Are Physical Learning Materials Still Important? Yes, of course! In fact, researchers think physical learning materials and handwritten student activities are critical for students of all types, in any learning environment.

  • Recent
    University of Valencia: “This meta-analysis extends previous research by analyzing the relationship between leisure digital reading habits and reading comprehension. We analyzed 40 effect sizes using multilevel analysis. Data involved 469,564 participants from studies published between 2000 and 2022. The average effect size reflects a small significant effect on reading comprehension (r = .055), which contrasts with the medium size effects found in the literature related to print reading habits and comprehension. This relationship is significantly moderated by the reader’s educational stage. At early stages (primary and middle school) negative relationships are observed between leisure digital reading and text comprehension, while at later stages (high school and university) the relationship turns positive. We highlight the different contributions that reading modalities and technological contexts have on our reading comprehension, especially across the lifespan. In sum, leisure digital reading does not seem to pay off in terms of reading comprehension, at least, as much as traditional print reading does.”
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    suggests that reading print materials over a long period of time “could boost comprehension skills by six to eight times more than digital reading.”
  • Studies show that writing symbols, as opposed to typing them, leads to better, longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters and symbols.
  • Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, the most basic component of literacy and learning.
  • In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual grasp of material and higher performance.

According to the latest reports by the National Reporting System for Adult Education, the large majority of enrollees in NRS-reporting programs are ABE learners struggling at ‘middle-levels.’ Of all ABE enrollees, 77% are functioning in the 2nd-9th grade range (NRS 2-4). And only 17% function at secondary level in the 9th-12th grade range. And this trend isn’t a new one…

ABE Enrollment, TABE E-D (NRS level 2-4)

2017 — 75.1%

2018 — 77.7%

2019 — 78.2%

2020 — 74.1%

2021 — 76.7%

2022 — 77.2%

Pace systems have been designed specifically for these students, TABE E through TABE D, for nearly a half century. Learners may ‘plateau’ in this functioning level range due to a lack of independence and self-pacing skills required to advance to higher levels of achievement. Learner dependence leads to inefficient progress and motivation challenges. Mixed-level students may be impatient to reach learning goals such as high school equivalency, but fluency of basic academic skills is also required for efficient progress at higher levels.

Pace systems can be a powerful way to boost measurable skills gains for large groups of students at NRS levels 2-4. Design Your Pace System

Why Teach Soft Skills? Seventy-five percent, 3 out of 4 employers say soft skills are as important or more important than technical skills in entry-level employment. As technology rapidly develops, technical skills are more and more perishable – soft skills are a distinguishing characteristic of long-term success in a more and more complex world. Further research suggests that soft skills and personality traits can predict adult success even more accurately than a secondary credential such as the GED. Did you know that nearly half of new hires fail in the first 18 months, and that 89% of these failures are related to ‘attitude’? Soft skills evaluation and development are critical in basic education settings, because underlying soft skills give learners self-confidence, persistence, and adaptability that drives long-term learning progress. It’s these intangible, personal and interpersonal skills that enable learners to reach higher and higher levels of academic achievement. Pace Learning Systems has maintained social and soft skills as one of the key components of basic education since its founding. Learn more about the importance of soft skills development in education settings of all types. Why teach soft skills?

The “soft skills gap” in the young adult workforce is significant, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey. Not only do educators and employers recognize this gap, but workers themselves recognize it too! Read the 2018 survey to learn more about millennials’ perceptions of the labor market and business world.

Pace has released an in-depth analysis of the TABE 11/12 tests! The TABE Test Translation provides a wealth of additional information on TABE test 11/12 content, beyond what is provided by TABE diagnostic reports. Learn More

Soft Skills for the future A recent study (2017) shows a rapidly-growing need for soft skills in jobs of the future. According to Deloitte Access Economics, “soft skills intensive jobs are growing 2.5x faster than other jobs.” Click here to learn more about this research from DAE.

Why Teach Soft Skills? Recent research and publications from government and industry indicate a growing soft skills gap in entry-level worker populations. Click here to learn more about what research suggests and what employers are asking for from basic education services.

The Challenge of Individualized Instruction in Corrections (McKee & Clements) The roots of Pace Learning Systems are embedded in a unique research project in education and rehabilitation that dates back to the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. John McKee conducted the project at Draper Correctional Center in Alabama. Based on his significant background in rehabilitation and psychology, Dr. McKee felt that older adolescents and adults who lacked basic skills required a different approach from what they had experienced in their previous education. Pace Learning Systems’ programs are designed specifically for older youth and adult learners in basic education programs, taking into consideration the unique needs of these students. “Whenever you have students who have failed, you do not give them more of the same, as traditional education frequently does. You must instead vary your instructional methods so that they will succeed. In short, you individualize instruction. (J. McKee) Read the research document

Correctional Education History, A to Z (Kim Rigg) John M. McKee, Ph.D. received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee. In 1961, he began what was to be a long and illustrious career at the Draper Correctional Center in Elmore, Alabama, conducting the “Draper Project” through a special Federal Manpower Training Agency that would influence the integration of Alabama prisons. Dr. McKee continued his work through the Rehabilitation Research Foundation, with support from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare, and these efforts provided the basis of much of his research in correctional education, on individualized learning systems, and on predictors of school drop-outs and prison recidivism. Read more

Tutoring Using the PACE Learning Systems to Remediate Students who Fail High School Basic Skills Exams (Lull, Pate, Gibson, & Freeman) Many states mandate that students pass a standardized test with a minimum score for either promotion or graduation. This study looked at students who were not successful in passing the standardized test on the initial attempt and the effect of remediation on their subsequent attempts. Variables used in this study included race and gender. Although the study was comprised of a limited sample, the results indicated a positive link between the remediation treatment and success on subsequent attempts to pass the standardized test. Read the research document

Training and Supporting Ex-Offenders as Entrepreneurs (Oklahoma Department of Corrections) The Oklahoma Entrepreneurial Training project (EEOTS) was initiated on the belief that employment and related reentry barriers for ex-offenders may be overcome, in part, through an intensive curriculum focusing on life skills and problem solving, workforce-employability skills, small business training, and community support. These components formed the backbone of a four-year project which saw over 400 offenders complete a 100+ hour integrated curriculum. An additional 125 offenders completed at least 50 hours of this curriculum. The project featured never-before-combined elements based on successful curricula developed by Design for Progress and Pace Learning Systems. The program also featured community contacts with supporting agencies and ongoing staff contacts with released offenders. Read the research document

Unlocking the Ability to Learn (Kay Gore) One size does not fit all, at least when it comes to unlocking the ability to learn for underprepared adolescents and adults. Pace Learning knows this. For over twenty-five years Pace Learning has not wavered in its dedication to developing and implementing the most effective mathematics, reading, language arts, writing, science, and employability skills programs for the adolescent or adult who has not experienced academic success in traditional educational environments. Read the research document

The Effectiveness of Remedial Education—Using Pace Learning Systems AL High School Exit Exam … A synopsis of a doctoral dissertation (Timothy Lull, College of Education, The University of Alabama) This study assessed the performance on the Alabama High School Exit Exam of students who previously failed one or more exam sections (Reading, Math, Language). Of 280 eligible students, 139 volunteered to participate in a remedial program using Pace Learning Systems. Participation in this program was for one period a day for which students received elective course credit. The Pace Learning program includes a series of instructional modules designed to teach basic academic competencies. The remaining students (141) continued to attend regular classes, and both groups continued to take regular core courses prescribed for the academic diploma. On average, the students who volunteered for the remedial program had previously scored 3% higher on the failed exam sections than had the comparison group (57% vs. 54%). Read the research document

Training lays groundwork for the success of Anel Corp., (Gillette)— Anel Corporation located in Carroll County was a struggling metal fabricator before being purchased by Charles Holder, owner of Hol-Mac in Bay Springs. A strong emphasis on workforce training has allowed Anel Corporation to thrive, thereby preserving jobs and the local economic impact of the manufacturing operation located in a rural area. Read the press article

Principles of Programmed Learning (Evans)  Pace Learning Systems incorporates a method for instructional design adapted from behavior science principles referred to as programmed instruction. This instructional design framework involves 5 core principles which support the model of individualized instruction and the motto that “Nothing Teaches Like Success®.” Learn the principles of programmed learning through a “programmed” self-instructional lesson. Access the lesson

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