Issue No. 20, September 13, 2011


The E-News reports on CAAL's programs and publications, including follow-up activities related to the National Commission on Adult Literacy.  It also presents news about nationally significant work by the federal government and other entities in adult education and workforce skills development.  Occasionally, profiles on exemplary state and organizational efforts are offered, as are articles on topics of strategic interest to policymakers and planners. 


In This Issue:     



  • Facing the Challenge of Numeracy in Adult Education (Chisman)   
  • ROI from Investing in Workforce Development (Sum)


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arrowFACING THE CHALLENGE OF NUMERACY IN ADULT EDUCATION was released today by CAAL.  This 42-page report, written by project director Forrest Chisman, is the final report on CAAL's two-year Adult Numeracy project.  As the Foreword to the publication notes, the topic is one of the most complex, neglected, and important areas of adult education. 


The report makes a strong case for shifting from the current emphasis on traditional math instruction in adult education to instruction in a more comprehensive set of "numeracy" skills.  It urges that despite current state and national economic constraints, we get started down the numeracy path without further ado.  One major area of focus in the report is the articulation problems that exist between ABE preparation for the GED and between the GED and college placement based on COMPASS).  Another is the paucity of math instruction for adult ESL students with low levels of prior education.  The report offers an array of suggestions to reform adult education math in a number of areas including curriculum design, measures of assessment, and teacher training and recruitment.  It urges OVAE of the U.S. Department of Education to take the leadership role.


arrowROI From Investing in Workforce Development is a 4-page CAAL policy brief prepared on September 9, 2011 by Andrew Sum, a member of the CAAL board and Director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.  It summarizes the key ROI findings since the 1990s on the effectiveness of workforce development programs for low-income adults and dislocated workers in the U.S.   


Other useful ROI resources are:  (1) "How Effective Are Workforce Development Programs? Implications for U.S. Workforce Policies in 2010 and Beyond" by Christopher King and Carolyn Heinrich, Ray Marshall Center, University of Texas, October 19, 2010; (2) "Local Investments in Workforce Development: 2011 Evaluation Update," by Tara Smith, Christopher King,and Daniel Schroeder, Ray Marshall Center, April 2011; (3) "Educational Outcomes of I-BEST," Davis Jenkins et al, 2009; and (4) The Return on Investment (ROI) from Adult Education and Training: Measuring the Economic Impact of a Better Educated and Trained U.S. Workforce," Lennox McLendon, Debra Jones, and Mitch Rosin, McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011. 










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