Where are We Now?
The vetting portion of the project is still under construction but coming rapidly to an end. Appendix 7 shows the overwhelmingly positive response to the project. Every rubric received over 90% approval with only a few comments. Some comments were from people who did not understand the project and wanted to impose their institution’s curricular patterns on others, ignoring the over-riding goal to remain universal. Remember, the purpose was not to fashion the descriptions as comprehensive documents but as tools for coding. Helpful comments are in the process of being incorporated into the final rubrics.
Because of the low number of responses in ESL, an entire breakout at the CATESOL meeting in April 2009 will provide the final vetting for the three ESL rubrics. As a result, their process for being finalized is behind the rest.
You can take a look at the rubrics. They are included in Appendix 8 and are being modified and improved even as this goes to press.
What Did We Learn?
This project is an example of what can happen when faculty, researchers and administrators combine their extensive expertise and creativity to solve a common mystery. As a result, we have a clearer picture of what students are learning in basic skills courses throughout the state. Recoding the courses will enable us to see how students are actually moving through the basic skills sequence. Most importantly, this work will provide vital clues to how we can serve them better. Perhaps three comments from the people who helped to create the rubrics best sums up the gains of this project.
Faculty in every college … will be aware of what needs to be done for students needing basic skills. We will make better decisions when developing our curriculum because we have a very detailed document to fall back on, especially, when we don't know where to start from; the descriptors and the levels are all in one place. It is like we have a road map for a very complex and demanding journey-helping limited English proficient students transfer, own businesses, or reaching any goal they have in mind in this English speaking society.
This is an historic moment. People at my table felt that our discussion was purposeful and healthy but nearly impossible on our home campuses.
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