Adult ESL Literacy Impact Study

In 2008, nearly half of the students served in federally funded adult education programs were English as a second language (ESL) learners. However, there was limited rigorous research on interventions for this population. This study was conducted to improve the research base on effective instruction for low-literate ESL adults.

This study used a randomized field trial to examine the impact of literacy instruction based on a published literacy workbook and associated professional development. AIR collected data from 10 programs, 38 teachers, and 1,300 low literate adult ESL learners across the country and conducted classroom observations, interviews with students, teacher surveys, and assessed results of standardized pre-and posttests. The findings of this study provide practitioners with valuable information on the kinds of instructional strategies that are or are not likely to improve the skills of low literacy ESL students.