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Supports and Barriers to Persistence

Step 2: Reflect on this research and your practice

First read:
"Sponsors and Sponsorship: Initial Findings from the Second Phase of the NCSALL Persistence Study." John Comings and Sondra Cuban, Focus on Basics, Volume 6, Issue A, October 2002.


In their research on how personal relationships help and/or hinder persistence, the authors identified personal, official, and intermediate sponsors as important supports for learner persistence. The authors propose that programs systematically identify students' sponsors and develop strategies for engaging sponsors to help learners persist.

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Next read:
"Stopping Out, Not Dropping Out." Alisa Belzer, Focus on Basics, Volume 2, Issue A, March 1998.

The author suggests that students and teachers may have different perceptions of what it means when adult learners leave programs. When interviewing students who have left ABE programs, Belzer found that those students who left planned to return and none expressed a sense of personal failure when leaving. The study revealed that various obstacles and supports create different outcomes for individuals and, while there is no single answer to the issue of retention, peer contact outside of class and the use of self-study materials may encourage lifelong learning.

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1. Read the research ::: 2. Reflect on this research ::: 3. Focus on your practice

Updated 7/27/07 :: Copyright © 2005 NCSALL