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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sheila Ortega, a high school dropout, scrubbed floors at a local grocery store a few years ago. Now, having earned certificates in warehouse management, she sees a new future, the result of a program of developmental, or remedial skills with job training at Alamo College, in Texas.

Being adapted and tested at more than 150 colleges, Integrated Basic Education and Job Training, or I-Best, developed at Washington State, challenges the traditional approach to remedial education in which students must first pass courses in math, reading and writing, before moving on to credit-bearing work.

I-Best jumps into job training teaching academic skills in practical terms. An example in the Chronicle of Higher Education, an aspiring pharmacy technician who never understood math, might learn to measure the correct dosage of an antibiotic for a 50 pound child.

Research shows that learning in the context of something that’s important to the student has a good chance for success and these students are getting jobs.

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