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Goal Orientations of Low-Literacy Learners in Adult Basic Education: Some Issues for Adult Literacy Instruction page 3
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The Participants

Two adults, a male and a female, who were enrolled in an ABE program offered through a rural midwestern community college agreed to be observed and interviewed. Both were white native English speakers, and both had dropped out of high school. Each attended ABE classes twice weekly at a facility located a few miles from the community college. Both adults were new readers who had been diagnosed with one or more non-specific learning disabilities that had, presumably, affected their abilities to learn to read when they were in grade school. Sam, age 50, had attended classes for two years at the time of the interview, and Clara, age 42, had attended for one year. (Both names are psuedonyms.) Both individuals had been identified by the ABE program counselor as "exemplary" students who were willing to participate in our study.

As many ABE participants have learning disabilities (Vogel, 1998), the fact of these individuals' learning disabilities is not considered significant to the study. Instead, the participants are viewed as typical learners within the ABE population, distinguished only for their persistence and relative success within their program. Beyond difficulties with reading, their disabilities did not impair their overall abilities to function capably in their daily activities. Both were holding jobs and raising families; both were able to communicate effectively during the interviews.


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