Developing College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education

Over the past decade many states have developed content standards for adult literacy instruction. The within the U.S. Department of Education has supported these efforts and in 2011 began a project called Promoting College and Career Readiness Standards in Adult Basic Education. The purpose of this project is to identify content standards for adult education that define what adult students need to know and be able to do to qualify for placement in credit-bearing college courses or enter into job training programs. The standards help raise awareness and understanding for the critical skills and knowledge that colleges, universities and employers expect from incoming students and employees. They also will help adult basic education programs to prepare adult students for success in higher education and training programs. 

To identify the standards, two expert panels, one for English language arts and one for mathematics, reviewed the Common Core State Standards and selected standards which describe appropriate content for adult students and prepare them for college and careers. The final report, College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education, was released in April 2013 and presents the standards and describes the year-long selection process.

In the next phase of the project, a second pair of panels evaluated the college and career readiness standards to consider the extent to which they align with the educational functioning levels of the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS), the accountability system for adult education program. The panels reviewed alignment in reading, writing, functional skills and mathematics and assessed the extent to which the standards align with the assessments approved for use with the NRS. A final report—prepared for internal departmental purposes—will be completed by September 2013. It will present the results of the review process and the implications for assessing the knowledge and skills included in the CCR Standards for Adult Education within the existing framework of the NRS for adult education. OVAE will begin a training and technical assistance project next fall to assist states in implementing the standards.

Larry Condelli is a Managing Director in AIR’s Workforce Program. He leads the adult learning group and is leading the NRS review of the CCR Standards project.

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