The Iowa Department of Education, in collaboration with CASAS, initiated an English Literacy Pilot project during program Year 2001 (July 1, 2001- June 30, 2002). The overall goal of the project is to research and identify promising instructional strategies and curriculum offerings designed to meet the unique learning needs of Iowa's adult immigrant target populations. The project objectives are:

  • Certify a state-level English Literacy CASAS trainer;

    Identify appropriate assessment instruments to effectively measure and report skill level gains in the areas of speaking and listening as required by the National Reporting System (NRS);

  • Identify appropriate instructional strategies and curriculum materials designed to meet the learning needs of Iowa's adult immigrant target populations.

The Iowa Department of Education has identified an English literacy instructor at Kirkwood Community College, located at Cedar Rapids, Iowa who is in the process of becoming CASAS certified as a state level English trainer. Once certification has been achieved, a series of statewide staff development workshops will be conducted with emphasis on the instructional needs of Iowa's adult immigrant target populations.

The English literacy pilot project will involve 4-5 Iowa community college districts who provide basic literacy instruction to a high percentage of Iowa's adult immigrant target populations. The community colleges involved in the pilot project are:

  • Northeast Iowa Community College located in Dubuque, Iowa;

  • Eastern Iowa Community College District located in Davenport, Iowa;

  • Des Moines Area Community College located in Des Moines, Iowa;

  • Western Iowa Tech Community College located in Sioux City, Iowa;

The English literacy trainer will coordinate with the CASAS English Literacy team and the pilot project coordinator's to develop the project goals and objectives. The statewide pilot project is scheduled to begin July 1, 2001 and conclude by June 30, 2002 (e.g. program year 2002). Based on pilot test results appropriate strategies will be formulated for state wide implementation of common assessment instruments and instructional strategies designed to effectively measure adult student learning gains and provide the necessary literacy skills to effectively function in society and the twenty-first century workforce. The anticipated benefits of the pilot project will provide a research-based approach to effectively serve the basic skills literacy needs of Iowa's adult immigrant target populations.

February 27, 2001