In selecting programs to be involved, we looked for programs of different sizes in different geographic regions of the province which mirrored our differing demographic realities. We were successful in finding this range of programs to participate in the project.
Choosing the Evaluation Tools
As we considered evaluating our programs we realized that each program could be evaluated at two different levels. On the one hand, our projects needed to be evaluated as a whole. We needed to look at: fiscal, volunteer and resource management; training; community involvement and linkage; learner assessment and instructional strategies; and all that we do as literacy coordinators. For this purpose, the first tool we chose to use was the Adult Literacy Volunteer Tutor Program Evaluation Kit (1989), by Audrey Thomas of British Columbia. Some of us had already used parts of this kit and felt that it was philosophically sound and offered good possibilities for examining all elements of our programs.
On the other hand, as literacy coordinators, we must offer our tutors and students an effective method of measuring the progress of their work together as individual pairs. We realized that for many programs this is an area of weakness; our current ways of measuring progress are piecemeal and tend to reside within the control of the program coordinator (for example, assessment through informal reading inventories, and/or reports from tutors which may only indicate numbers of hours spent working together). However, we often receive requests from tutors and students for ways that they themselves can determine how they are doing in their work together.
Some members of our group had already examined and tried out the Progress Profile kit published by the Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit (ALBSU) in London, England. We felt it offered potential in the area of joint student/tutor evaluation and we were keen to pilot it on a larger scale. This was the second of the tools we decided to evaluate as part of this study.
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