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program design & management

Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools


Strategy d: Institute managed enrollment, where feasible, to reduce turbulence and promote class stability and continuity.


Decreasing Enrollment Turbulence Helps Retain Teachers and Students
Christina Palacios
This program’s solution to managed enrollment was to limit terms to one month and institute a strict attendance policy.

Getting the Most Out of a Managed Enrollment Classroom
Kate Hyzer and Heidi Haupt
This article shares what worked and what didn’t when the Lutheran Settlement House instituted managed enrollment.


Managed Enrollment and Evidence-based Reading Instruction
John Strucker
Strucker makes a case for managed enrollment that evidence-based reading instruction needs to be taught systematically, which is not possible in an open entry/open exit classroom.  He asserts that individualized instruction in ABE typically consists of teachers floating from learner to learner, unable to provide much direct instruction on, for example, specific reading strategies.

Managed Enrollment: An Opportunity to Reinvigorate the ABE Experience
Alisa Povenmire
This is a briefing paper written for the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education that reviews research, as well as practitioners’ perceptions, and makes recommendations for how to make managed enrollment work.

Managed Enrollment: A Process, Not a Product
Sylvia Ramirez
This is an account of an ESOL program’s deliberate, four-year process of adopting managed enrollment that included developing priority outcomes for its seven levels of classes.  The new program design also featured five eight-week terms, a new attendance policy, and additional learning options such as a computer lab and distance learning.  Every persistence indicator – attendance, level completion, percentage of students staying beyond 12 hours, and learning gains - improved dramatically and consistently.

Moving from Open Enrollment to Managed Enrollment
Kate Hyzer
Focus groups and student surveys prompted this adult education program to institute managed enrollment. They experienced immediate success: the percentage of students staying 12 hours or longer increased from 62% to 91%.

Passports to Paradise: The Struggle to Teach and to Learn on the Margins of Adult Education
Thomas Sticht, Barbara McDonald, and Paul Erikson
This study of adult learners in San Diego Community College’s Division of Continuing Education found that the prevailing open entry/open exit program structure led to high “turbulence,” i.e. large numbers of adds and drops from a class during the semester that disrupt teaching and learning.  The study points to systemic issues, such as financial incentives that favor open entry/exit.


Strategies for Developing a Managed Entry Model in Adult Education
Kentucky Adult Education
Recommends eight steps for instituting managed enrollment and 10 related program design features, such as having an attendance policy and creating waiting lists.