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Regional ABE Conference Focusses on Assessment (September 13, 2008)

Assessment was the key topic at this year's Insular Area Adult Basic Education State Directors' Conference, which was hosted by the Guam Community College from August 17-20, 2008.

Adult Basic Education (ABE) state directors and qualifying representatives from Pacific Insular Area ABE Partners from Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the Republic of Palau participated in the conference, which was held at the Guam Reef Hotel. Forty-nine individuals attended the three-day training with four from American Samoa, three from Palau, and eleven from the CNMI and the rest from GCC ABE's community partners.

Last year's Insular Area Conference focused on grant management, audit issues, disability awareness and resiliency. However because of NMC's firm stance on assessment, this year's conference focused on the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System, also referred to as CASAS. CASAS is the only Adult Assessment System of its kind validated by the U.S. Department of Education in the areas of assessment, curriculum and instruction. It is designed for real life context to include, by not limited to, employment and life skills in adult education.

In addition, the training also focused on hands-on training utilizing TOPSPro, which is a database system designed specifically for CASAS to track student learning outcomes, program outcomes, attendance, performance measures, and data management for both state and federal accountability.

The training also focused on family literacy to include successful stories of Guam's Motheread/Fatheread Program under the NMI Council for the Humanities hope to complete the planning process of Motheread/Fatheread Program by October 2008. Other training included the mini workshops on the GED Curriculum, ESL and Teaching Strategies in Adult Education.

Northern Marianas College is the designated state recipient of the ABE Insular grant for administrative purposes. This ABE discretionary grant, specifically for professional development needs in Adult Education, is shared through a Memorandum of Agreement with the insular areas, including the CNMI, Guam, American Samoa and Republic of Belau.

The representatives from the CNMI included Lorraine Cabrera, Elsie Cabrera, Velma Mafnas, Leonard Morales, Maria Aguon, Martin Mendiola, Greg Quitigua, Mecedes Deleon Guerrero, Viola Deleon Guerrero, Monica Pangelinan and Martha Kintol.

Funding for this training is made possible by a grant received from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

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