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Title: Adult Literacy Eunice Askov

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Adult Literacy: Eunice Askov
The National Education Goals Panel 1994 stated that, “every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights responsibilities of citizenship.” Although this goal was to be achieved in the United States by the year 2000, it has, unfortunately, become only political rhetoric and not reality. While many explanations for the situation could be explored, the purpose of this chapter is to focus specifically on two major issues related to adult literacy namely: assessment and evaluation of literacy, and recruitment and retention of adult learners in programs. These issues are particularly problematic given the trends toward greater accountability using quantitative measures in the conceptualization of literacy as workforce development. Exploration of these two issues may also assist in understanding why this national education goal was not reached. It is the author’s view as well as the constructivists approach to adult literacy education would help to address the central issues in literacy practice.
The Problem of Definition
First, however, the definition of literacy should be explored as a basis for discussion of the two issues. The National Literacy Act of 1991 defines literacy as: “ an individual’s ability to read, write, and speaking in English, and compute and also solve problems at the levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one’s goal, in developed once knowledge and potential.” This definition was based on an earlier, similar definition formulated by the National Assessment of Educational Progress 1986 panel of experts that led to a nationwide evaluation of the literacy abilities of young adults. This definition should be viewed, however, within historical context of an evolving concept of literacy that over time has moved from a school base model driven by the assumption that literacy for adults can be equated with that for children to a functional set of skills, or competencies to be mastered, to the more recent social and cultural notion of multiple literacies (see Merrifield, 1998, and the discussion that follows on the constructivist and social and cultural views of learning).
Nonetheless, consensus about what it means to be literate has never been entirely reached. The statement of Merriam and Cunningham, 1989 that the criteria for being literate remains elusive is as true today as a decade ago. According to Mikulecky 1987, cited in Taylor’s chapter on adult literacy 1989… “ It is unlikely that anyone will arrive at an acceptable level or criterion allowing one to accurately and usually state the number of illiterates.” Some for example, Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines 1988 argue that any attempt to define literacy in this way is a political act—that literacy is not an entity, such as a predetermined set of skills or knowledge, that one either has or does not have. Similarly, Lankshear and O’Connor 1999 argued that literacy is not a “commodity” but that “… literacy is practice… the practice(s) people engage within routines of daily life. The author of this chapter shares this view as will become evident.
The efforts on the part of education establishment to define literacy overtime has shown a consistent propensity to take a positivists approach toward the issue. In other words, they demonstrate an underlying assumption that there are identifiable minimum skills that everyone needs to function in our society, which the skills can be measured by “objective,” mostly paper and pencil test, and that their acquisition equates with such objectives as, for example, the “ability to compete in a global economy.” There is an even more alarming tendency in the literacy feel today, however, that is created by the funding process for program development the monolithic purpose for adult literacy program seems to be job acquisition. Others stated objectives such as achieving one’s goal and developing one’s knowledge and potential are largely been ignored. Another way to view this issue, to which these authors subscribes, is based on a constructivists worldview that defines literacy as those skills, knowledge, and practices that are needed to function successfully in the society of couture in which the individual is situated or desires ( and has potential) to be situated. This definition implies significant variations among individuals and forces on providing adults the skills, knowledge, and practices that they find most useful for their lives. It also questions stereotypical views on what a person of a particular race, gender, class can do. This position implies taking a critical stance toward the status quo in the field of literacy today and may run counter to the current expectations of funding agencies.
Assessment and Evaluation of Literacy
How literacy is assessed (and “illiterates” counted) actually indicates how it is being defined. Traditionally, adult education followed a school base model of literacy in which literacy achievement was assessed and reported in terms of grade levels even though these are clearly inappropriate for adults. In fact, standardized test yielding grade level scores have been adult versions of commonly used standardized achievement test for children. Although there is disagreements in the field as to the extent or degree of the difference between children and adults as learners, clearly the more considerable amount and variation of experience that adults have acquired differentiate them sufficiently to make “upgraded“ version of standardized achievement test for children inappropriate.
Student Assessment Models
Building on some early assessment models, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress 1986, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) defined literacy as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals” and to develop one’s knowledge and potential” ( Kirsch, Jungerblut, Jenkins, and Kolstad, 1993). Accordingly, the national assessment of adult literacy survey assessed literacy by analyzing the task and skills that compromise literacy behavior in the prose, qualitative, and document domains. The assumption is that skills and competencies that are assessed and mastered in one context are transferable to other context. (The rest of the commonly taught literacy skills, such as writing and speaking, were ignored possibly because they did not get their definition of literacy and/or because they could not be easily measured.) Then national assessment of the three domains were created to measure mastery of those skills on five levels with Level 3 being considered necessary to function in today’s society and workplace. The national assessment of adult literacy set a trend in the assessment of literacy skills not only in United States but also internationally. The international adult literacy survey (IALS) (Organization for economic Co-operation and development {OECD}), and statistics Canada, 1995, which is the international version of national assessment of adult literacy survey, was administered in six countries (in addition to the US data from the national assessment of adult literacy survey) to provide comparative data on the mastery of literacy skills. An updated version from the same source 1997 adds a data from five additional OECD countries. Furthermore, the national assessment of adult literacy survey data have also been statistically manipulated with the U.S. Census data to provide synthetic estimates of the number of adults at each level (national Institute for literacy, 1998) in a leadership attempt to raise consciousness about literacy problems in local areas. While the national assessment of adult literacy survey definition of literacy is not yet universal, the fact that the GED testing services raised the passing score on the GED to correspond to the Level 3 of the national assessment of adult literacy survey may lead to its becoming even more prevalent as a measure of literacy. Another national assessment of adult literacy survey administration in the United States is planned for early in this century to assess progress toward universal literacy as defined by the national assessment of adult literacy survey, which may further confirm its de facto definition of literacy. On the other hand, instead of analyzing the functional skills and task comprising literacy activities, as the national of adult literacy survey did, the national Institute of literacy (NIFL) launched a model called equipped for the future: a customer driven vision for adult literacy and lifelong learning(EFF) Stein 1995, that relied on participants perceptions of the skills needed to be a literate person. The model is based upon the responses of 1500 adult learners who responded in writing to the national education goals panel directive for adult literacy by stating what it meant to them. From the ethnographic analysis of these essays, for purposes of literacy in short options war identify, including use of literacy to gain information (access), to express oneself (voice), to take independent action, and to enable one to enter further education, training, and so on (bridge to the future). The analysis also identified three major roles for adults, as workers, family member, and citizen. EFF has forced on identifying the competencies for success in each world through “role maps.” Generative skills that cut across these roles -- communication, interpersonal, decision-making, and lifelong skills -- have also been identified in the process of development. This model is claimed to provide aid programmatic structure for comprehensive programs that no longer embrace a reproductive of the K-12 model of adult education with grade levels being the reporting framework for achievement. Attempts are being made through grants competitions from NIFL to involve the diversity of adult learners and providers in the process of consensus building. Assessment of literacy in this model is not definitive at this time although some type of competency assessment seems likely. Perhaps EFF, with its three identified rules for adults, will fare well in the environment of the new legislation that emphasizes literacy for work, family, and citizenship. The crucial issue is how progress and competency in each of these roles will be measured. Will the standards of commercial testing be applied, as suggested in the legislation, or will other means of demonstrating learning? Currently, no single assessment for measure seem to ride adequate information for all stakeholders (Askov, Van Horn, and Carman, 1997).
Program Evaluation
One of the major difficulties in adult literacy program is demonstrating student progress. What is the best measure of progress and impact? The adult education and family literacy act 1998 in the United States include the following as indicators of performance: (1) demonstrated improvements in literacy skills in reading, writing, and speaking the English language, numeracy, problem-solving, English language acquisition, and other literacy skills; (2) placement in, retention in, or completion of postsecondary education, training, unsubsidized employment or career advancement; (3) receipt of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equipment. The difficulties still remain in how to access these indicators, especially the first one. Politicians, assuming that adult education programs are supposed to prepare students for work, demand to know how many students have found productive employment. Students and instructors, on the other hand, want to know if students have met their own goals (regardless of whether these goals relate to work.) Students also want to see their own accomplishments through portfolios that demonstrate learning through students careful selected work samples from class (Hayes, 1997). However, program managers, who may be mandated by their funding agencies, often requires standardized testing as a seemingly objective measure of progress although the test scores usually do not indicate program impact and outcomes for students lives (Askov, 1993). In some states, such as California, were up adult education programs serve almost solely English as a second language (ESL) learner, there is a special need to address the issue that standardized tests are inappropriate for ESL learners (Guth & Wrigley, 1992). Unfortunately, it is difficult to find persuasive evidence of broad impact on adult learners and growth of skills and knowledge. According to both a recent program evaluation (Development Associates, 1994) and a study by the General accounting office 1995, evaluating the performance and quality of adult education program is highly problematic because of recurrent problems in collecting and analyzing information about program activities and because of high student dropout rates. The diversity of both Lerner and program goals is a major challenge to the program accountability. At the same time, several recent, large-scale, evaluation studies have failed to find significant overall impact of adult education or assessed literacy abilities, in either the educational component of welfare to work program in California (Martinson & Friedlander, 1994) or in adult literacy gains in the evaluation of the national Even Start Program that provides literacy instruction to children and their parents (St. Pierre, and Associates, 1993). Although further analysis of the national education of adult education programs (Fitzgerald and Young, 1997) identify some marginally significant gains in literacy test scores, the very high rate of attrition of participants and that longitudinal study, coupled with other data problems, makes be resulting slight increase tenuous at best (for example, they determined that persistence and adult education programs contributed significantly to reading achievement only in English as a second language ESL programs; negative persistence effects were are observed for adult basic education classrooms and labs.) Stitch and Armstrong's 1994 review of adult literacy learning gains also generally did not find convincing evidence of more than very modest effects of program participation of adult literacy development. Beder 1999 analyzed 23 of 89 identify impact studies, considering only the most valid and reliable studies and performing a case study of each. Then he performed a qualitative meta-analysis of these case studies, giving sure were studies more weight in the analysis of impact. The most common limitation of all studies was the large attrition of the learners between pre-and post testing. Another limitation was the variable length of time for instruction between pre-and post testing. The most serious problem, according to Beder, may have been the lack of testing validity since the test did not seem to measure what was being taught. These factors have made it increasingly difficult for the field to justify the importance of providing adult education services at public expense.
Student Recruitment and Retention
Student’s lack of motivation to attend and stay in adult education programs has been identified as a major research agenda item at the federally funded national center for the study of adult learning and literacy at Harvard University. The high attrition rate in programs can be attributed to various factors. In spite of all that has been written about making programs relevant to the needs of adult learners, many programs still offer “canned” instruction in the form of workbooks and/or computer programs that are not geared to individual needs. While adults may site childcare or transportation problems with a dropout -- and most do not hold multiple jobs with extensive demands upon their time -- many adults may leave because they do not receive what they came to the program to learn. Many adults also “stop out,” coming into and going from programs as their needs change. However, more subtle reasons may also exist. Cyphert 1998, and analyzing the discourse of blue-collar workers at a protection site, concluded that they are part of an oral culture – that “many have simply rejected the social, epistemological, and communicative presumptions of a literate rhetorical community.” Furthermore, Cyphert nodes that individual pursuits of academic achievement may disrupt personal relationships and mutual dependencies that have become functional and comfortable over the years. Adults may find fulfillment of their social responsibilities to their families and workplace more satisfying than individual achievement and empowerment. Literacy educators, in turn, may become first-rate it went student dropout just when they began to achieve success. Teachers may not understand the cohesiveness and security of the oral culture that they are not likely to comprehend or value. Furthermore, literacy educators are probably not aware of the on equal power distribution in the teachers to the relationship. Sometimes in the political rhetoric the student is betrayed as a victim of poverty, racial termination, or inadequate schooling, with the adult educator (or volunteers tutor) seen as a savior (Quigley, 1997). Students may reject this tactic and on equal power relationship. They may, furthermore, not feel comfortable the ethnic, racial, economic, and cultural differences between the teacher or tutor (often a white female) and student (often a member of a minority group). School, even an adult education setting, may also bring back memories of frustration and failure associated with K-12 education. All these factors contribute to high student attrition. On the other hand, instructional programs that truly value students cultures, and create situations in which equality between teacher and student is achieved through exchanging talents and skills, are more successful (Fingeret, 1983).
Impact of Program Purposes on Recruitment and Retention
in the United States, title II also called the adult education and family literacy act -- of the workforce investment partnership act of 1998 defines the purpose of the act, and therefore the purpose of adult education programs that can be offered with public funding, to: “(1) assist adults to become literate and obtained the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency; (2) a Cisco adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children; and (3) assess adults in the completion of a secondary school education.” Since the mid-1961 adult literacy programs were first legislated and funded, a tension has existed among the stakeholders about the purpose of adult education programs. The political rationale and the company rhetoric have been that the programs enables low-literate people become productive members of society. To justify funding, the numbers of people who do not hold a high school certificate is usually cited based on the assumption that a high school certificate is a basic requirement for employability and productivity in the workplace. More recently, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy Survey findings (Kirsch, Jungerblut, Jenkins, and Kolstad, 1993) have been sided with its alarming statistics with approximately half the adult population functions in at a plea for the modern high-performance workplace. Once funding has been secured, however, attention is usually turned to the concern for recruiting and retaining students. The program may be marketed to the consumer (that is, adult students) as meeting their needs rather than using the political rhetoric described above. However, many programs seem to have a revolving door in which students enter for a few sessions and then leave. Some for example, Askov 1991 have chewed it this problem with retention to inched option that has been designed on the K-12 model of six grade level expectations carried over to adult education without consideration of individual needs. In this paradigm, adult education is construed to be part of the formal education system instead of the non-formal education been you that emphasizes meeting the needs up individual participants. An alternative through the K-12 formal education model is the non-formal educational approach that makes education reveling to the immediate needs of the adult students. The role of the teacher is the model is to find out what adult need and deliver that in customized instruction. The assumption is that teachers are well-trained and capable of doing this. However, Wagner and Venezky 1999 point out that “... there exist remarkably few practical diagnostics instruments for use in adult literacy program, leaving instructors without sufficient information for tailoring instruction.” Furthermore, the 1998 US law states that one condition of the program funding is” whether the activities provide learning in real-life contexts to ensure that an individual has the skills needed to compete in the workplace and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.” Despite the reference to real-life contexts and the skills required for citizenship, the spirit of the law seems to be on changing individuals to fit the needs of society, especially the need of the economic system for reproductive workers. Rapid technological advances and global competition have only served to increase the national obsession with productivity. The assumption is that what is good for business and industry is good for society and for individuals. This issue can be examined within the broad framework of the sociology of knowledge. Rubensen 1989 discussed to approaches relevant to adult education: the conflict paradigm and the consensus paradigm. The conflict paradigm, Jarvis 1985 calls the sociology of social action, aims to redress social inequalities and make society more egalitarian. Historically, before federal funding became so Dominick, adult literacy programs were developed mostly as social action programs with the goal of improving the lives of individuals through increased literacy skills and resulting empowerment. Even today, the adult education literature is replete with stories illustrating “the quest for self-actualization” of students (Demetrion, 1998), as a core value of adult literacy programs. Alternatively, the consensus paradigm favors an education system that differentiates the preparation of leaders from that of workers, which it argues supports a stable and prosperous economic and social status quo. Such are seen as “agencies of socialization whose role is the allocation of manpower to of appropriate positions” (Rubensen 1989). Publicly funded adult literacy programs that fall the letter and spirit of the law tend to operate within the consensus paradigm, especially in the context of the welfare reform act 1996. Funds are drying up in the United States for general community education and literacy programs as well as for popular education (Freire, 1973) or “liberatory literacy” (Quigley, 1997) and are flowing instead into the arena of work force preparation by delivering welfare to work programs. As this happened, the voluntary nature of adult literacy program changes as participants must attend the job training and literacy program in order to maintain welfare benefits. The function of adult education in this paradigm is to provide only the knowledge and skills required for employability -- to perform one's role for the good of society according to Rubenson 1989. Job placement is carried out as rapidly as possible -- regardless of whether or not the individual has sufficient literacy skills to maintain an advance in the job -- for the vast majority of literacy students this means for minimum wage, entry-level jobs. The sole value of a high school certificate now seems to be as the minimum credential required to make the person employable. The current system of literacy ensure option the United States is based on a deficit model. Rather than viewing adult learners as competent in other aspects of their lives, as urged by Fingeret 1983, they are usually viewed by policymakers as deficient. Adult literacy programs are being directed by federal funding to try to fix those who are perceived to be a drag on society those who'll par unemployable, under employed, or incarcerated -- supposedly due to their low basic skills. It is not surprising that the adult learners themselves are not eager to enter programs that perceive them in this way (Beder and Valentine, 1990).
Constructivist and Social and Cultural Views of Learning
The evolution of models of literacy training has been paralleled by an evolution in learning theories. Bredo 1997 discusses evolution, identifying two major schools of thought that have dominated learning theory in this country for most of the century: behaviorism and cognitivism. These two periods aligned with the double thrust of the consensus paradigm mentioned earlier, towards an education for workers (behaviorist) and one for leaders (cognitive), the former being taught to behave without thinking, the latter to think without any resulting Praxis or action. Learning theory has also historically had a strong individualistic bias, being under the purview of the discipline of psychology. A third approach has emerged more recently, combining behavioral and comets of learning theories with theories from sociology and anthropology and cultural studies. The synthesis yields a view of that learning is socially constructed as situated in specific context. One of the tenets of what has become known as situated learning theory is “transactionalism” or “transactional contextualism,” a view of that learning occurs in collaboration with others in the particular social world in which they find themselves (Bruner, 1990). Bounous 1996 has shown that non-formal education programs in which both teachers and students learn cooperatively can be built on the assumption that knowledge is socially constructed. Literacy contents of skills cannot be taught in isolation from the learners’ knowledge and experiences and from applications and action. Learners construct new knowledge and skills through interacting with others and the environment and by reflecting upon these experiences. Learners that closely resembled the real world of the participants occur as a social process involving others. Learners, with teachers, can co-create the curriculum and construct their own knowledge. In this model “thinking and learning are fundamentally dependent for their proper functioning on the immediate situation of action (Bounous 1996). Also called the “practice engagement theory” (Reder, 1994), participants learn through “social situations in which literacy is encountered and practice.” They learn literacy practices through real-world knowledge and experiences, or simulations thereof, in which the skills must be applied, including interactions with others. From these activities learners construct meaning socially, not as isolated individuals, as a value laden process (Street, 1995). Teachers encouraged learners to become active readers by identifying and using their own background knowledge and experience and by negotiating and creating meaning before, during, and after reading. Constructivist learning, including the concept of situated learning, thus has great relevance to adult literacy programs, and the author's view. Teachers, with learners, can design instruction to meet the learners’ needs, interests, background knowledge, and skills. In fact, literacy activities become meaningful to the extent that they are needed in interactions with others and with the content to be learned. Common knowledge and experience of the participants are the basis for the literacy curriculum. In a family literacy classroom, for example, the common content could be the family concerns related to parenting decisions; in a workplace literacy setting it could be around be issues applicable in the workplace or needed for the job. Teachers can also encourage critical reflection (Shor, 1987) through questioning and discussion, a process that can lead to transfer from the classrooms with the learners’ daily lives. Teacher’s efforts, furthermore, can encourage transform of learning by explicitly teaching for transfer and offering practice in simulated or real world situation with others. For example, Taylor's 1998 comprehensive manual on the transfer of learning and workplace education programs in Canada describe strategies and provides case studies of transfer of learning. In other concept is also relevant to adult learning -- that of metacognition, learning how to learn or “thinking about thinking” (Baker and Brown, 1984). Metacognitive process provides the learning strategies that provide guidance when an immediate solution is not apparent. It includes both the knowledge about and the control of thinking behaviors and processes. For example, experience readers know and use strategies, such as using text structure, to better understand and remember information and complex reading materials (Paris, Wasik, and Turner, 1991). Metacognition also enables learners to monitor their own comprehension and self correct as necessary.
Recruitment and Retention from a Constructivist Perspective
One could expect a situated literacy learning model to have a positive impact on the recruitment and retention of students. As students become codesigner of instruction with the teacher, they become more engaged in the learning. The instructional implication for teachers is that they are no longer the authority figure but the facilitator and codesigner of learning experiences. The difficulty lies in assessment of it is be carried out by standardized tests that do not measure this type of learning. On the other hand, qualitative measures, such as student before meals, interviews, and observations, are appropriate for assessment and program evaluation in this learning environment. The challenge, then, is to implement the situated and constructivist instructional approach that foster maximum learning within the political agenda associated with the workforce investment partnership act of 19 that will determine how funding will be allocated to programs. What will be the instructor's reactions to the demands for greater accountability? Will they allocate the time required for the constructivist learning model, or will the temptation be to teach to the test in an attempt to produce gains that will assure the continued flow of funding? If they do the latter, will retention continue to be problematic? Will students really learn the content in such a way that they can use it in the everyday lives? Furthermore, the constructivist learning model may also conflict or complement, depending on implementations, with the national movement to towards skill standards for the workplace (National Skill Standard Act of 1994). If injection is designed around skill standards that relate to the learners knowledge and experiences, and if learners are encouraged work together in active learning and critical reflection to achieve the skill standard requirements, been learning can become relevant through the definitions provided in skill standards (Askov, 1996). On the other hand, if the skill standards are perceived as rigid standards of attainment that are taught with “canned” materials that do not engage the learners, then the constructivist learning environment will thrive, and learners may dropout programs.
Other Factors Affecting Recruitment and Retention
Technology is becoming increasingly important for the use with adult students as well as with instructors. The use of technology promises to enhance recruitment efforts and encourage retention in adult literacy program since learners often perceived the use of computers to be the modern way to learn. The fact that technology is driving the mole toward economic globalization and other societal changes (Bollier, 1998) makes the use of computers and other technologies even more important in adult literacy programs. Not only does it have enormous implications for literacy instruction but also for assessment (Wagner and Venezky, 1999). One result of the pervasiveness of technological innovations in society is the increasing availability of computers in the classroom. In fact, adult learners as well as their employers often view computer literacy as one of the basic skills needed to function in society. Technology use, however, does not guarantee effectiveness or student motivation. It constructivist learning model, however, can make technology very effective. Technology should be used in problem posing through simulation and microworlds that challenge adults with real-world problems that demand their application of basic skills (Askov, Bixler, 1998). Situational television programs, such as Crossroad Café and TV 411, likewise provide real world context for learning literacy skills. Computer word-processing programs can also be effective as students improve their writing and reading skills to communications with others. A more sophisticated application of this same process is through the mail and interactive use of the Internet. In spite of extensive efforts to train staff, professional development remains a difficult in applying technology to instruction, however. Inch doctors are sometimes hesitant to relinquish control of instruction and let learners create their own learning environment (Askov and Bixler, 1998). Furthermore, the software is sometimes difficult to locate. Family literacy may also provide motivation for adult students to participate in adult literacy program. Now made officially part of the adult education act, and the retitling of the act as the “Adult Education and Family Literacy Act 1988, family literacy is considered integral to adult education. The goal of the program is to improve parents’ literacy so they can help improve their children's literacy. The underlining assumption is that the intergenerational transfer of cognitive abilities in strong and that by improving parent’s literacy the children also benefits educationally (Stitch, McDonald, and Beeler, 1992). While several models for family literacy programs exist, many programs follow the model established by the national Center for family literacy. That model offers separate instructional program for adults and children, as well as time for parents and children to interact together -- time in which parents implement what they have been learning about parenting. Some researchers expressed concern that the program can lead to the imposition of middle-class values those of the teachers on to participants (Auerbach, 1989). Care should be taken that literacy activities that the parents are to implement with their children are consistent with, and enhance, the culture of the participants. Finally, recruitment and retention issues cannot be successfully address without that are trained inch doctors. Professional development is also being re-conceptualized in a constructivist view of learning (Floden, Goertz, and O’Day, 1995). In this model, not only are students considered to be active learners, but so are their teachers who are also active adult learners, not passive recipients of knowledge that is doled out by an expert. As active learners they must make the new learning their own in order to incorporate that knowledge into practice. Bingman and Bell’s resource book for participatory staff development 1995, for example, follows this view. Furthermore, educators are not considered to be isolated individuals but as part of various networks that they can move in an alcove, depending on their changing levels of knowledge, interest, and needs. Building the capacity of these networks becomes important as they support the programs and individuals who work in various roles in the program. Instructors are also benefiting from participation in e-mail listservers on a variety of topics such as family literacy, workplace literacy, literacy and health, ES adult literacy, and adult literacy policy, all of which are supported by NIFL. With the field is becoming more professionalized through these efforts, the new legislation's emphasis on program quality will mandate greater accountability and professionalization then has been typical in the past. Service providers will either have to train their staff to meet these expectations or loose funding sources that were previously held.

Vision for the Future
The voices of all stakeholders and adult literacy programs need to be heard. Presently, the least heard a voice is that of the direct consumer, the adult learner, although some recent efforts are underway with focus groups of adult learners. If programs do not serve the needs, retention could continue to be a major problem. The new reader groups, Fortune, have been developing concurrently with the customer driven model for literacy and structure (EFF) promoted by the NIFL. Program alumni have been active in testifying before Congress as well as locally before funding agencies. They have assisted in recruitment efforts and attempted to make programs more responsive to adult learners. The small grass-roots movements have been supported largely by two national volunteer literacy organizations (Laubach Literacy Action and Literacy Volunteers of America) as well as the NIFL. While a doubt education should be viewed as a right, not as a stigmatized second chance program for those who have filled or dropped out from our school system, at the present time lifelong learning is only being given the service. Even those with high school certificates and college degrees and need additional education in the pursuit of lifelong learning in response to change society workplace (McCain and Pantazis, 1997). Some adults may not be able to assess their future education without basic skills instruction. Policymakers should broaden the concept of adult literacy programs to serve adults in all their basic educational needs infrastructure this learning environments. Many questions still need to be answered by research. Most of the funding for research has been centralized and the federal government of the United States and Canada (for example, in the US, most of the current research funding resides with NCSALL). View in symptoms for research in this feel are present to involved universities and researchers that are not part of the centralized federal funding. While a national agenda for research and development in the US has been derived from researchers and practitioners involvement (national clearinghouse for ESL literacy education, 1998; national Institute for literacy, 1998), many researchable questions remain and little support exists for answering them. Finally adult education program should not have to justify their existence solely in terms of preparing people for the workplace. Literacy program should be responsible for demonstrating gains in learning, but not in showing workplace employment impact. Literacy skills for community involvement as well as individual and family development should be considered just as important as insurance and progression in the workplace. Practitioners and researchers, as well as learners, who share similar views, must become politically active to make their voices heard. However, the workforce investment partnership act of 1998 has set the stage for the next decade and the US. It is now up to researchers to study the impact of legislation in an attempt to influence policy, and it is up to educators to provide as high a quality of basic education services as possible for adult learners in need within that framework.

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