THE IMPACT OF WORKPLACE LITERACY PROGRAMS:
A NEW MODEL FOR EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF WORKPLACE LITERACY PROGRAMS
Larry Mikulecky and Paul Lloyd
Parallel studies of two workplace literacy programs at different sites have been used: (1) to develop an impact assessment model for workplace literacy programs, and (2) to produce data on the impact of the two quite different workplace literacy programs in the areas of learner gains, workplace improvements, and literacy-related changes in learners' families. Assessments in these two workplaces were used to develop model techniques and instruments for impact assessment. The evaluation was carried out for each program in conjunction with an on-site coordinator who was trained by the principal investigator to assist in the collection of data. The workplace literacy assessment model focuses on:
The impact assessment model was used successfully at the two sites. It was demonstrated that it is possible for on-site personnel to perform a broad-scale assessment of workplace literacy programs within reasonable time-frames, using interviews, tests, questionnaires, rating scales, and company records.
Results demonstrated positive improvements in each area of the assessment model (i.e., beliefs, practices, processes and abilities, plans, productivity, and family literacy). However, gains were limited to areas directly addressed by instruction, i.e., programs and classes accomplished gains only in areas where there was direct instructional activity. No clear carry-over or transfer to other areas was apparent in evaluation results. There are obvious implications for instructional planners--programs need to have clearly-stated goals and instruction must address those goals if the desired results are to be achieved.