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Dear Colleagues:

If you are new or returning to this group, or even if it's just been a while(!), please (re)introduce yourself by commenting in this thread. Tell us your reasons for joining us -- what would you like to get from your involvement here?

I'm Cynthia Zafft, the moderator for our group.  You can find out more about me by clicking on my picture and looking under 'profile.'

You might also wish to (re)familiarize yourself with the threads that have been discussed so far. Feel free to continue the conversations in any of the threads -- It's never too late to join the conversation. You can find them by clicking on the Discussions tab in our group.  If there are discussions you would like to save and return to, use the Bookmark feature at the bottom of the first discussion post.

And you can engage in other ways, such as clicking on “Like” to like a post or comment or by participating in polls, for example. Or by adjusting your settings to receive an email notice each time a new message is posted (currently it defaults to sending a 12-hour digest).

Feel free to contact me direct if/as you have questions. I’m happy to help: or 617-385-3650

We're happy to have you join us and I look forward to hearing from you.


Postsecondary Completion Moderator


Marissa Cochran's picture

Good afternoon,

It is a pleasure to be a new member to the LINCS community. I am the curriculum specialist for the Department of Labor Grant at Amarillo College. We work with 10 programs to ensure program alignment (industry standards, competencies, learning outcomes, etc.). Our goal is to have 70% completions by 2020. Currently, we have a multi-campus competition to develop the winning action plan to help make this happen...more on this as our project progresses.

I look forward reading more about everyone's work.



Cynthia Zafft's picture

Greetings, Marissa!

Welcome to the Postsecondary Completion community!  Wow, this sounds like a great project.  We'd love to hear more about what makes a willing action plan when you get to that point.


Valerie Montoya's picture

I serve as the Vice President of Academic Programs at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, a national Indian community college located in Albuquerque, NM.

Cynthia Zafft's picture

Hi Valerie:

I wonder if you could tell us about what makes a college a national Indian community college.


Valerie Montoya's picture

SIPI is federally funded and operated under the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), U.S. Dept. of the Interior.  We admit students who are members of federally recognized tribes throughout the U.S. In any given trimester we will enroll students from 60-70 different tribal nations from approximately 23 states.  Students are primarily from the Navajo Nation, Pueblos in New Mexico, and Apache.  We offer associate degrees.

Cynthia Zafft's picture

Hi Valerie:

I got a chance to visit your college's website:  Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.  The associate degree and certificates look really interesting.  How do students typically find out about your institution or other SIPI institutions?


Charles MacArthur - U Delaware's picture


I am a professor at the U of Delaware. With Dick Venezky, I developed and evaluated a curriculum for teaching decoding and spelling to adult basic education learners a few years ago, which is still available on LINCS ( More recently, I have developed a curriculum for developmental writing in community colleges based on strategy instruction. Initial experimental results were very positive, so we got more funding to conduct a large experimental study across multiple community colleges. If you are interested in participating, let me know.

Charles "Skip" MacArthur

Michael Cruse's picture

Hi, Skip -

Thanks for sharing your research with us.  I see that your teachers' and administrators' guide includes a section on special considerations for "Non-native English Speakers.  I'm curious if your work has suggestions, or considerations, for learners with language-based disabilities, such as Dyslexia?  I notice that in the references section, you list Phases of word learning: Implications for instruction with delayed and disabled readers, as one of your resources.  If you can share any thoughts on how the larger experimental study may address these learners' needs, it would be great to hear.


Mike Cruse

Disabilities in Adult Education Moderator

Charles MacArthur - U Delaware's picture

Thanks for your question, Mike. In our earlier research on instruction in decoding with ABE learners, about half of the native speaking learners reported that they had previously been identified with learning disabilities; it is probably that many others also had LD. The students with LD were generally the lowest performing in all areas of reading - decoding, spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension. We also found that the non-native learners, as a group, made significantly greater gains as a result of the instruction than the native-speaking group. One explanation of this finding is that the native learners had weak reading skills due to disability, while part of the poor performance of the non-native speakers was due to remaining difficulties with English. The message is that learners with LD will need more intensive instruction than our program provided. Teachers would need to carefully  monitor progress and re-teach particular decoding/ spelling skills to those learners, or differentiate by using even more explicit methods. Of course, this is not a new message.

In our current basic writing research, we do not diagnose whether students have disabilities or differentiate instruction based on disability; we simply work with the writing skills and knowledge that students bring to the class. The instruction is designed for struggling writers, using methods that have been shown to work well with students who have disabilities and other struggling learners -- self-regulated strategy instruction. We work to mastery. We encourage instructors to provide extra instruction as needed to students to make sure that 1) they can explain and apply the strategies, 2) their writing has improved, and 3) they see themselves that their writing has improved -- this last is critical to motivation.