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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: San Diego, San Diego Adult Education Regional Consortia

Contextualized Basic Skills Creates CTE Success

The Challenge

Target population is a mix of ABE and CTE students. The Auto Tech textbook is written at a 12th grade level, and the math required is more advanced than that demonstrated by many of the target students; many students score below ninth grade in reading and math as determined by the CASAS Employability Assessment Test. The instructors also required support; the basic skills instructor needed professional development in technical area; the Auto Tech instructor needed professional development in basic skills instruction. Collaboration allowed the instructors to design and contextualize the material to enable integration of reading and math instruction with Auto Tech curriculum.

The Solution

Two veteran instructors, one VESL and one Auto Tech, use a one-hour overlap in class schedules to work one-on-one or with small groups for guided practice or performance assessments. Each instructor used some of his/her curriculum hours initially to observe the other to learn the program area and to enable design of basic skills lessons around Auto Tech curriculum. Instructors meet weekly to discuss lesson goals and student progress to provide coordinated, well-sequenced instruction. Students are assigned a variety of tasks, including paper/pencil, PPT.,etc. to target learning goals. Instructors continue to collaborate to prioritize material for an introduction to the core series and support subsequent training.


A second cohort of students began the course in January 2015. Informally, persistence and performance of the pilot cohort continues to be tracked to determine the impact of the introductory course to overall success in the three modules of the job-training program.

The Data

All 20 students in the initial cohort completed the 11-week pilot, and 16 enrolled in the subsequent course in the Auto Tech sequence. Sixteen students demonstrated gains on the CASAS Employability Series pre/post assessment. In post-pilot interviews, 17 students reported confidence in their ability to succeed at school; 17 student articulated specific educational goals, and 17 students stated that the course had been beneficial to them.

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