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ESL and ELL Success Stories

Agencies and programs across the country are using CASAS to establish comprehensive performance accountability systems, address core indicators of performance, integrate literacy and occupational skill instruction, and evaluate the effectiveness of ESL/ELL, EL Civics, and Citizenship programs.

Workplace Literacy

This project developed out of a need on the part of the employer, Chaminade Resort, to improve customer service, which was suffering because of employees’ poor English skills. Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz proposed a workplace program whereby students would receive instruction at their workplace. This instruction would focus on skills needed at the workplace, but would incorporate EL Civics assessments and CASAS competencies. This collaboration was the beginning of a successful program, and allowed students to become better at their job as well as gain skills for any future employment opportunity.

Agency Awarded: Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz, 2008

Summary Description of Project:

After months of discussion between the Volunteer Center and Chaminade, a plan was implemented in which the Center provides volunteer tutors for bi-weekly sessions with employees, who attend classes on company time. Classes are never larger than five students and each student receives substantial one-on-one time with the tutor.

The tutors receive a comprehensive training in which they learn to tailor their instruction to the specific needs of the employer and to the on-the-job needs articulated by the students.  In addition to improving customer communications, students are better able to excel within the company and to be promoted to higher positions. The success of this program is largely due to the collaboration between Volunteer Center and the students’ employer, as well as the individualized attention that each student receives during the tutoring sessions. Students are able to learn English skills without having to worry about missing work or rearranging their schedule. They are given the resources to learn necessary workplace skills and improve their English through intensive and personalized tutoring.

Evaluation Process/Results:

Data collected primarily from CASAS pre- and post test scores indicate that students in this program exceed CA performance standards by 35%. The average gain in a group of 29 ESL students was 11.5 points.  Students typically move up at least two levels during the course of the semester. Center administration attributes this unusually high level of performance to the tutors who help students through innovative teaching methods. The outstanding tutor training program, which is Pro-Literacy certified, is also a contributing factor to the high success rates and gives tutors the ability to help students achieve their goals.

Chaminade executives have been vocal in praise of the program and cite the many benefits that have seen since the on-the-job tutoring began.  Students in the program express that they have become more confident at work as a result of the tutoring. Some employees have even used their newfound skills to apply for promotions. Chaminade Resort has since decided to not only continue the program, but to provide more financial support in order to give students more resources.

For additional information contact:

Barbara Davis, Director
Telephone: (831) 427-5077
Email: literacy@scvolunteercenter.org

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