Map of Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Transitions Program Directors Survey
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Professional Development

State Activities: Massachusetts

Immigrants comprise about one in seven of Massachusetts’ total population. Census data show that about 20% of immigrants lack a high school diploma from the United States or their country of origin, but that a majority have completed at least one year of post-secondary study. These demographic trends occur as Massachusetts continues to shift from a goods-producing to a service-providing economy.  The only barrier for many immigrants to employment or greater civic engagement is limited English language ability.

Within this context, the Massachusetts Adult Basic Education system set a strategic goal of preparing all ABE and English Language Learners (ELL) for their next steps in college and further training, at work, and in the community. Through the CAELA Network, Massachusetts is creating professional development for teachers and other practitioners of EL learners statewide, including those in 12 community college-based Transitions to Postsecondary Education programs, to help students move to higher levels. The need is reinforced by data that show Massachusetts ELL highest learning gains occurring at beginning levels and tending to plateau at the intermediate level.

Professional Development Activities

  • Facilitate a needs assessment and collection of background information from a variety of sources to identify areas to address in professional development.

  • Consult literature and research on adult ESL transitions to inform and strengthen the results of the needs assessment and to indicate directions for the CAELA Network team’s work in this area.

  • Based on literature reviews and data collection, compile information on promising practices and needs/challenges in Massachusetts’ transitions to begin informing professional development planning and policy related to transitions.

  • Draft, revise, and implement an instruction and assessment tool for adult education practitioners working with adult English language learners, titled “Massachusetts’ Competency Checklist for Life skills, Career, and Academic Readiness” with accompanying professional development for classroom use.

Desired Outcomes

  • Information from the literature review and needs assessment helps the CAELA Network team to identify gaps in the state’s professional development related to English Language Learners’ transitions and to identify promising practices that can address those gaps.

  • Instructors and programs use the “Competency Checklist” for instruction and programming that support the needs of adult English language learners transitioning to work and postsecondary education.

  • Professional development is offered that supports promising practices in transitions programming, instruction and assessment.

State contact

Sharon Artis-Jackson, Ed.D.
Professional Development Specialist
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Phone: (781) 338-3823
Fax: (781) 338-3394-fax

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