Assessment for AE Online Course Plans, January - March 2020


From January 27 through March 9, practitioners are participating in a LINCS online course that explores fundamental ideas of assessment for adult literacy learners. Here course participants will share their plans for applying what they have learned in the course with their learners.

We encourage you to explore the ideas and plans posted here and reply with comments, questions, experiences and ideas for supporting effective assessment in adult education. 


I planned on meeting with each of my students as they enter into the program and work with them on setting personal learning goals.  Sometimes these goals are exceptionally personal and at other times it is just to achieve their diploma and move on.  I work with each student to set their goals and help them figure out a timeline to achieve them.  As we move forwards I do my best to not only support them but keep them moving forwards all the while using formative assessment to endure that they are learning and that the way I am teaching is working for them.  We will review their goals on a common timeline that we agree to.  HOw we know that we are moving is based on many things their self-confidence, the ability that they gain to see their increase of skills and the formative assessments that I use along the way that we can use as proof.

Activity Description 

When a new student joins my case load and I meet with them, I would like to have them develop some personal, SMART goals, both short and long term, which will then be posted in my classroom. During one of their first appointments, I would provide a mini lesson surrounding developing SMART goals and how to create action steps to achieving goals. Students will then generate 3 short term and three long term goals, with action steps to achieve them. I will then post these in my classroom for folks to view and revisit. I would schedule goal visitations every 3, 6, 9, 12, months and so on so that students may check in on goals that have or have not been achieved, reflect on why, and revise if needed due to new priorities.

Activity Purpose  (What result are you looking for?)

Posting student goals could be so meaningful. It’s easy to write goals on a piece of paper and tuck it away in a file or a binder and never actually look at it again. When you are faced with looking at goals you have set for yourself regularly, it sparks reflection and increases personal and interpersonal accountability. Your goals aren't tucked away and forgotten they are front and center, a constant reminder of why you're there. Revisiting goals can help keep students on track and help them build their understanding of what they are working toward and why.

Class Description  (Level and demographics)

This would be done with HSCP students ages 16+ individually, as they onboard into the program.

Resources Needed

SMART Goals worksheet

Space in classroom to post goals, i.e, bulletin board

Evaluation  (How will you gauge the impact of the activity on your students?)

Are students meeting their goals more now than they were before? Goals have always been a part of the PLP process, but it was more vague and never revisited.

Communicating with Students   (How will they know if their performance has improved?)

During the recurring reflective goal revisitation meetings. However, incorporating discussion of goals and how they apply to various projects is also important so that discussion of goals is ongoing!

My plan is to take one particular concept/skill and break it down into a series of mini-goals so the student can see both the progress made and the steps still to go to reach the larger goal.  (In this case, the larger goal is subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.)

I’m looking to have the student successfully reach the larger goal while maintaining confidence and motivation through achievement of the smaller goals.

This will take place in one-on-one instruction with an adult student who has no formal education beyond grade 8.

This student has expressed frustration with trying to deal with unlike denominators in the past—has a number of partial strategies and half-remembered procedures, but when faced with these types of problems on a pre-assessment, got quickly confused and discouraged. 

The impact of this goal setting strategy will be gauged by how effectively and successfully the student can deal with this type of fraction subtraction problem after meeting all the mini-goals.

This student will be involved in creating the mini-goals and will take a post-test assessment to compare to performance on the pre-test.




Ok, sorry if this is a repeat NEXT class should be one in "Tech Skills for an aging Educator!
 I am including my earlier post below, and using a timely response from a colleagueI I am going to /starting to implement a a strategy learned from class (Goal Setting)to hopefully have success in my #1 goal from day #1 ...increase seat time with my students!  I believe goal setting with my new students right from the start is the ticket, and my previously enrolled students that I inherited   and described in my "case study" below., as well my new student from just this past week.


Hi internet world of Group Discussions/Forums!

I am hoping the all CAPS in the "please" at least brought you in this far.
You are dealing with a double whammy at my end:  a tech dinosaur as well as new to the ABE world ( I am hoping this is going out to the Assessment Group within Teaching and Learning, BUT I am not even sure of that)...Geez.

Ok, here is where I need your help:

Background:  I taught in a public high school for 33 years, but my new role is as an ABE teacher/helper/Instructor...whatever I am supposed to call myself. now. As all newbies to the field in VT, we have to take an on-line, professional development course/experience on Assessment, which I felt I knew a fair amount about coming in, but am pleased to say I had plenty to learn and re-learn.  I was in the public school for the prelude to PBL, but was gone for the implementation phase.  As such, students having a direct hand in writing their own "graduation plans", starting  with goal setting is a new experience for me. As a newly certified teacher in the WBLC field as well (Work Based Learning Coordinator) I am "all in" when it comes to Flexible Pathways (Act 77 here in Vt as of 2013), but actual plan-reading. to say nothing of goal-writing within the plan is foreign matter to me.  I have read (and taken copious notes) on the course readings on Goal-setting for the student:  it's value, timing, reflecting, re-writing or adjusting, importance to buy-in and persistent, alignment  to instruction, anticipating and addressing obstacles, positive vs negative visions, etc (like I said, I am a good  note-taker).

MY PROBLEM:  I have been working with a few new students (to me therefore), who have ALREADY been in the ABE world before I came along, and I had no training/exposure to plan writing/reading and the critical piece it seems of goal setting by the student (with teacher help).  As I have somewhat missed the boat, I am now playing catch-up, to no fault of anyone but my "ignorance" alone, on trying to get these students to buy into the goal-setting piece (maybe I am being naive, and it would be just as difficult if I had been with them since day 1, with goal setting as my first task just after saying "hello?" 

In particular, I have one 19 year old drop out who, even though I have been using my kid gloves, trying to build up a working relationship with, wants NOTHING to do with Goal-setting (I have tried to give her simple examples (I think) such as how many times she wants to meet this week, how many lessons she hopes to successfully get dice.  It often comes down to just wanting to get the next problem done, asking how many hours left to get to the minimum 40 hours to re-TABE, etc.  Leaves me a little frustrated at times...I can't be the only one to jump into this boat mid-stream (i.e student came in to the ABE system before teacher,  who knew nothing of goal setting at first)?

QUESTION?  How do I get the student to buy into this critical goal-setting complement at this point (I should mention she is in the skill development phase of ABE help, not in the HSCP program yet, and is below 30  hours since starting over 5 months ago....big gaps in her Center time but is getting more consistent at  least in coming in to work with me).  Afraid if I push the goal-setting part too much she will drop out, and if I don't she will never be ready to assess successfully in the  TABE, whether or not that is being used as a formative or summative piece.

There it is.  I am not too old or proud to pull off the road and "ask for directions."  Until then, I am idling in the pull-off spot, stretching my legs (and mind).

Peter A



My plan is to focus on  goal setting with my 19 year old described above when we meet next week, using the timely suggestion from  my class peer in making her first goal something she has already completed, to build in some success right from the start (simple but effective I am guessing...wish I had thought of it myself but that is why we post/share...thanks Suzanne!

In the meantime, I picked up a new student just two days ago, which I have actually started the goal setting activities with right from the get-go...much easier than trying to get the settled -in students to try one more new thing...more apt to look as it in one more assignment for them

Activity Description: After our meet and greet, I explained that I was taking my own class, had my own goals that I had to write down,  and that goal setting has been proven to show success  for students and teachers...she bought it (I can sell anything if I believe in it) and the process went much smoother than I thought!  We started with what I called the "Big Goal" (creative, I know) and it had to come form her: she chose "Get my high school diploma" ( I bet you veteran ABE teachers have heard that one before) .  I ten walked her down a series of mini-goals (I abbreviated them and came up with 4-5 of them in the end, with the last two  (and therefore the ones we are starting with as Goal #1) as this:  Meet once a week together for the next month, and in between days she will shot for two hours a day at home working on her packet (the well known TABE Tutor doesn't have to be just the math part I am helping her with).

Activity Purpose:  Her small successes (meeting with me and homework time) leading to her Big Goal (diploma via our HSCP).

Class Description: 1 v 1 with said student (a 20 year old  student) who has not been in any school setting for the past year, and had a poor track record of coming to our ABE in the last 8 months.

Resources:  Concepts of Goal setting learned in the assessment class, including :  Topic 5 articles on Integrating Goal setting (center for New Americans), , Persistent Research (Meader), and especially helpful for me in their practice and doable approach was the article on Setting and Monitoring Goals (Comings), and my Peer Postings from class (real-life applications, including peer Thom's super list of goal challenges and solutions))

Evaluation: " The proof is in...."  well, you know.  The student will see success as they move up the progression of goals, and even their may be breaks in their efforts/attendance, etc hopefully they see enough success in where they did go, that they are willing to stat up where they left off, OR as we learned in class, simply re-visit their goals (which you should be doing regardless) and re-writing them if needed.

Communicating with your students:  The student will know how their performance is improving as we do small interactions/re-visits with their goals (weekly as they check in ) and if their seat time increases and their effort is there, then of course hoped for improvement in their formative assessments, summative assessments.. the level 5 in TABES hovering out there, and ultimately graduation we hope.



Activity Description


Performing a brain hack on students prior to testing.  The students will do a guided one minute meditation/mindfulness breathing exercise.  Then, while their eyes are closed, they will be asked to think about the saltiest thing they have ever eaten.  A few examples will be given, such as popcorn or soft pretzel.  Next when they all have a good mental image and have thought about how the salt made them feel they will be asked to imagine a salt shaker on the table in front of them.  Finally, they will pick up the salt shaker and shake it on their tongue.  Essentially, through suggestion I will make them think that they are tasting salt. 




Activity Purpose

(What result are you looking for?)


The purpose is not to just make them taste the salt.  It is to get them to relax, open up, get some blood flowing, and get reluctant participants to participate in the meditation with a little redirection. 




Class Description

(Level and demographics)


This will be done during orientation prior to taking the locator TABE assessment.  All levels and demographics can potentially participate.  It is not geared toward one or another.  Also, a student who is being progress assessed will participate as the last test she took was invalidated due to an anxiety attack. 




Resources Needed


Nothing other than chairs for the students to sit comfortably.





(How will you gauge the impact of the activity on your students?)


The impact will be gauged by group discussion about comfort and confidence levels before and after the exercise for the locator group as they have no baseline.  And for the progress student we will discuss how she felt prior to this test and the previous test, and if it helped her to complete it this time around.  Her test scores will also be compared. 








Communicating with Students

(How will your students know whether their performance has improved?)


The orientation group will not see improvements in testing performance as they do not have a base; however, they will be able to anecdotally comment on their testing experience in regards to comfort and confidence.  The progress student will see an improvement of hopefully less anxiety and an improved score.  Other factors can also contribute to this as it is a different test.



The students in the orientation group all participated.  This I consider a win already.  Most tasted the salt but that is not the point.  The point is they all reported feeling more relaxed with the experience.  Ultimately, stress levels were reduced which was the goal of the activity.

The progress student completed the test, and actually tried mindfulness breathing during the assessment.  During the activity she noted how her therapist had started using mindfulness so she already bought into the concept so the salt brain hack might not have been necessary.  But, she said she enjoyed it anyway.  She went up an NRS level in math.