Policy Basics: ABE student voices & experiences

A couple of recent reports support the policy work that is underway in BC this fall. These reports bring adult basic education student voices and experiences to the forefront of discussion and inform guiding principles for educational policy.

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Complex Pathways in Adult Education – A Longitudinal Study, Jill Auchinachie and Alison Bowe, Sep 2017


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Survey of Student Persistence, Success and Retention for Adult Literacy Fundamental English Levels 3 – 4, Lynn Horvat, May 2017


3 thoughts on “Policy Basics: ABE student voices & experiences

  1. These are great resources that add new data and insights to adult literacy education work. Just to begin to think with these reports, I was struck by the observation on page 8 of ‘complex pathways’ that how we see drop outs vs. persistence is changed by time scales:

    “One of the reasons for lower reported completion rates may be the influence of stop outs on educational pathways. For many adult learners following complex educational pathways, completion data analyzed on a term-by-term basis seems to indicate ABE course non-completions. When completion data is analyzed over longer periods, these same pathways record student success.”

    Rationale for cuts to ABE and for imposing rules to fund seats only on course completion in Vancouver and elsewhere stem from these shorter-range data grabs. That’s important!


  2. Lynn Horvat in ‘Survey of Student Persistence’ captures an important historical moment in ABE in BC, a ‘rogue wave’ (to use Auchinache and Bowe’s 2017 brilliant metaphor) in the form of the tuition fees and Adult Upgrading Grant. She asks adults working through Adult Literacy Fundamental Levels 1 – 4 about what supports people to persist, to keep on swimming, through these currents and barriers. Persistence is a central but under-studied issue in adult education, with the result that policy and practice tends to fall back on assumptions that people who don’t complete courses just aren’t that motivated. We can see in Lynn’s survey that the picture is more complex and that systems, policies, cultures and discourses about learning in our society play just as much a role in course completion as do individual capacities for persistence. Persistence, as it were, is a collective effort! Both these reports give us so much to think about!


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