The Benefits of a Face-to-Face Support Mathematics Class for Projects IDEAL PCC Advanced-Level Adult ESL Students Enrolled in Skills Tutor Online
Since 2005, Pitt Community College (PCC) has participated in Project IDEAL (Improving Distance Education for Adult Learners), which is a consortium of states working to develop effective and high-quality distance education programs for adult learners through joint research and practice. In the fall of 2012, to enhance Project IDEAL’s programming, PCC offered advanced ESL students an opportunity to enroll in SkillsTutor (ST), an online program of study by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The initial assessment used for recruitment into the transition class was CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System). According to PCC ESL Coordinator, Jan Fisher, “Many of the advanced students are trying to transition from ESL to GED (General Education Development) …and there is a need for a transitional course to help these students cross that bridge, so this year we offered SkillsTutor as an online class to our ESL students” (J. Fisher, personal communication, October 15, 2012). To facilitate the transition from ESL to GED, PCC also offered ESL students a choice between ST online-only and ST hybrid (online and 4 hour/week face-to-face class). The purpose of this research project was to determine the benefits of a face-to-face (F2F) support mathematics class for Project IDEAL PCC Advanced-level Adult ESL students enrolled ST and to answer the question: What is the potential for a F2F hybrid support mathematics class to benefit and facilitate learning for qualified students transitioning from ESL to GED? Answers came from researcher-generated questionnaires, instructor observations, and pre/post test results.