REACH THE FIRST RUNG AND HIGHER: Building Healthcare Career Ladder Opportunities for Low-Skilled Disadvantaged Adults – by Forrest P. Chisman and Gail Spangenberg, CAAL. The report is based on various CAAL activities including in-depth review of six exemplary career ladder programs offered in various institutional settings: a union, a hospital, a community-based organization (CBO), and three community colleges in partnership with an array of medical centers. The programs are profiled in depth in this paper and the authors discuss their principle findings based on CAAL's research to date. The paper contains ideas and suggestions for institutions that may want to either create a new healthcare career program for low-skilled, disadvantaged workers or improve existing programs. [June 2005, 28 pp.]

OT3. CURRENT ISSUES IN CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION: A Compilation & Discussion – by Gail Spangenberg with the assistance of CAAL intern Neena Josen. It is based primarily on interviews and subsequent consultations with 15 national and state leaders in correctional education. Its purpose is to help focus attention on the need for more and better correctional education in America and to open the door to a fresh consideration of policy development, the need for increased and better-directed funding, and more effective advocacy for correctional literacy and adult education services. [February 2004, 30 pp.]

OT2. EQUIPPED FOR THE FUTURE: Tools & Standards for Building & Assessing Quality Adult Literacy Programs – by Gail Spangenberg and Sarah Watson. The publication reviews the developmental history of EFF, a major program of the National Institute for Literacy, and discusses its accomplishments, implementation, and work in progress. Some 16 experienced national, state, and local EFF users were interviewed for the publication. Their responses and the questions posed make up the main body of the new work. The Foreword notes that: "This publication tells a remarkable story, about Equipped for the Future -- a singularly important resource developed by the National Institute for Literacy that can be tremendously beneficial to states wanting to improve the effectiveness of their adult literacy services." [May 2003, 33 pp.]

OT1. LEADING FROM THE MIDDLE: The State Role In Adult Education & Literacy – by Forrest P. Chisman, Executive Vice President for Special Projects at CAAL (formerly past president of the Southport Institute for Policy Analysis and author of Jump Start, the blueprint for the National Literacy Act of 1991). In a Foreword to the publication, ed. Gail Spangenberg describes the work as a primer on the state role in adult education and literacy. The publication also "looks at how well the states are performing their leadership functions, the extent of their current commitment, and what it will take to improve their leadership capacity and commitment in the future." It is designed for a diverse audience -- government officials, business leaders and others in influential positions, college students and teachers, and adult literacy providers, planners, learners, and advocates. [August 2002, 37 pp.]

RR1. BENCHMARK STUDIES & REPORTS IN ADULT LITERACY – originally prepared by Betsy Feist Resources in 2001 and updated by CAAL in 2006. This publication reviews and summarizes the findings of the major benchmark studies and reports in adult literacy – beginning with the University of Texas’ Adult Performance Level Study of 1977 and continuing through the 2006 NAAL survey results, A First Look at the Literacy of America’s Adults in the 21st Century. [June 2006, 20 pp.]

RR2. JUMP START: The Federal Role in Adult Literacy, by Forrest P. Chisman, is the final report on the adult literacy project of the Southport Institute for Policy Analysis, January 1989. The independent study on which the report is based was suggested by the Business Council for Effective Literacy on whose board of directors SIPA's chairman and founder served (Alan Pifer, president of the Carnegie Corporation). JUMP START served as the blueprint for the National Literacy Act of 1991. A wide range of national leaders were advisors to the project, including such notables as Ernest Boyer of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Harold W. Howe II, former U.S. Commissioner of Education; Samuel Halperin, The William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family, and Citizenship; and Michael O'Keefe, Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education. A panel of seven expert consultants prepared background papers on various substantive issues, and advice was given by hundreds of experienced literacy and social policy leaders in Washington and throughout the country. JUMP START was the first serious undertaking of its kind, the first time that the national adult literacy effort had been examined in all its major aspects by an independent, nonpartisan source with no vested interests. The report is provided here as a public service. [Note: JUMP START is out of print and does not exist in electronic form as a text document. It has been recreated here as a graphic file, which is very large and best downloaded by a high speed connection.]

M1. Even Anchors Need Lifelines: Adult Literacy in Public Libraries is a 1996 study conducted by Gail Spangenberg under the auspices of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. This report was funded by the American Library Association, the Center for the Book, Harold W. McGraw, Jr., and the National Institute for Literacy. [August 1996, 144 pp.] Click title for complete document; or access the document chapter by chapter below.

Center for the Book Preface and Author's Executive Summary
Introduction & Chapter 1: The Public Library's Role (to 17)
Chapter 2: Use & Limits of Technology (pp.18-34)
Chapter 3: Planning (pp.35-47)
Chapter 4: Finances & Funding (pp. 48-60) (includes a look at State Literacy Resouce Centers
Chapter 5: State Level Program Data (pp. 61-71)
Chapter 6: Local Programs: The Heart of the Matter (pp. 72-88)
Chapter 7: Lifeblood Issues & Leadership (pp. 89-115)
Chapter 8: Conclusions & Recommendations (pp. 116-125)
Appendix A: Acknowledgments (p. 126)
Appendix B: Principal Study Advisors (pp. 127-128)
Appendix C: Study Participants:Questionnaire Respondees (pp.129-144)

M2. Research-on-Research Mini-Survey – a CAAL compilation of research titles found useful by participants in a CAAL mini-survey. [August 2002, 17 pp.]

M3. The National Coalition for Literacy: Options for the Future – CAAL study by Forrest P. Chisman of The National Coalition for Literacy with recommendations for developing its leadership capacity. [September 2002, 33 pp.]

M4. A Guide for the Powerless and Those Who Don't Know Their Own Power – by Samuel Halperin, CAAL board member and founder of the American Youth Policy Forum. This is a nonpartisan primer on the American political process. It will be useful to persons at the state, local, and national levels who are interested in effective advocacy and policy development in adult education and literacy. Originally published in the 70s, Mr. Halperin's introduction to the 2001 update notes that "powerlessness is an unacceptable condition in any facet of life or work. It is doubly intolerable for those who work in the human services and whose mission is to help empower others. At a time when society has more reliable knowledge than ever about what works to improve human lives, we must use that knowledge in dealing with our elected and appointed officials. Out of such effective advocacy will flow stronger programs and fruitful, lasting relationships with our legislators and other policymakers." Printed copies of the guide can be purchased from the American Youth Policy Forum (202-775-9731) for $5.00 prepaid to cover shipping and handling. Discounted prices are available on quantity purchases. [2001, 69 pp.]


Copyright 2013