The Literacy Communicator
Volume 11, Number 2 Summer 1996
In this issue:
OLN Studies GEDŽ on TV
GEDŽ on TV Survey
Annual Meeting Form
Citizenship Project Update
Since the publication of our last newsletter, we have received major contributions from
Honda of America
Nationwide Insurance Foundation
Ohio Electric Utility Institute
We thank these and all other donors who have made the Ohio Literacy Network a continuing reality.
Laura Weisel, Ph.D., of the TLP Group, and Rick McIntosh, Field Staff Representative of the Central/Southeast Ohio ABLE Resource Center, will present a session focusing on how adult basic and literacy education programs can help adult learners practice the skills of working. While the basic skills of reading, writing, and math relate to employability, other necessary employee skills include the ability to work in teams, communicate professionally, manage time, and work with supervisors. Modeling and practicing the behavior, expectations, and responsibilities of the workplace in the classroom can be an effective way of teaching the skills that employers demand of today's workers. This session will present practical methods for incorporating work skills into the learning environment. Jean Opliger, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, and Michael Searcy, Vice President of Human Resources of the Seaman Corporation, will collaborate on a presentation that will offer guidelines for developing educational provider-employer partnerships. Some of the areas that they will address include: identifying potential partners and their assets, establishing partnership roles and responsibilities, determining "customer" needs, seeking compatibility of goals among partners, and establishing effective communication strategies among partners.
Finally, a panel composed of personnel from some of the programs in Ohio that have included work readiness components into their instruction will be featured. Deena Kaufman of Read for Literacy in Toledo, Jeanne Lance of Columbus Literacy Council, Amy Leedy of the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, Sharon Lewis who works with personnel at Maplewood JVS, and Thelma Slater of Canton City Schools will explain their initiatives to help adult learners become workplace ready.
The ALF meeting at the OLN Annual Meeting will serve as a planning session to determine a focus for ALF activities for the upcoming year. As has been true in the past, a special Annual Meeting registration fee of $15 has been established for adult learners. Literacy professionals are urged to inform their students about ALF and to bring an adult learner to the meeting to participate in ALF.
The literacy ad campaign, Illiteracy: It's Not a Laughing Matter, will continue this year thanks to financial donations from Honda of America, Ohio Newspaper Association (ONA), and the Ohio Electric Utility Institute (OEUI) and the contribution of time and talent by Ohio-based syndicated cartoonists. Contributions of $10,000, $2,000, and $1,500 respectively have been received from Honda, ONA, and the OEUI. Peter Guren, who draws the "Ask Shagg" cartoon, will once again coordinate the efforts of the cartoonists.
Two new cartoons are expected to be produced by early September and distributed to newspapers around the state. The ads will contain the Ohio Literacy Network's toll-free phone number, but as in the past, newspapers will be urged to include a local number in the ad as well.
A total of eight cartoons have been produced since this literacy ad campaign was launched in 1992. The Ohio Newspaper Association estimates that approximately $500,000 in ad space has been donated for publication of the ads since the project
The GEDŽ on TV series is produced by Kentucky Educational Television (KET)--Kentucky's statewide public television system. Since 1982, KET has made GEDŽ on TV programs available for use outside of Kentucky by selling program tapes and issuing broadcast licenses.
The first step in the OLN study was to determine how states holding GEDŽ on TV broadcast licenses made the program available to viewers. In early 1996, telephone interviews were conducted with personnel in 14 of the states identified by KET as licensees for the series. During the interview, survey respondents were asked questions about funding for broadcasting the series, staff devoted to implementing GEDŽ on TV activities, methods for enrolling and supporting learners, and follow-up and evaluation activities. The following is an overview of the findings.
FUNDING LEVEL: How much money do the surveyed states spend for GEDŽ on TV initiatives? The amounts range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars. Those states for which funding is low generally purchase a broadcast license and arrange with a public television station or stations to air the program for free. Little attempt is made to promote the series, provide instructional support to enrollees, or track the progress of GEDŽ on TV students. The more dollars earmarked for GEDŽ on TV projects the more these other activities are pursued.
SOURCE OF FUNDING: Funds to underwrite costs for operating GEDŽ on TV projects primarily come from public sources. Some states have succeeded in obtaining private funds either through grants or fund raising activities. Frequently, 353 funds were cited as the source for GEDŽ on TV funding. A few states, most notably Kentucky and Indiana, are funded through a separate line item in the state budget. A couple of states indicated that they receive some support through their SLRC. Costs for smaller projects often are underwritten by public television stations that purchase the broadcast license agreement and air the programs.
MAJOR COSTS: For those projects that invest more than a few thousand dollars in GEDŽ on TV, the major project costs are staff, promotion, instructional materials, and license fees.
PROJECT STAFFING: Not surprisingly, those projects that actively recruit learners, provide support and follow up services, and evaluate impact, have staff whose sole or primary responsibility is implementing the GEDŽ on TV project. There is a direct correlation between the number of project staff and the scope of services offered by the project. Projects with the most funds (and staff) take responsibility for: enrolling and supporting learners, which often involves intake assessment using the TABE or other instruments; distributing workbooks; sending students a newsletter or calling them to provide encouragement; and answering course-related questions. These projects are also more likely than smaller projects to maintain data on the number of enrollees who take and pass the GED.
HOW PROGRAMS ARE BROADCAST: Most GEDŽ on TV projects utilize public television stations. In many cases, the public television station holds the broadcast license and administers the GEDŽ on TV project. Some states are exploring the possibility of other broadcast options such as utilizing community access cable stations.
ENROLLEES: Number of enrollees is directly related to project budget. Projects with budgets of a couple of hundred thousand dollars or more enroll on average between 1,000 and 1,500 learners per year. The smaller projects estimate enrollment of a few hundred adult learners or less. The larger projects that devote a portion of their budget to follow up activities can substantiate their enrollment numbers, while smaller projects can only estimate theirs.
The largest projects also make an effort to determine the number of GEDŽ on TV students who actually take the GEDŽ test. They indicate that 20% - 25% of enrollees take the GEDŽ test annually. Those states with limited or no GEDŽ on TV staff have no concrete data indicating the number of GEDŽ test takers who received their instruction from TV.
Larger projects have noted that enrollment in GEDŽ on TV peaks during the first year the series is offered and levels off in subsequent years.
ENROLLMENT PROCEDURES: When an individual calls to inquire about GEDŽ on TV, larger projects as a rule conduct an assessment of the potential enrollee to ensure that he/she is ready for GEDŽ study. The TABE is used by a few of the projects; other projects conduct less formal telephone assessments. One project surveyed uses the GEDŽ pretest as a screening device. Individuals determined to lack the basic skills necessary for successful GEDŽ study are usually referred to local programs for adult basic education.
Smaller projects generally do not assess potential enrollees. Frequently, these programs do not handle enrollment procedures, nor do they distribute workbooks. To purchase workbooks, potential enrollees are referred to KET or, as in one state, to a local bookstore that stocks the GEDŽ workbooks. Personnel in many states stressed that the successful GEDŽ on TV student must be self-motivated and an independent learner. During the enrollment process, a few states emphasize this fact with potential students.
TYPE OF LEARNER WHO ENROLLS IN GEDŽ ON TV: Two states, Indiana and Kentucky, report conducting thorough studies of their GEDŽ on TV students. The majority of respondents in both studies (80% in Indiana and 85% in Kentucky) said that they would not have studied for their GEDŽ if it were not for GEDŽ on TV. In other words, GEDŽ on TV, at least in those two states, seems to be attracting students who would not have attended a GEDŽ class. A large percentage of enrollees in both states (about 70% in Indiana and 80% in Kentucky) are women. Kentucky's survey results of GEDŽ on TV graduates reveal that graduates mostly selected TV instruction because they had difficulty attending GEDŽ classes when and where they were offered, had child care problems, or had transportation difficulties.
BARRIERS TO GEDŽ ON TV PROJECTS: Obtaining enough funds and overcoming resistance among some local adult basic education practitioners are the two most frequently mentioned barriers. Some projects that are funded totally or in part by 353 funds wonder how they will fare under new adult education legislation. Projects funded through a line item in the state budget know that they must continually prove their worth, particularly in a time of limited resources.
The most frequently mentioned non-financial barrier was lack of support initially, and sometimes long term, by personnel in local adult basic education programs. Some local adult basic education personnel viewed GEDŽ on TV projects, particularly the large projects, as competitors. Data indicating that GEDŽ on TV draws students into GEDŽ instruction who would not come otherwise, has helped allay
1. GEDŽ on TV is seen as a way of reaching adults who may not be able to attend GEDŽ classes. Data from other states indicate that the vast majority of individuals who obtain their GEDŽ as a result of watching the television series say that without the TV option, they would not have obtained their GEDŽ in the time that they did. Given this information, how supportive would you be of establishing a GEDŽ on TV project that would serve learners in your geographic area?
Very Supportive 5 4 3 2 1 Not Supportive
2. It is estimated that a GEDŽ on TV project, if implemented statewide, would cost approximately $200,000 annually and serve between 1000-1500 learners. A regional project is estimated to cost about $50,000 and would serve between 250-350 learners. Do you believe that a statewide or regional GEDŽ on TV project would be worth the investment?
3. GEDŽ on TV projects are funded in a variety of ways: direct support from the state legislature, 353 funds, and/or a combination of private and public funds. Would you be supportive of an effort to obtain a separate line item in the state budget for support of a statewide GEDŽ on TV project?
__YES __ NO
4. Do you have any reservations about GEDŽ on TV?
5. Which one of the following statements best expresses your opinion about a GEDŽ on TV statewide or regional project that would serve adult learners in your area?
__I believe a GEDŽ on TV project is needed and would strongly support it no matter how it is funded.
PROGRAM NAME (optional)
AREA OF THE STATE
THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING TO THIS SURVEY! JUST FOLD, STAPLE, STAMP, AND RETURN. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS From the survey data, several conclusions are apparent:
1. Generally, projects with larger budgets offer more services and enroll more students. More funds means more staff, more follow up, more student support, and more evaluation.
2. Major projects receive state funding in one form or another. This may occur either through a separate line item in the state budget, use of 353 funds, or use of other dollars in the state's education budget. A few states have received private funds for their GEDŽ on TV projects. Most states rely on public television stations' willingness to air programs.
3. Local ABLE program personnel may be resistant to GEDŽ on TV if they believe their enrollment figures will be negatively affected. This concern dissipates for most programs when they are faced with the fact that GEDŽ on TV draws heavily from the pool of prospective students who would not be served if not for the use of this instructional technology. Some local programs, however, remain resistant.
4. All that is needed to operate GEDŽ on TV is a license and a television station willing to air the program. Under this scenario, which is being played out in a few of the states surveyed, GEDŽ on TV has minimal impact. When attention is given to promoting GEDŽ on TV, assessing enrollees to ensure they are ready for GEDŽ study, offering support services, and monitoring progress, GEDŽ can succeed in attracting students whose needs are not met by traditional classroom instruction. To provide some or all of those additional services requires additional staff and therefore additional funds.
5. Per pupil costs for GEDŽ on TV enrollees from those states that can accurately determine them range from about $120 to $220.
In addition to studying how other states have implemented the GEDŽ on TV projects, the OLN wants to determine what adult basic and literacy education professionals here in Ohio think about the possibility of establishing statewide or regional GEDŽ on TV projects. Please take a few moments and complete the form on pages 3-4 of this issue of the Literacy Communicator.
Amanda Vig, VISTA Volunteer with OLN, and members of Adult Learners for the Future, OLN's statewide network of adult learners, are producing several easy-to read publications intended to help guide adult learners to become more active participants in their community and government. Publications include:
Voter Information Guide an easy-to-read version of the Secretary of State's brochure by the same name. The guide offers answers to common questions about voter registration, voter eligibility, and voting procedures. Guidelines for Taking Part in Democracy a publication designed for adult learners that addresses three components of citizenship: voting, communicating with elected officials, and volunteering. Voter Information Bulletin an easy-to-read version of statewide issues. Guidelines for Teaching Adult Learners about Citizenship tips for teachers and tutors of adult learners on how to incorporate topics related to citizenship into instruction.
For more information about this project call 614/486-7757 to contact Amanda Vig or Karen Scheid at the OLN.
Rick McIntosh is the Field Staff Development Representative for the Central/Southeast Ohio ABLE Resource Center at Ohio University. Mr. McIntosh is a recognized leader in the field of adult basic and literacy education and was recently recognized by the Ohio Association of Adult and Continuing Education as the 1996 Outstanding Administrator. He has presented numerous workshops at state, national, and international conferences, as well as provided technical assistance to business and industry and human and social service organizations. Mr. McIntosh is co-author of The Portfolio Assessment Handbook: Literacy and Basic Skills.
Jean Opliger is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. She serves as the Project Director for Diamonite 2000, a workplace skill development program. Professor Opliger's professional experiences have included the production of programs for workplace development,the design and implementation of programs for disadvantaged and handicapped learners, and the design of coursework for incarcerated adults. She has served as the President of the Ohio Association for Developmental Education and Vice-President of the National Association for Developmental Education.
Michael Searcy serves as the Vice President of Human Resources of the Seaman Corporation. He has 17 years experience in Human Resource Management, 12 of which were spent at General Electric. Mr. Searcy also has been employed at the National Alliance for Business, where he performed a variety of management and counseling roles.
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