El Paso Pre-Transition Project
The goal of this two-year (2007-2008) evaluation project was to assist the El Paso Adult Education Advisory Group in developing and evaluating a local model of college transition for English language learners in three community-based literacy programs. This came to be known as the El Paso Pre-Transition Project, acknowledging that adult learners need an in-depth understanding of the expectations of college to make an informed decision.
In conjunction with the Advisory Group, the NCTN staff planned, facilitated, and documented two planning sessions in El Paso, which included a brief review of the available research, creation of a theory of change document, charges for workgroups, action plans, and timetables. The NCTN staff followed up with monthly conference calls to help the advisory group discuss and trouble-shoot emerging issues and stay on schedule. The first pre-transition pilot began in November 2007 with a class of 13 students who received intensive study, 5 days a week for 4 hours each day for 14 weeks. At the completion of the pilot, the NCTN staff designed and tested data collection tools, in collaboration with the AE Advisory Group, and returned to El Paso for stakeholder interviews and focus groups, student surveys, classroom observations, collection of project documents (e.g., orientation handouts, course syllabi, etc.), and quantitative data (e.g., student TABE and ACCUPLACER scores). The final report issued by the NCTN documented the emerging pre-transition model, its development process, and recommendations for extension of the design and further research.
The El Paso Pre-Transition Pilot has informed the development of a permanent community-based transition option for English language learners. During the pilot phase, the advisory group leveraged additional funds for curriculum alignment from Texas LEARNS, bringing together adult and college educators. One of the adult education centers, San Jacinto, continues to offer pre-transition classes to their own students and other learners from throughout the El Paso area. Project staff members now share their growing knowledge through their local professional development center in Texas, the Far West GREAT Center.