PDRN/RI UPDATE volume 1 issue 1 January, 1988


Dear Colleagues,

In an effort to strengthen ties between research and practice in adult education, the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy has developed the Practitioner Dissemination and Research Network. Launched in July, 1997, and currently operating in nine states (including Rhode Island), the network seeks to function as a channel for communication and collaboration between NCSALL researchers and practitioners through disseminating information, developing working relationships, and sharing ideas on making research accessible to practitioners.

PDRN members are currently engaged in efforts to raise practitioner awareness of the network and elicit feedback from practitioners about best ways of connecting practitioners' interests and needs with the research being done through NCSALL projects.

As part of this effort, I am distributing this quarterly bulletin to practitioners and organizations across the state. This first issue introduces NCSALL and its work , includingthe PDRN and Focus On Basics ( NCSALL's magazine for practitioners), and explains how practitioners and learners can become paid participants in current research projects. Subsequent issues will focus on research updates, and will aim to foster communication among Rhode Island practitioners around research issues. I am available for on-site presentations on NCSALL and the PDRN and would be happy to discuss the network at staff development meetings or workshops. Feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting or obtain any further information you may need (PDRN and NCSALL contact info is listed at the end of this bulletin.)


David B. Hayes Rhode Island Practitioner Leader

NCSALL Research, Communications Initiatives Aim to Strengthen Practice

The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, a collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education and World Education, pursues basic and applied research in the field of adult basic education, builds partnerships between researchers and practitioners, disseminates research results and best practices to practitioners, scholars, and policymakers, and works with the field to develop a comprehensive research agenda.

NCSALL currently offers two publications aimed at improving communication between researchers and practitioners. Focus on Basics is a quarterly magazine featuring articles written by practitioners, researchers, policymakers and staff developers. Subscriptions are available for $8 per year, and the FOB texts can be downloaded from NCSALLÕs website. (http://hugse1.harvard.edu/~ncsall) The annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy features scholarly reviews of major issues, current research and best practices of adult learning and literacy.

In addition to its publications, NCSALL has created the Practitioner Dissemination and Research Network as a direct link between research and practice. Through the network, practitioners can provide input to researchers about research design and dissemination, apply research findings, field test models, and assist with research projects. The PDRN can provide practitioners with contact information, project updates, publications subscription forms, and referrals. NCSALL is also working with the National Institute for Literacy and the U.S. Department of Education's Division of Adult Learning and Literacy on the development of documents which will describe the field's vision and set forth a comprehensive national research and development agenda. This effort will be completed at a national adult literacy summit. NCSALL partners include The Center for Literacy Studies at The University of Tennessee, Rutgers University, and Portland State University. One more partner in the Midwest will be added in the future. NCSALL is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through its Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

NCSALL researchers are currently involved in ten 3 to 5 year studies which address a wide range of adult literacy issues. Following is an outline of each. Practitioners interested in learning more about the studies and/or other NCSALL initiatives can do so by contacting PDRN/RI or World Education. Studies marked with an asterisk have issued calls for practitioner participation. Information on participation in these studies and contact information is available elsewhere in this bulletin.

Longitudinal Study of Adult Learner Behavior and Change - John Comings and Stephen Reder

This five year project builds a national longitudinal data structure that can follow adult learners over time to look at patterns of participation, impact, achievement, and factors that lead to successful learning.

Staff Development Study - Cristine Smith

This four year project explores current practice, best strategies, and effective models for statewide staff development and studies the impact on ABE teachers and cost effectiveness of the three most common approaches to staff development.

Health and Adult Learning and Literacy Study - Rima Rudd

This five year study explores the mutual benefits of introducing health topics into ABE, ESOL and ASE classes and builds a focus of attention within both health and adult learning communities on the value of cooperation.

Literacy Practices of Adult Learners Study - Victoria Purcells-Gates*

This five year project examines how adults in literacy classes use literacy skills in their daily lives, the relationship between the degree and type of everyday use of print to the degree of literacy growth, and the types of intervention that might best increase the degree of everyday literacy activity.

Adult Multiple Intelligences Study - Silja Kallenbach, Julie Viens

This five year study examines how the multiple intelligences theory can support and enhance learner-centered instruction and assessment in ABE, ESOL and ASE programs.

Adult Reading Diagnostic Study - John Strucker*

This three year study will develop a portrait of the instructional strengths and needs in reading of adults enrolled in ABE and ESOL classes.

Adult Development Study - Robert Keegan

This three year project tests the hypothesis that coping with the demands of adult life requires a qualitative transformation of mind analogous to the change from magical thinking to concrete thinking required of school-age children or the development from concrete to abstract thinking required of the adolescent.

Learner Motivation Study - John Comings*

This five year study develops a force field analysis that will present a comprehensive picture of the factors that work against or support the motivation of adult learners to persist in ABE, ESOL and ASE programs.

GED Impact Study - Richard Murnane, John Willett, John Tyler

This project will investigate whether the acquisition of the GED improves labor market outcomes for school dropouts.

Learner Identified Impacts Study - Beth Bingman, Brenda Bell, Hal Beder*

This five year study explores the impact that participation in adult learning and literacy programs has on adults' lives, ways to assess that impact, and measures of instructional outcomes that predict that impact.

Practitioner Dissemination and Research Network Connects Practitioners to NCSALL Researchers

As part of its ongoing effort to strengthen connections between research and practice, The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) has developed the Practitioner Dissemination and Research Network (PDRN). NCSALL hopes that the network - which currently connects researchers from Harvard, Rutgers, Portland State University, The University of Tennessee and World Education to practitioners in Rhode Island and eight other states - will link practitioner and academic researchers, facilitate the generation of practitioner input and assistance to NCSALL's research efforts, and disseminate research results.

Currently, the network is divided into two regional groups. The New England region, coordinated by Kimberly Stewart and Cristine Smith at World Education in Boston, consists of state teams in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. The Southeast region, coordinated by Beth Bingman of the University of Tennessee, connects NCSALL to practitioners in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee. NCSALL hopes to expand the network to include 16 to 20 states by the end of its five-year grant period. Much of the PDRN's work thus far has focused on network development. In June, 1997, state PDRN teams conducted statewide practitioner focus groups to gather input from the field on current NCSALL research and ways in which NCSALL and its PDRN could best serve the field. In July, Practitioner Leaders met with NCSALL researchers, evaluating and using focus group results to further define the function and goals of the PDRN. Since then, the PDRN has introduced practitioners to NCSALL's efforts, connected practitioners and learners to opportunities for participation in research, and assisted in the development of research tools.

In Rhode Island, PDRN efforts are focused on introducing NCSALL research projects to Rhode Island practitioners through a series of introductory presentations at Literacy Resources/RI, and at conferences, workshops and on-site meetings across the state and through this bulletin. The PDRN/RI regularly disseminates information about meetings and NCSALL news and announcements through the Literacy Resources/Rhode Island Bulletin and through independent mailings. Interested groups can arrange for Rhode Island Practitioner Leader David Hayes to conduct on-site meetings introducing NCSALL and the PDRN by contacting him at (401) 331 -9261 or by email at PDRN RI@aol.com.

NCSALL Seeks Practitioner, Learner Assistance In Research (completed)

The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy is currently seeking practitioner and learner participation in four of its ten projects. Each of the four projects offers generous financial compensation to participants. Following is an outline of the calls for participation, including descriptions of projects, participant roles and compensation information.

Interviewers, learners for at-home interviews for literacy use study

Researcher Victoria Purcells - Gates' study seeks out possible relationships between adult literacy class experiences and out-of-school uses for print, especially changes in frequency and types of reading and writing. She seeks practitioners and learners in adult literacy (including second language literacy) classes as well as reseaexpect to work approximately 2-3 hours on home visits and 2-3 hours between observation and practitioner interview. Compensation is $30 per home interview, $20 for training and $30 per classroom observation and teacher interview. Practitioners will be asked help solicit student volunteers, complete a short survey, and be interviewed by Research Assistants. Practitioner compensation will include a copy of the report and the Teacher Handbook the project is expected to produce.

Learners for one hour interviews; eexpect to work approximately 2-3 hours on home visits and 2-3 hours between observation and practitioner interview. Compensation is $30 per home interview, $20 for training and $30 per classroom observation and teacher interview. Practitioners will be asked help solicit student volunteers, complete a short survey, and be interviewed by Research Assistants. Practitioner compensation will include a copy of the report and the Teacher Handbook the project is expected to produce.

Learners for one hour interviews for motivational study

John Comings is looking for learners to participate in a survey aimed at identifying the forces which support and inhibit persistence and motivation in ABE programs. The process is part of a project which aims to develop an intervention that will help improve retention. ABE learners who participate will be interviewed for less than one hour. Compensation is $10 per hour interview. Interviews will be preceded by a one hour whole - class presentation on the theme.

Practitioners to serve as interviewers for learner life-history interviews

Beth Bingman is looking for practitioners to serve as interviewers in a qualitative study based on life-history interviews with adult learners. Interviews will begin in Tennessee and expand into other states in 1998. Dr. Bingman is not yet certain when and where interviews will be conducted next year. She hopes to create a list of potential practitioner interviewers and learners to be interviewed. Should Rhode Island be chosen as a study site, practitioners with qualitative research training and experience will be compensated $500 per interview set. Each set will require approximately 10 hours.

Practitioners, learners, administrators to administer and participate in reading test battery

John Strucker seeks practitioners, learners and administrators to assist with the administration of a diagnostic reading test battery to adult students around the nation; a cluster analysis of results will be used to develop a series of typical adult reading profiles. Practitioner testers will undergo eight hours of paid training and will be expected to administer 20 - 50 hours worth of testing. Practitioners will be paid $25 per hour. Learners will receive $8 per hour.

Practitioners and learners seeking further information on project participation can contact PDRN RI Practitioner Leader David Hayes at (401) 331 - 9261 or by Email at PDRN RI@aol.com.

July 2, 1999 - check the NCSALL site for updates on these research projects, and/or contact David Hayes or LR/RI for more information about Rhode Island's involvement with the projects and with connected practitioner-generated inquiry work.

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