An Environmental Scan of Adult Numeracy Professional Development Initiatives and Practices

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American Institutes for Research®

An Environmental Scan of
Adult Numeracy Professional Development Initiatives and Practices

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Division of Adult Education and Literacy

Prepared by:

American Institutes for Research

1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW

Washington, DC 20007-3835

Renee Sherman

Kathy Safford-Ramus

Anestine Hector-Mason

Larry Condelli

Andrea Olinger

Nrupa Jani

This document was prepared for the Adult Numeracy Initiative

Contract # ED-04-CO-0025/0007

TEL 202 342 5000FAX 202 342 5020WEBSITE WWW.AIR.ORG



A. Instruction and Professional Development in Adult Numeracy 1

B. Role of Professional Development for Numeracy Instructors 2

C. Purpose and Scope of the Environmental Scan 3

D. Organization of the Report 5

Chapters 5

Appendixes 5


A. Introduction 7

B. Collection and Review of Extant Materials 8

Essential Features 8

Desirable Features 9

C. Selection of Adult Numeracy Professional Development Initiatives 10

D. Preparation of Instrumentation, Including Guiding Questions 11

E. Data Collection From Selected Initiatives 12

F. Analysis Plan 13

Data Coding and Management 14

Data Analysis 15

G. Trustworthiness of Reporting and Research 15

H. Limitations 16


A. Introduction 18

B. Overview of Findings From the Research on Professional Development 19

Professional Development Delivery Models 19

Definition of Delivery Models 19

Interim and Follow-Up Activities 24

Implementing Agencies 27

Funding Sources 29

Professional Development Participants: Characteristics, Recruitment, Selection, and Incentives 32

Instructional Content and Materials 37

Instructional Strategies 40

Assessment Strategies 43

Initiative Strengths and Areas for Improvement 47

Recommendations for Sustaining Initiatives 51

C. Conclusion 56


A. Introduction 57

B. Research on the Characteristics of Quality Professional Development 57

C. Discussion and Evaluation of Findings 59

Duration 59

Collective Nature of Professional Development 60

Coherence 61

Content Knowledge and Materials 62

Active Learning 64

C. Certification Practices 65

D. Evaluation and Sustainability 66

Formative and Impact Evaluations of the Initiatives 66

Sustaining Professional Development 67

D. Conclusion 69


A. Program Features Worthy of Replication 70

Provide Multiple-Session Activities Over an Extended Period of Time and With Extended Participant Contact Hours 70

Use the Internet and Distance Learning Components 71

Use Instructional Modeling and Demonstration 71

Develop Learning Communities in Small Geographical Areas 71

Implement Standards-Based Professional Development 72

Integrate With Other State Activities 72

Use an Expert Model Coupled With the Train-the-Trainer Model 73

Implement Active Learning 73

Assess Instructor Change 73

Share Materials to Support Continued Learning 74

B. Recommendations for Sustaining Professional Development Initiatives 74

Maintain Good Recordkeeping Systems and Collect Data 74

Gain Support From State and Local Administrators 75

Create a Community of Learners 75

Build Follow-Up Into the Initiatives 76

Build an Evaluation Component Into the Initiatives 76

C. I Future Research 77

What Numeracy Instructional Practices Are Most Effective for Adult Learners? 77

What Numeracy Instructional Practices Are Most Effective for ESL Students? 78

What Numeracy instructional Practices Are Most Effective for Adults With Learning Disabilities? 79

To What Extent Are Collegial Videotaping and Peer Review Effective Professional Development Strategies in Adult Education? 79

What Core Numeracy Content and Skills, If Any, Are Essential for Adult Numeracy Instructors? 80

What Types of Certification Requirements, If Any, Should Exist for Instructors of Adult Numeracy? 80

What Are the Most Effective Ways to Assess Teacher Change as a Result of Numeracy Professional Development? 81

D. Developing and Evaluating a Research-Based Prototype of Providing Adult Numeracy Professional Development 82

Implementation Sites 82

Selective Enrollment of Participants 82

Delivery Models 83

Content and Materials 83

Instructional and Learning Strategies 83

Assessment of Participants 84

E. Summary and Conclusion 85

References 87



Exhibit II–1. Overview of Selected Initiatives 10

Exhibit III–1. Professional Development Delivery Models* 20

Exhibit III–2. Interim and Follow-Up Activities 25

Exhibit III–3. Selection of Trainers 26

Exhibit III–4. Implementing Agencies 28

Exhibit III–5. Funding Sources 30

Exhibit III–6. Participants’ Prior Experience and Methods Employed 33

Exhibit III–7. Participant Incentives 36

Exhibit III–8. Strategies for Determining Content 38

Exhibit III–9. Frequency of Content* 39

Exhibit III–10. Materials for Instruction 40

Exhibit III–11. Evaluation Strategies 45

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