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Focus On Basics

Volume 6, Issue D ::: February 04

The GAP Program

Not just post secondary institutions are examining their policies: many adult basic education (ABE) programs are, too. Recognizing the need to bring students' academic level up before entering into community college, this ABE program reached out to a nearby community college to create this college preparation program.

Almost every seat in this remedial math class is taken. The students take a moment to review their last homework assignment, converting word problems into algebraic expressions, and then the first hand goes up. 

"Question 10," a student calls out. 

Eddie Rose, the instructor, turns to the whiteboard and responds, "Read the word problem to me and tell me how to write it on the board."

As the student reads through the word problem, she also tells Eddie how to change the words into a series of numbers, signs, and parentheses. Once finished, Eddie turns to the class, and says, "Does everyone agree with what's on the board?" A few heads shake disapprovingly.

"Okay. So what needs to be changed?" A couple of students make suggestions and once the equation is perfected, the class works together to get the answer. Once the problem is solved and all heads nod in agreement about the process and the answer, another student calls out the next problem to work through.

This remedial math class is unlike the majority of remedial math classes offered at community colleges throughout the United States. Why? Because this math class is not housed on a college campus but at a local adult education center: the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center (NHACEC), in New Haven, CT. Students at NHACEC have the opportunity to take remedial courses before they attend community college and they can do it for free. A strong collaboration with their local community college, Gateway Community College (GCC), enables NHACEC to offer students six remedial-level courses at absolutely no cost to the student. Students who participate in the GAP Program, as it is called, have already earned their high school credentials, or are in the advanced General Educational Development (GED) and English as a second language (ESOL) classes. Both barriers are addressed through the GAP program. Even though these remedial courses are free, space is limited to students who are academically prepared to do the work. Students who are not academically prepared continue their studies in the ABE/ESOL classes.

The GAP Program was developed through the collaborative effort of Dr. James Boger, the Director of NHACEC, and Dr. Kendrick Dorsey, President of GCC. Funding comes from the NHACEC, GCC, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. NHACEC also provides in-kind contributions in the form of instructor time for these free remedial courses. It is a relatively small program, serving 70 to 80 students each semester.

The New England ABE-to-College
Transition Project

The New England ABE-to-College Transition project was launched in January, 2000, with funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Its goal is to enable adult literacy program graduates to prepare for, enter, and succeed in post-secondary education so as to help them improve and enrich their own and their families' lives. 

As of December 2003, 25 college transition programs in the six New England States are part of this initiative. They operate as part of adult basic education programs in diverse settings: community-based organizations, public schools, community colleges, and prisons. Regardless of the setting, each college transition program provides free instruction to adult learners in basic academic skills of reading, writing, math, and using the computer and the Internet. Students also learn study skills and receive educational and career counseling, and assistance in enrolling in higher education. Students who have successfully completed the college transition program and have enrolled in college are mentored to help them to persist.

This project was conceived and designed by the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education. The NELRC provides professional development and technical assistance to the transition programs and manages the project for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. 

For more information on the project, visit the web site at: http://www.collegetransition.org.

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