DISTANCE EDUCATION POLICY & PROCEDURES FY SECTION I: INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT

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1 DISTANCE EDUCATION POLICY & PROCEDURES FY SECTION I: INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT Background In June 2007, The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), received approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect demographic, enrollment and outcome data on distance education learners and report this information in the National Reporting System (NRS). As a result, New Mexico Adult Basic Education (NM ABE) convened a task force and implemented local program pilots to determine how to best provide distance education to the NM adult education population. This policy discusses the primary actions needed to design and implement distance education programs that will provide quality services to students at the local program level. New Mexico is a predominantly rural state with huge distances between its more populated areas. With less-than-ideal economic conditions, and the high cost of transportation, distance education has become a prime alternative to the traditional classroom setting. Distance education can be an effective way to serve learners unable to attend regularly scheduled classes. It may also be an attractive option for students who live some distance away from a local program. Distance education courses can help students obtain the academic instruction needed to pass the GED and they can help students improve ESL skills. They can also help students develop the self-efficacy, discipline, resourcefulness and technology skills to pursue a career or advance in a current job. Procedures Overview and Purpose The purpose of this procedure is to give local programs information on how NM ABE will implement distance education processes and procedures for local programs. This will help local programs to determine whether distance education is an appropriate initiative for their population, and set realistic timeframes in planning distance education programs. Only those local programs who have completed distance learning training may report student distance learning instructional hours. This stipulation will be revisited annually.

2 SECTION II: GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Per the July 2007 National Reporting System (NRS) Implementation Guidelines, distance education is a formal learning activity where students and instructors are separated by geography, time or both for the majority of the instructional period. Distance learning materials are delivered through a variety of media including, but not limited to: print, audio recording, videotape, broadcasts, computer software, web-based programs and other online technology. Teachers support distance learners through communication via mail, telephone, or online technologies and software. (Distance education is not the same kind of activity as online education). Distance education is looked to as one way to increase the capacity of the adult education system in New Mexico by expanding access to educational opportunities for adult learners. Distance learning strategies can help to eliminate barriers and extend learning beyond traditional classroom settings. It is common for adult learners to take both traditional classroom-based and distance learning courses during the same academic or fiscal year. For purposes of determining and counting distance learners, programs will count students as distance learners if the majority of contact hours earned in a program year is derived from proxy contact hours. Classroom hours and distance learning (proxy) hours will be recorded in separate fields in the state data system. The decision about the student s status as a classroom or distance learner will be made at the end of the year based on where 51% or more of the student s hours were earned. The student s hours in both distance and classroom programs will be included in the NRS report. Programs will be required to report distance education student information in the NRS Table 4C. SECTION III: Assessment, Contact Hours and Approved Software A. Assessing Distance Education Students Before students are enrolled in distance-education courses, screening should be conducted to determine student eligibility for distance education. Students should be able to work independently, possess computer literacy skills and desire to advance their educational or career skills. It is important for distance learners to be assessed using appropriate standardized assessments, as discussed in the NMHED/Adult Basic Education Division State Assessment Policy. Distance students must follow all existing assessment processes/procedures for administration, scoring and interpretation of test results. Also, in accordance with the NMHED/Adult Basic Education Division State Assessment Policy, distance learners must be assessed (including pre- and post-testing) as indicated by the publisher guidelines listed on Appendix A of the NMHED/Adult Basic Education State Assessment Policy, or as approved by NMHED (e.g., special situations, such as work-based projects). All assessment testing must be done face-to-face, in a secure proctored setting with a certified test administrator.

3 B. Student Participation Measures The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the National Reporting System (NRS) require states to measure adult learner educational gains - namely, gains in the development of basic English literacy and language skills. The NRS specifically requires that local ABE programs conduct their assessments and maintain certain tracking data based on the number of contact hours. Student participation measures must be collected for all learners. Student participation measures include contact hours received and type of enrollment and must be collected for all learners. These student participation measures collect information about the amount of instruction students receive and the number of students attending different program categories, such as adult basic education, adult secondary education, Englishlanguage instruction, correctional education, family literacy, workplace literacy, distance education, program for the homeless, or other institutional program. Broadly, adult education contact hours are: All contact hours where the student was with an adult education teacher, counselor, other adult education staff, or volunteer tutor working toward planning, assessing progress toward, and attaining basic academic and adult educationrelated personal education plan goals; and All verifiable student time during which adult education teachers, counselors, other adult education staff, or volunteer tutors worked with the student to plan or debrief independent learning, on-the-job training, or other community-based learning activities. C. Contact Hours in Distance Education Contact hours for distance education learners can be a combination of face-toface (f2f) contact, contact by telephone, video, teleconference, online communication, in real time where student and program staff can interact and through which learner identity is verifiable. All distance education learner contact hours (face-to-face or proxy) must be reported on NRS Table 4C. Face-to-face (f2f) contact hours These are the number of instructional hours provided in a face-toface educational classroom. Proxy contact hours Proxy hours are based on the estimated average student time required to master specific material. Proxy contact hours are Used for those students who choose a distance learning education program. Proxy contact hours are not equal to seat time, or to time spent working online.

4 Students in distance learning education must have at least 12 hours of contact with the adult education program before they can be counted for federal reporting purposes. Local programs must maintain records of proxy contact hours to meet both state and federal reporting requirements. Acceptable types of documentation include printed student screen-shots, printed software-generated reporting tables (please see Table 1, Program Guidelines for Determining Proxy Contact Hours for Approved Software). Proxy hours must be recorded in LACES along with the class code that includes the name of the distance learning curricula (software) (e.g., McGraw-Hill Work Readiness Credential Proxy Hours, or PLATO Proxy Hours ). Please see Table 2, Adult Education Proxy Contact Hours Documentation Requirements for Approved Distance Education. Proxy contact hours must be associated with one of three approved distance learning models of instruction: Clock Time Model assigns contact hours based on a software program that tracks time. The web-based program, SkillsTutor and the computer software, PLATO use the Clock Time Model to assign proxy hours. This model is used with curricula that track student interaction time and contain a mechanism for logging students out of the program after a specified period of inactivity. In these curricula one hour of clock time will be reported as one contact/instructional hour (proxy hour). For synchronous instruction that is not face-to-face, the teacher will report the hours. In addition, time spent conferencing may be counted as instructional hours, with one hour of conferencing counting as one distance education (proxy) hour. Teacher Verification Model assigns a fixed number of hours based on teacher determination of the extent to which a learner engaged in, or completed the assignment. This model is used for English For All and SkillsTutor. Learner Mastery Model Assigns a fixed number of hours based on the learner passing (with 70% or higher) a test on the content of the lesson. This model can be used with PLATO and KeyTrain. Measuring Contact Hours For Federal reporting purposes, and to be counted, distance learners must accumulate at least twelve contact hours. The following activities may be included in the twelve contact hours: face-to-face sessions dealing with intake, orientation, and assessment; advising/counseling students into the appropriate programs; completion of intake and goal-setting forms; assessments or screenings to determine readiness for distance learning; training needed for the student to appropriately use distance learning materials/software; and training in study and time management skills.

5 While a significant portion of the 12 contact hours must be face-to-face, other hours that may be counted toward accumulation of the 12 contact hours required to count the student for federal reporting purposes are hours resulting from activities in which both time and participation can be verified. Do not count the following: GED testing hours for examinees may not be counted. Workplace Education Do count the following: student hours in other programs or organizations if adult education staff or volunteer tutors provide instruction and/or related services for adult education students and if any portion of the total program cost is borne by the state-funded adult education program; but count only those hours that the paid adult education staff or trained tutor spend working directly with the student (e.g. - assessment, goal setting, instruction, debriefing, etc.) on his or her adult education goals. Do not count the following: student hours that are fully paid for by another program; student hours spent concurrently enrolled in a course at a post-secondary institution. D. Approved Curricula Adult education programs that offer distance learning options to students are required to adhere to the same training requirements as adult education programs that offer face-to-face educational services. Assessment procedures for distance learners must also be followed according the State Assessment Policy. For , NM ABE approves the following software and curricula for use in local program distance education pilot initiatives and for the purpose of counting proxy hours. MHC GED Integrated Online Solution, GED Online provides step-by-step, webbased, interactive instruction for students who are preparing for the GED Tests. It offers interactive instruction in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. PLATO, a comprehensive reading, writing, mathematics, employability and life skills curriculum. English For All (EFA), a free web-based multimedia system for adults learning English as a second language that incorporates California standards for High-Beginning ESL. KeyTrain, for students preparing to take the National Career readiness Exam.

6 Rosetta Stone, an online language learning system with interactive dialog options. Note: Approved software could change annually. Table 1. Program Guidelines for Determining Proxy Contact Hours (PCH) for Approved Software Software Criterion Criteria for Awarding PCH English For All MHC GED Integrated Online Solution PLATO SkillsTutor KeyTrain Rosetta Stone Teacher Verification Teacher Verification Student achieves >70% correct on lesson module post-test Teacher Verification Student completes 75% of endof-level exam questions correctly Proficiency level needed for successful completion Unit Lesson Lesson Module Lesson Level core lesson PCH Credit 6 hours per unit; total possible 120 hours 120 minutes per lesson 1.5 hours per lesson module 30 minutes per lesson 2 hours per level (level pre-test and lessons) 3 hours per core lesson

7 Table 2. Adult Education Proxy Contact Hours (PCH) Documentation Requirements for Approved Distance Education Software Software English For All GED-i PLATO SkillsTutor KeyTrain Rosetta Stone Documentation Required Through learner account, print screen shots of hours completed Go to Student Report Tab, print Lessons ; also go to Portfolio tab, take screen shot of any surveys completed Copies of completed post-tests, with at least 75% correct Copy of Student Detail report showing completion date(s) and score(s) obtained Copies of quizzes, showing at least 75% correct Through learner account, print screen shots of core lesson completed and proficiency achieved Distance Education or Online Instruction Professional Development For the local programs selected to run distance education services, directors and instructors will be required to receive annual training in distance learning. This training will focus on the designated competencies expected for overseeing and/or delivering distance education programs. The State ABE Division Office will inform the local ABE programs about the training that is required in order to be certified to conduct distance education classes. For each piece of software selected for use in a distance education program, instructors will be required to receive publisher-recommended training each year, as appropriate. Additional training may be required by the NMHED/Adult Education Division and communicated to all participating programs at the beginning of the fiscal year.

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