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Bob-
I have been at two institutions in the past three years and I am struck by 
how everyone thinks the problem is unique to their school. "It's only the 
students in NY who can't read. Those high school grads in NV can't write a 
decent paragraph."

I think the challenge is not only to encourage literacy courses at the high 
school level, but to increase the amount of training teachers get in 
literacy at both the secondary and postsecondary level. That is, teachers 
who teach content courses may actually have to teach READING and WRITING! 
Ah, the horror! Students do need to improve their sub-literate skills, but 
they also need it reinforced once they enter college level courses. It is 
all about transfer of skills.

Can we admit these low level students to our colleges? I think we have a 
moral obligation to do so! In this increasingly literate society with 
aliterate people, we need to double our efforts to teach reading and writing 
to struggling readers and writers.

I would love to see more college collaborations with high schools in a 
natural attempt to increase students' skills, rather than a forcing of 
literacy standards by the federal government. Colleges need to take 
responsibility on their own, instead of waiting for a panel of "experts" to 
tell them what to do.

Michelle Andersen Francis
Academic Skills Center Coordinator
Western Nevada Community College
Carson City, NV
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Hackworth" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:38 AM
Subject: Re: Spam:*****, Low literacy levels in developmental reading and 
writing courses


> I'm disappointed that this message by Krader has received so little
> response.  Krader's colleagues are questioning the values and practices of
> our institutions.  They ask :  Can we professionally serve many of our
> students within the present systems?
>
> I know some great people in the system who are working to change it, but
> they are few in number and receive little support from colleagues.  You
> don't need me to provide specific examples.
>
> Bob
>
>> From: Geoffrey Krader <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 00:40:31 -0600
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Spam:*****, Low literacy levels in developmental reading and 
>> writing
>> courses
>>
>> A colleague of mine who teaches English initiated an online discussion at
>> our college about the literacy level among students placing into our 
>> lowest
>> level developmental reading and writing courses (his note is appended to
>> this message).  He asked me to share the note with all of you to see if 
>> we
>> could learn from experiences and insights at other colleges.  In 
>> particular,
>> do you see similar issues in your developmental reading and writing 
>> courses
>> and, if so, do you have any recommendations for dealing with these 
>> issues?
>>
>> Here is the note:
>>
>> Within the English dept. over the past few months we have been taking a 
>> hard
>> look at the two lowest levels of developmental reading & writing.  After 
>> a
>> good deal of discussion, here is our consensus, very much condensed:
>>
>>        Students at these levels demonstrate sub-high-school literacy 
>> (first
>> on standardized placement tests, later verified via classroom 
>> assessment).
>>
>>        We question whether it is appropriate to admit students with this
>> literacy level as regular, matriculated college students.
>>
>>        We also are very concerned about the phenomenon of very low 
>> literacy
>> students taking college-level courses at the 100 and even 200 level.
>>
>>        We question whether the current system is best for these 
>> students,
>> regarding their academic progress and related to other issues such as
>> expenses and financial aid.
>>
>> We would like to talk about other approaches to meeting the needs of very
>> low literacy students which might improve upon current practices. Some
>> possibilities that have come up include non-credit college-literacy-prep
>> courses, expanding academic ESL offerings, identifying community 
>> resources
>> for referrals, etc.
>>
>> Thanks for your comments and insights,
>>
>> Geoff Krader
>> Morton College
>> Cicero, Illinois
>>
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