« back to Emerging Practices

Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Wendy Miller, San Francisco Adult Education Consortium

I-BEST: Consortium scales up a successful model

The Challenge

San Francisco is a gateway city for immigrants from all over the world. Recent data show that roughly 182,000 city residents speak English poorly – or not at all. Nearly 60 percent of the current AEBG students have low English proficiency, and many of those lack basic skills education in their native language, as well. The challenge that the San Francisco Adult Education Consortium faced was helping the newcomers access basic education and skills training, while they acquired adequate English to become employable. The consortium’s goal was to provide a pathway to greater independence and success.

The Solution

To address the challenge, consortium member City College, as the primary provider of adult basic education in San Francisco, launched an initiative based on the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training, or I-BEST, model. In this initiative, called Supported Instruction, the college teams a content instructor (the instructor of record) with an English as a second language (ESL) or Transitional Studies (TRST) instructor (resource partner) to create teaching strategies that help English language learners gain technical and study skills while they simultaneously acquire sufficient language skills to advance.


Under this model, student success has improved measurably in the participating career technical education (CTE) programs, which include Child Development, Health Education, Culinary, and Business. City College is continually expanding and improving this practice by increasing the number of CTE supported-instruction classes. The college also is creating seamless pathways down to the newcomer program in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), as well as up to credit CTE sequences. The college is in the process of tracking longitudinal student outcomes data but already has seen great enthusiasm and teamwork between SFUSD teachers and the various departments involved at City College. The college currently has 18 active I-BEST classrooms, and is looking to increase that number in the spring 2018 semester. A Community of Practice of participating instructors meets at least twice a semester to share ideas and resources and further develop their skills.

The Data

The success of this project is being measured in several ways. First, the college wants to establish a stable group of faculty teams, continue expanding the types of content classes employing these strategies, and increase the number of class sections. We also track student data, looking for increases in numbers enrolled and retained, improved progression through a sequence of courses, and improved learning outcomes. Preliminary data from the first two semesters has shown increases in course success rates and in average hours of attendance. Another success metric we hope to see in coming years is greater numbers of students transitioning from SFUSD's Newcomer Program to CCSF, and then on to some completion or award.

Anecdotally, feedback from the instructors has been extremely positive. One said, “My curriculum and pedagogy have changed as a result of my collaboration. I have incorporated more classroom activities and assignments designed to gradually improve reading and writing skills over the course of the two-semester program. I’ve seen the students’ skills improve in real time.”

3 people found this practice story helpful.

Did you find this helpful?