Teaching online with Future: tips and resources


Future, the most comprehensive adult English language program, incorporates digital tools and technologies that make online, blended, and distance learning easy.

With MyEnglishLab, digital books, and the ActiveTeach, you can easily build an online curriculum, for both synchronous and asynchronous delivery.

It all begins with the Pearson English Portal – a powerful platform that delivers Future digital resources to instructors and students, such as MyEnglishLab, new digital flip books, and the ActiveTeach. With these digital resources, you can transition your Future, course online and ensure your students have the resources they need to continue learning.

We have put together a roadmap that offers detailed suggestions on how to teach each lesson in Future in the online environment. 

You will find a few general suggestions below. To access and download the complete roadmap, click here.

General Tips for Teaching Online with Future

Online Class (Synchronous Learning)

1. Download the ActiveTeach into your computer or USB drive. Use the screensharing option using a conferencing platform such as Zoom or Google Meet to display the student book pages for all your students. The ActiveTeach offers tools to make the book pages come to life, such as zoom-in, highlight, post-it notes, as well as audio and video. Note: With Zoom, students won’t be able to hear the audio unless you check Share Computer Sound when you hit the share button.

2. Students can use their printed books or the digital flip books to follow along.

3. For extra practice, they can also use their printed workbooks. You can display pages from the workbooks during your synchronous class (workbook pages are available in the Teacher Resources in the Pearson English Portal).

4. For group discussions, use the breakout room option in Zoom to put students in groups. You can also create classes in Google Classroom where students collaborate on projects and engage in discussions.

5. For more engaging and collaborative practice, you can use additional resources available in Teacher’s Resources in the Pearson English Portal, such as Team Projects and Multilevel Communicative Activities. You can display the PDFs of these activities during your synchronous class in Zoom or Google Meet, or you can upload them into MyEnglishLab for students to access.

Independent Study (Asynchronous Learning)

1. Use MyEnglishLab to assign practice activities before and after your synchronous class. MyEnglishLab for Future includes activities for nearly every lesson in the student book, including writing and speaking.

2. Hide any course content in MyEnglishLab that you prefer students not access initially. The assessments are already hidden by default.

3. If you would like to remind students of pending assignments a day prior to your next class meeting, consider using the notes feature on the calendar.

4.  You can also upload your own materials in MyEnglishLab, such as notes and presentations under Your Settings à Manage Resources tab.

5.  You can use MyEnglishLab to send messages to students, as well as check task completion, overall and individual scores, and time on task, and grade student-generated content such as audio or writing.

6. Go to the gradebook and review the results to assess what skills individual students may need more instruction on. Use this information to target teaching areas.

7. Students can use their print workbooks to practice on their own. They can use their Pearson Practice English App to access the audio and video resources.

8. Consider having “office hours” on Google Classroom or WhatsApp chat. Make the times of the “office hours” clear so students know when they can come to you with questions and challenges

9. Assessing students: There is a number of assessments you can assign to students in MyEnglishLab. Note that they are not visible to students until assigned.

10. If you assign activities in MyEnglishLab, give students time to work through content. During this time period use the DATA tab to assess understanding, successes, and struggles. Use the DIAGNOSTIC tab to assess time on task, score by skill, time on each section, number of attempts, and individual and overall scores.

11. If you are using an LMS like Canvas or Blackboard, consider using the Discussion Board, BLOG or WIKI feature for collaborative work. On the Discussion Board, you can post any questions for the entire class to discuss. Students can also post orally. BLOGS are great to serve as a learning journal, and WIKIs make great vocabulary lists. Students can add examples to new words you post or add their own new lists.

For lesson-specific tips on teaching online with Future, click here.

Additional resources

Teaching online with Pearson digital tools

by Christina Cavage and Gosia Jaros-White

Need a PDF of this blog post? Download it here.

Need to move your face-to-face instruction online? Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started. Think about LEARN: Language Teaching in an Engaging, Active, Resourceful eNvironment. This is what we aim to do in our face-to-face classes, so how can we replicate that in the digital world? In her webinar, Christina Cavage explores these tips and tricks to help you transition to the online environment. You can watch it here and download the webinar handout here.

Pearson English Portal: MyEnglishLab, eText, ActiveTeach

The Pearson English Portal is a powerful platform that delivers digital resources to instructors and students, such as MyEnglishLab, Pearson eTexts / digital flip books, and the ActiveTeach. With the Pearson digital resources, you can transition your course online and ensure your students have the resources they need to continue learning.

The following roadmap will help you utilize MyEnglishLab in conjunction with eTexts and ActiveTeach in your online course delivery, both synchronously and asynchronously. It illustrates:

  1. How to front load your class lessons with MyEnglish lab;
  2. How to use data from MyEnglishLab to drive synchronous instruction;
  3. How to reinforce and instruct using the eText / digital flip books and ActiveTeach;
  4. How to formally assess and support learning gaps with additional MyEnglishLab content.

If you have not accessed the Pearson English Portal or used MyEnglishLab before, you will find links to information and resources at the end of this post (Tips for Success).

Roadmap for using Pearson resources in live and asynchronous classes
Figure 1: MyEnglishLab Gradebook
eText + screensharing
Figure 2a: Teaching using the eText with screensharing
ActiveTeach + screensharing
Figure 2b: Teaching using the ActiveTeach and screensharing
Collaborative task for breakout rooms
Figure 3: Collaborative task in the eText for breakout rooms
Manage resources: add resources in MyEnglishLab
Figure 4: Manage resources — add resources in MyEnglishLab

Tips for Success

  1. Be sure you and your students are registered for the Pearson English Portal at english.com/activate.
  2. Once registered, students should use their product access code to add to their dashboards. They can find the codes in their student books. You can also obtain these codes from your Pearson ELT sales specialist.
  3. Orient students to MyEnglishLab. Consider sharing this helpful setup video with your students: Registering your access code.
  4. Set up your course. Make sure you obtain your instructor access code from your Pearson ELT sales specialist. This video will walk you through the process of creating a new course.
  5. Share your Course ID with your students. Have them join your course. This video will show students how to join your course. Share the link with them.
  6. Reach out to students who are not completing assignments via messaging in MyEnglishLab or other electronic systems. Ensure they are able to access the course.
  7. Attend webinars and other trainings to explore all functionality. You can sign up for live webinars here.
  8. Explore available resources and videos here.
live webinars
Sign up for live training webinars

Sample Lesson Planner for course that traditionally meets 4-6 hours a week face-to-face:

  1. Assign MyLab work, including instructional videos (2-3 hours of work for students).

2. Meet synchronously 1-3 hours a week, review content delivered online, asynchronously. Review key concepts in e-book, utilize collaborative tasks, and engaging activities for students to connect and practice.

3. Reinforce with MyLab assignments and assessments, 1-3 hours of student work.

Additional resources to help you move online

We have lots of helpful resources to get you going:

A series of seven videos by Dr. Ken Beatty on making online teaching and learning work. Access them here.

A presentation by Christina Cavage exploring solutions and tips for successful online teaching. Access it here.

A presentation on how the Versant Placement Test can be used to assess students securely from home. Watch it here.

A demo on how to use MyEnglishLab for anytime, anywhere learning. Watch it here.

Teaching practical vocabulary in your grammar lessons

By Stacy Hagen

Recent shifts in adult education have placed a priority on workforce and academic readiness. English language programs need to not only help learners develop English language competencies but also develop the skills they will need as they further their goals of education and better employment.

In this new educational landscape, preparing our students for college and career readiness is critical.  One thing we can do is to focus on practical vocabulary and content in our exercises.  Let me show you several examples.

Beginning students need to learn the basics of filling out forms.  In this exercise from the new edition of the Fundamentals of English Grammar, the grammar point is simple present and present progressive, but the context is completing forms.  While students are practicing the verb forms, they are also learning the language necessary for filling out forms.

Email is the number one form of communication in the workplace, but many of our students don’t use it at all.  When they get to college or start a job, it’s likely they may not know how to compose a proper message.  Here’s an exercise to introduce students to email appropriateness while practicing the verb will.  Through reading, discussion, and writing, students learn that casual language, emojis, reduced speech, to name a few, are not appropriate for academic or workplace emails.

Beginning and intermediate students need practical life-skills vocabulary; this can be easily included in sentence-level practice.  In this exercise with another/the other, the context is appliances and tools. Students practice a new grammar point while also acquiring practical vocabulary.

A traditional way to teach students how to ask for the meaning of something is by giving them an unfamiliar word.   For example, if they are at an intermediate level, we might give them the word spectacular and have them ask, “What does spectacular mean?”  Now, at some point, students will probably encounter a word like spectacular, but we could also give them content that would help them navigate their more immediate world: texting.

Helping our students become college and career ready also involves teaching them useful learning skills and strategies. Tips for how to be a better learner can be embedded into grammar lessons as illustrated by this example:

The topic of this reading is based on an interesting insight from cognitive science that shows we remember information at the beginning and the end better than information in the middle. Students tend to study in long blocks, maybe an hour, or two.  But if they study for a shorter amount of time, 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break, they create a new ending and beginning.  This will help them remember information better.  

The Fundamentals of English Grammar and Understanding and Using English Grammar now have a series of blog that include study tips to help student become more successful in the academic world. Whether students are preparing for college or seeking employment, we can help them by providing practical and relevant content from the start. As these examples illustrate, this practical and relevant content can be easily embedded into any grammar lesson.


Stacy Hagen has been involved in ESL for 40 years as a teacher, administrator, teacher-trainer, and materials writer.  She has taught intensive, immigrant, refugee, high school, and MATESL students. She is the co-author of the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series, including the most recent Fifth Edition of Fundamentals of English Grammar.

Learn more about the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series here.

True Stories + Future = Perfect Partners!

True Stories is a six-level reading series that has been an enduring favorite of teachers and students for 25 years. These popular texts consist of human-interest news stories that are geared towards adults.

The series can be used as a stand-alone reading course or as a complement to Future, a six-level adult English course that equips learners with transferable academic, workplace, and English communication skills.

The color-coordinated book covers make it easy to match the levels in True Stories with the levels in Future.

Why are True Stories and Future perfect partners?

Pair units in Future with thematically related units in True Stories to:

  • accelerate your students’ progress in reading
  • recycle and reinforce the vocabulary of the topics
  • prompt students to share their own “true stories” related to the topic
  • enliven your lessons with believe-it-or-not reading selections

Sandra Heyer, the True Stories author explains the rationale between this association between Future and True Stories:

“I teach reading in the four-level Adult ESL program in my community. I go from level to level with True Stories and teach a 20-30-minute reading lesson in each class.

When I walked into a classroom with the books, often the teacher asked if I had a story about the topic they’re working on–health, work, housing, etc. I usually did. The teachers and I noticed that a lot of the vocabulary in the life-skills unit reappeared in a theme-related story, and that often the story got students talking about their own experiences related to the theme. Another plus was that the story seemed to change the energy in the room—that the story about the woman with the bad knee being chased by a bear, for example, offset the seriousness of a lesson on illnesses and injuries. So, the teachers and I began to coordinate our lessons.”

We want to share this partnership with you. Therefore, we have created handy correlation documents to help you quickly match units in Future with complementary units in True Stories.

Download them here.

The Road to College and Career Readiness: Why It Just May Be Paved with Rigor

By Lia Conklin Olson

Perhaps you have heard the term rigor dropped now and again at staff meetings, professional development gatherings, and even in lunchroom conversations.  Lest the term lose its glitter from overuse, let’s consider why it may be worth its weight in gold.  When we as adult educators recognize the high stakes our students face and commit to the tall order of helping them succeed, we realize we need a high-yield investment.  Rigor may be just that investment, one that provides our students the successful returns this era of high stakes demands.

High stakes for ABE students

Let’s consider just how high the stakes are for our adult basic education (ABE) students.  The “Tipping Point” study (Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, 2005) found that individuals who completed one year of postsecondary education plus a credential had significantly higher earnings than individuals who held fewer than ten college credits.  A more recent study (Mancuso, 2015) again showed this disparity, finding that individuals who met the “tipping point” earned on average $6,265 per year more and were 23% more likely to be employed than those who did not.  High stakes, indeed.

That is exactly the reason behind the Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act (WIOA; 2013-2014) that legislates rigorous instruction for all ABE students along a pathway towards college and careers readiness.  Since students requiring at least one remedial college class have college graduation rates 27% to 39% lower than students who require no remediation (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2011), college and career preparedness is specifically defined as “academic knowledge and skills required to qualify for placement into entry-level college credit coursework without remediation” (Camara, 2013, p. 22).  Therefore, to meet the high stakes, we must prepare all students for the rigor of college and careers and propel them toward the point where the balance tips from economic disparity to prosperity.

Credit: sirtravelalot.Shutterstock

Serving diverse needs of ABE students

When we consider these high stakes alongside the diverse needs of our ABE students, we recognize just how tall an order we, in partnership with our students, must fill.  Each year, the ABE field serves approximately 1.8 million adults (Patterson, 2016) from a pool of 36 million who would benefit from ABE services (Coalition of Adult Basic Education [COABE], n.d.).  Adult English language learners (ELLs) represent the largest portion of this population and present a wide variety of educational backgrounds and levels of language and literacy development, including students with limited and interrupted formal education (Lesgold & Welch-Ross, 2012).  Native-born ABE students are equally diverse with wide variation in level of knowledge and skills, educational goals, and prior educational experiences (Lesgold & Welch-Ross).  To magnify these needs further, 29% of all ABE students self-report having a learning disability (Mellard, 2013).

As ABE educators, we are ready and willing to step up and mediate the melee of student needs.  However, a number of professional and programmatic limitations often leave us ill-equipped to do so.  According to Patterson (2016), 78.6% of ABE teachers are part-time, which limits the preparation time and commitment teachers can provide.  Likewise, few ABE teachers have teaching preparation specific to the ABE population and limited professional development opportunities (Sun, 2010).  In addition, ABE programming is severely underfunded, receiving approximately one tenth the funding of the K12 system: $800 per ABE student in 2014 (COABE, n.d.) versus $11,009 per K12 student of the same year (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016).  Clearly, we are left with a tall order, indeed.

Rigor in instruction

What we can latch onto are instructional content and methods that offer our students an opportunity to meet this tall order as efficiently and effectively as possible.  Rigor may offer just this opportunity.  Researchers in education have defined rigor in a variety of ways.  The definition I favor is that of Hess (2014) which describes rigor as “the complexity of content, the cognitive engagement with that content, and the scope of the planned learning activities” (p. 1). This definition lends itself well to instructional considerations around content and material selection, deep student engagement, and the design of challenging learning tasks.

Regardless of the definition you prefer, rigor inherently requires the use of critical thinking and problem solving, skills that are overwhelmingly supported in the research as integral for success in college and careers (Camara, 2013; Conley, 2014; Foster, Strawn, & Duke-Benfield, 2011; Johnson & Parrish, 2010; Pimentel, 2013; Rothman, 2012).  Even adult learners who may not enter postsecondary education benefit from rigorous learning. According to Parrish (2016), when considering the increased literacy and critical thinking demands placed on adult ELLs as they compete in the job market and navigate everyday tasks, it is critical for ELL instructors “to imbed these higher order, more complex academic and career-readiness skills early and often at all levels of adult English language acquisition” (p. 3).

How well does ABE instruction deliver on its commitment to prepare ABE students for college and careers?  Johnson & Parrish (2010) surveyed college faculty and ABE instructors and found four critical gaps between what postsecondary faculty expected students to know upon entering postsecondary education and training and what ABE instructors were actually teaching: critical thinking, notetaking, technology, and presentation skills.  Of particular note, Johnson and Parrish found that 60% of college instructors regarded the critical thinking skills of paraphrasing, summarizing, and synthesizing as very or extremely important, whereas ABE instructors reported teaching these skills only sometimes or rarely.  Clearly, to deliver upon our commitment to our students’ success, we must better prepare them to meet the higher expectations of the future.

WIOA and its legislated rigorous content standards for all students provides the opportunity to do just that in earnest.  The College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards were designed to articulate the knowledge and skills needed to meet the rigorous demands of college and career readiness.  According to Pimentel (2013), these standards articulate three research-based instructional advances designed to increase instructional rigor by targeting high-impact cognitively demanding skills.  One of these key advances is regular student engagement with complex informational texts.  According to Williamson (2006), prior to the CCR standards, a gap of approximately four grade levels existed in the level of complexity between secondary texts and postsecondary texts.  In addition, the ACT study (2006) found the ability to read complex text to be the best predictor of college and career success.  Taken together, these studies indicate that developing the ability to read complex text may better prepare students for college and careers.

Credit: Shutterstock

According to Pimentel (2013), college faculty input and national assessment data indicated the use of evidence to be a critical skill for postsecondary preparation.  As such, the second key advance is a focus on student “reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text” (Pimentel, 2013, p. 10).  This focus ensures that students must rely on the text to develop their understanding, limiting the role of their prior knowledge and experiences and increasing the need to develop deeper understanding of the text itself.  Tied to this reliance on text is the third advance, “building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction” (Pimentel, 2013, p.10).  This advance recognizes the need for students to build their knowledge base through text in all content areas while developing the ability to read complex text and use critical thinking skills.

How do CCR standards live up to their design?  So far, there is little research available to support or dispute their effectiveness.  My dissertation, Minnesota Adult Educators’ Descriptions of Standards Implementation and Its Influence on Cognitive Rigor (Conklin Olson, 2017), set out to answer this question.  I interviewed 12 ABE instructors regarding their experiences implementing CCR standards in their classes and what they believed to be its impact on the cognitive rigor of their instruction and student learning.  Ten of 12 participants reported that their CCR standards implementation increased the rigor of their instruction and their students’ learning.  Participants described choosing more complex texts, implementing tasks that demanded increased cognitive rigor, and setting higher expectations for students.  In reference to student learning, participants reported that their students demonstrated higher levels of rigor, met increased expectations, and experienced increased confidence and self-reliance.  Obviously, more research is needed to measure the impact implementation of rigorous standards has on the learning outcomes of ABE students.  However, this small study offers a hopeful glimpse into its potential.

Even if we knew unequivocally that imbedding rigor via CCR-aligned standards would result in more successful student outcomes, we would still need to build our own knowledge and skills to exploit its potential to the fullest.  The LINCS website, under the auspices of U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, contains a full battery of professional development resources designed to train educators to enact rigorous instruction and effective implementation of CCR standards.  Equipped with high-quality, CCR-aligned instructional resources (be sure to access publisher-provided correlation charts or request them if not available), we are on our way to facilitating the high returns we envision for our students.

It’s true that a focus on college and career readiness demands a disconcerting concerted effort on the part of us and our students.  Yet, when we acknowledge the high stakes our students face, we recognize that these high stakes necessitate the tall order of preparing all students along a pathway to college and careers.  To fill that tall order, we must believe in the glitter of rigor, not as a flash in the pan, but as a 24-carat commitment to provide rigor-rich content, rigorous student engagement with that content, and rigorous knowledge and skill building along a pathway to college and careers.  True, all that glitters is not gold, but rigor…well, it just may be the real deal.


Lia Conklin Olson, PhD has been an instructor for St. Paul Adult Education for twenty years.  In addition, she is an adjunct professor for the Teaching English as a Foreign Language program at Hamline University and a curriculum developer of College and Career Readiness standards-aligned curriculum for Minneapolis Adult Education.  Dr. Olson is the author of the New Readers Press series What’s Next? (2012) and Bridging English Language Learners to GED Prep teacher’s guides (2017) as well as the series consultant for Road to Work (2017).  Dr. Olson focused her PhD dissertation on CCR standards implementation in Minnesota (Adult Basic Educators’ Descriptions of Standards Implementation and Its Influence on Cognitive Rigor; 2017).


The new edition of Future: English for Work, Life, and Academic Success integrates English language instruction with workforce, academic, and soft skills and the latest digital tools in one complete program. Built on the backbone of College and Career Readiness (CCR) and English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards, Future empowers students to successfully reach their work, life, and academic goals.

The new edition features increased rigor built into all lessons at every level that challenges students to analyze, evaluate, predict, infer, and problem-solve. Future‘s curriculum closely aligns with WIOA, NRS, ELPS, and CCRS. The skills and competencies are fully and seamlessly integrated in every lesson of the program, equipping learners with higher order skills to help them achieve their personal, professional, and educational goals. Future, 2E is the best solution to ensure your students’ success.

Learn more at www.pearsoneltusa.com/future2e

 

References

ACT. (2006). Ready for college, ready for work: Same or different. Iowa City, IA: Author.

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files/3-PI-%20ELA.pdf

Camara, W. (2013). Defining and measuring college and career readiness: A validation

framework. Educational Measurement: Issues & Practice 32(4), 16-27. doi:10.1111/emip.12016.

Coalition on Adult Basic Education (n.d.). Adult education is needed now. Retrieved (3-3-2017)

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Conley, D. T. (2014). The Common Core State Standards: Insight into their development and

purpose. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from http://cusd200.org/cms/lib7/IL01001538/Centricity/Domain/38/CCSS_Insight_Into_Development_2014.pdf

Foster, M., Strawn, J., & Duke-Benfield, A. E. (2011). Beyond basic skills: State strategies to

connect low-skilled students to an employer-valued postsecondary education. Washington, DC: CLASP Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/ resources-and-publications/publication-1/Beyond-Basic- Skills-March-2011.pdf

Hess, K. (2013). Cognitive rigor in today’s classroom. Measured Progress. Retrieved from

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Johnson, K., & Parrish, B. (2010). Aligning instructional practices to meet the academic needs of

adult ESL students. TESOL Quarterly, 44, 618–628. doi: 10.5054/tq.2010.230742_2.

Lesgold, A. & Welch-Ross (Eds.). (2012). Improving adult literacy instruction: Options for

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LINCS [Website].  Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education:

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Mancuso, D. (2015). Impact for WorkFirst participants of reaching the ‘tipping point’. (Briefing

Document). Department of Social & Health Services. Retrieved from http://www.sbctc.

edu/resources/documents/colleges-staff/programs-services/basic-education-for-adults/WorkFirst-Tipping-Point.pdf

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literacy. Perspectives on Language and Literacy 39(2), 13-16. Retrieved from

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Parrish, B. (2016). Meeting the language needs of today’s adult English language learner (Issue

Brief). Literacy Information and Communication System. Retrieved from

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Olson, L. C. (2017). Adult Basic Educators’ Descriptions of Standards Implementation and Its

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Patterson, M. (2016). Full-time instructional staffing and outcomes of advanced adult learners.

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DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Retrieved from http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/ CCRStandardsAdultEd.pdf

Rothman, R. (2012). A common core of readiness. Educational Leadership, 69(7), 10-15.

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Sun, Y. (2010). Standards, equity, and advocacy: Employment conditions of ESOL teachers in

adult basic education and literacy systems. TESOL Journal 1(1). doi: 10.5054/tj.2010.215135.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2016) Public Education Finances: 2014 (G14-ASPEF). Educational

Finance Branch. U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/

content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/econ/g14-aspef.pdf

Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (2005). Building pathways to

success for low-skill adult students: Lessons for community college policy and practice from a longitudinal student tracking study (the “Tipping Point” research).  (Research Report No. 06-2). Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED496218.pdf

Wiley, A., Wyatt, J., & Camara, W. J. (2011). The Development of a Multidimensional College

Readiness Index. Research Report 2010-3. College Board.

Williamson, G. L. (2006). Aligning the Journey with a Destination: A Model for K-16 Reading

Standards.  (White Paper). Durham, NC: MetaMetrics, Inc.  Retrieved from https://www.georgiastandards.org/resources/Documents/AligningJourneyWithDestination_MetaMetricsWhitepaper.pdf

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from http://www.doleta.gov/wioa

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services for immigrants and refugees. In A. Belzer (Ed.), Toward defining and improving quality in adult basic education: Issues and challenges (pp. 221–240). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.