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standards, reporting, assessment, outcomes, accountability and teacher credentials - what's online

This page attempts to bring together online resources for those considering, working with and/or otherwise engaged in an examination of standards and reporting issues in adult education. Inclusion of particular sites in no way connotes tacit or explicit endorsement of those sites or their underlying approaches, assumptions or instruments of assessment. If you feel that a site has been omitted, or would like to add sites that support these linee of inquiry, please contact Janet Isserlis

Rhode Island's  content standards are online, at the RI Department of Education website, in PDF form; and on the AEPDC site at

Rhode Island's writing standards (word doc), posted July 24, 2008.

recent additions to this page:

Contextualized, Standards-Based Instruction New England states have each facilitated professional development related to the implementation of the CCRAE standards. NELRC has contributed to the efforts by providing resources that can lay a foundation for or complement state initiatives.

ESOL Initial Assessment Pack from ESOL Scotland

Common Core lessons and videos to support instruction - videotaped lesson including descriptive annotations that identify lesson elements, and teacher and student actions and behaviors that support Common Core learning. K-12 resource, but will applicability to adult learning and teaching

WIDA language development standards - WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators; Rhode Island is among the states utilizing WIDA development and proficiency standards

College and Career Readiness Standards, including this PDF document by Susan Pimenthel, 2013

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards

and Guide to the Common Core Standards from Kentucky Adult Education

Queensland Guidelines for students with English as a Second Language (ESL) - guidelines and supporting documents assist teachers and curriculum leaders to meet the P-12 Curriculum Policy requirements for ESL learners.

The Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework includes a competency-based curriculum framework and related assessment and learning material resources that help adult learners transition to their goals of work, further education and training, or independence. It provides practitioners with guidance and support to make closer connections between literacy programming and the skills, knowledge, and behaviours learners need to reach their chosen goals.

Learning Progressions - New Zealand site examining articulation of adult learning in literacy and numeracy

Standards in Action innovations and other archived resources including professional development methods and materials that support the implementation of content standards in adult education programs. The SIA innovations, developed with guidance from adult educators around the country, address four priority areas of standards-based reform.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative - joint effort by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with Achieve, ACT and the College Board. Governors and state commissioners of education from across the country committed to joining a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12.

Facilitating Adult Learner Interactions to Build Listening and Speaking Skills - CAELA Learner Interactions Brief

Access for all - standards for adult learning, including adult literacy core curriculum, standards and level descriptors from DFES in England; particular attention is paid to a range of disabilities.

Smithsonian Education offers more than 1,200 education resources aligned with standards of learning in every state. Simply enter your state into the search engine to find lesson plans, virtual exhibitions, photos, art work, and research information on the Apollo missions, U.S. presidents, stamp collecting, landscape painting, marine science, minerals and gems, money, shape-note singing, spiders and snakes, and more (from FREE - Federal Resources for Educational Excellence)

Other rooms, other standards

Culturally-based curriculum resources - Alaskan site which includes curriculum resources selected "to illustrate ways in which Indigenous and Western knowledge systems can be brought to bear in schools through a balanced, comprehensive and culturally-aligned curriculum framework adaptable to local circumstances. The resources are intended to help teachers and students make the connection between the knowledge, skills and ways of knowing used to maintain a livelihood in the villages, and the knowledge, skills and cultural standards for teaching/learning reflected in the school curriculum... Anyone wishing to contribute to this site is encouraged to contact the Indigenous Curriculum Specialist of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network at (907) 474-5897, or send an email message. It cannot be over emphasized to use local Elders from your community as a resource for education."

In recent years, state and federal legislatures, and the general public, have increasingly demanded that adult educators provide evidence that the learners enrolled in their programs are achieving high levels of educational gains. In order to accomplish this, the Arizona Adult Education community- through this multi-year Standards Project ? will develop components of a comprehensive, state wide, student performance accountability system.  (more information about the standards )

Splendid Web Home -  everything you need to teach the functions of the Arizona Content Standards in the ESOL classroom with complementary computer activities.

Canadian Language Benchmarks - Measures of assessing language development in Canadian adult English as an addition language programs.
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment - from a testing site, but interesting sets of levels: "Assessment of the Cambridge examinations is linked to a Common European Framework established by the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) and used for a wide range of European languages."

Content standards - a range of content standards and frameworks available on line from the California Department of Education; CDE's adult education page also provides relevant resources.

The Descriptor Bank -  from New Zealand's Workbase: short descriptions of the literacy skills that underpin unit standards - including reading, writing, speaking and listening, numeracy and critical thinking. The descriptors come with extra information that helps explain the skills. They also come with ideas on how trainers and assessors can help trainees develop those skills. Together they make up the descriptor bank; the descriptor bank provides a framework for thinking and talking about literacy in industry training.

Maine adult and community education - scroll down to program standards and performance indicators

Massachusetts Adult Education Curriculum Frameworks including ESOL Frameworks. also see: Where Does It Fit In? The Massachusetts ESOL Curriculum Framework by Heide Spruck Wrigley

Ohio Adult Workforce Education and Training Network  -

for standards and benchmarks: scroll down on this page:

Standards-based lesson plans being developed by Ohio ABLE teachers. These lesson plans incorporate the instructional cycle of preparing, planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting as outlined in the Student Experience Model (SEM). The lessons cover a variety of topics and use materials and activities that students encounter in their everyday lives.

Pennsylvania's adult education information documents, including standards/accountability
Rhode Island draft standards, 2000 
literacy/ESOL and beginning ESOL basic literacy / ABE
low and high intermediate ESOL citizenship

 employability standards - across levels

SABES Assessment Support  - assessment-related information specific to Massachusetts adult education programs, as well as resources relevant to adult education practice beyond the state.

Swearer Language and Literacy Program Rubrics for Placement and Assessment - developed by Marie Cora and her team of language and literacy coordinators, May, 2000.

resources: standards, assessment, accountability

An Annotated Bibliography of Content Standards for Adult ESL - Compiled by MaryAnn Cunningham Florez, National Center for ESL Literacy Education , March, 2002

An Annotated Bibliography of Program Standards for Adult ESL - Compiled by MaryAnn Cunningham Florez, National Center for ESL Literacy Education , March, 2002

Adventures in Assessment - Learner-centered approaches to assessment and evaluation in adult literacy

Assessment - LINCS special collection site - resources, stats, links to joining online discussion.

Assessment and Accountability: A Modest Proposal by Heide Wrigley in Field Notes, on Assessment Volume 10, Number 3, Winter 2001
(also see this archive of Field Notes issues on a number of important topics related to adult education.)

Assessment and Evalution in adult ESOL programs - digests from the National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education (now CAELA)

Assessment types - overview of assessment protocols, rationales and activities, by Heide Spruck Wrigley and Jim Powrie, at the Study Place.

Issues in Accountability and Assessment for Adult ESL Instruction
- NCLE Q and A by Carol Van Duzer National Center for ESL Literacy Education; February, 2002.

C2T2 learning outcomes resources - a range of resources related to understanding and determining learning outcomes.

CASAS - the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System has as its mission "to provide learner-centered curriculum management, assessment, and evaluation systems to education and training programs in the public and private sector. These systems are designed to meet the diverse and rapidly-changing functional life skill needs of adults and youth in today's technological and multi-cultural society through accurate identification of learner needs, monitoring progress, and certification of competency attainment. CASAS is committed to carrying out its mission through a field-based consortium involved in the identification of needs and in the research and development of system components."

Equipped for the Future

Equipped for the Future - The Equipped for the Future Standards for Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning have been developed to answer a complex question: "What do adults need to know and be able to do in order to carry out their roles and responsibilities as workers, parents and family members, and citizens and community members?"  This site, part of LINCS' special collections, contains information about the ongoing work on EFF and its process of developing standards and measures of assessment of EFF's component pieces.

The EFF/TV411 /CASAS and TABE Crosswalk (2002) presents the cooperative efforts of Equipped for the Future (EFF) and Adult Literacy Media Alliance staff to correlate the TV411 video and print materials with the EFF Content Standards and Role Maps. It is designed to help instructors use EFF and TV411 together. Under each standard is a list of the video segments that support multiple components of that standard. For each video segment listed there is a summary of its content and the relevant roles. The publication also contains the EFF Content Standards, the Role Maps, an introduction to the crosswalk and the TV411 curriculum and the EFF Content Framework.

David Hayes and the Rhode Island practitioners participating in the NCSALL EFF study documented their 1999/2000 work.;
read about their process.

Equipped for the Future - Classroom Activities: Project-Based Classroom Activities based on Equipped for the Future Standards - A Publication of the Florida Literacy Coalition.

EFF meets the National Reporting System

The following letter, from the directors of the National Institute for Literacy and the Division of Adult Education and Literacy, U.S.Department of Education is of interest as we continue to consider standards, outcomes and other reporting measurements for adult education.

October 12, 1999
Dear Colleagues:

Many of you have asked about the relationship between DAEL's National Reporting System (NRS) and NIFL's Equipped for the Future (EFF). Recently the directors and staff of both DAEL and [continued] NIFL spent the better part of a day discussing the two projects in order to refine our mutual sense of the ways in which they can complement one another. By the end of our meeting we all felt we had a richer understanding of the projects and the contributions each can make to a stronger, more effective adult education delivery system. We want to share the highlights of our discussions with you.

One important conversation centered on the kinds of standards NRS and EFF currently offer. Here we acknowledged a fundamental distinction. The NRS project focuses on program performance standards that reflect how well adults perform, while EFF has developed content standards - standards that specify what adults need to know and be able to do. Basically, NRS will collect information from programs that reveals how learners are progressing in the core indicator areas defined by the Workforce Investment Act. The EFF project seeks to define the skills and knowledge adults need in order to carry out their roles as parents, citizens, and workers.

The projects' goals are clearly related. Some of the core indicators NRS must measure reflect mastery of the skills EFF has identified as essential content knowledge. In addition to profiling employment and training attainments, NRS records progress of adult learners in 12 levels of language and basic skills development. EFF is developing a performance continuum for each of EFF's 16 content standards, and plans to develop assessments of learner progress, all of which ultimately may prove useful to NRS. The projects' paths cross, and we can ensure they do so in sensible, mutually beneficial ways.

Our discussion identified three primary areas in which each project's next steps can help support development of the other. The first area involves defining and measuring performance for NRS core indicators and EFF's content standards. We agreed we should work to make NRS performance levels required by the Workforce Investment Act and EFF mastery of essential content knowledge compatible. In this way evidence collected to document student mastery of EFF standards can also be used to respond to NRS reporting requirements where the EFF standards meet the statutory requirements of the Act. We don't want programs to have to make multiple kinds of measurements.

The second area involves assessments. Both projects acknowledge the need for improved forms of assessment capable of accurately determining learner performance. Among the items EFF and NRS are considering is how to make both standards more inclusive of persons with disabilities. As EFF and NRS staff proceed with this work, they will share their findings. Program improvement was the third common area identified. Although the primary purpose of the NRS is to collect data to improve program accountability, DAEL staff is exploring how to put the data to additional use to support program improvement. EFF approaches program improvement directly by linking teaching and learning to what adults need to know and do to be effective parents, citizens, and workers. Evaluation of EFF, which will begin within the next six months, also may contribute to program improvement by identifying factors that support effective teaching and learning.

We hope this letter sheds some light on how DAEL and NIFL staff are thinking about NRS and EFF. If you have any further questions or thoughts about the projects and how they might support one another, we invite you to let us know.

Sincerely, Andrew J. Hartman Executive Director, National Institute for Literacy and Ronald Pugsley, Director Division of Adult Education & Literacy 

ERICAE Net - test locator  and ETS Test Collection -  joint project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, the Library and Reference Services Division of the Educational Testing Service, the Buros Institute of Mental Measurements at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the Region III Comprehensive Center at GW University, and Pro-Ed test publishers.

FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing - advocacy organization working to end the abuses, misuses and flaws of standardized testing and ensure that evaluation of students and workers is fair, open, and educationally sound, placing " special emphasis on eliminating the racial, class, gender, and cultural barriers to equal opportunity posed by standardized tests, and preventing their damage to the quality of education. Based on four Goals and Principles, we provide information, technical assistance and advocacy on a broad range of testing concerns, focusing on three areas:  K-12, university admissions, and employment tests, including teacher testing."

Family Literacy Indicators of Program Quality (FLIPQs) - a self-assessment tool based on the Missouri Family Literacy Indicators of Program Quality and Standards of Performance.

Focus on Basics - Volume 3, Issue C on Standards Based Education, September 1999

Focus on Basics - Volume 3, Issue B on Accountability, March 1999

includes: Learners First by Shirley Wright, Performance Accountability: For What? To Whom? And How? by Juliet Merrifield, The National Reporting System by Barbara Garner, Accountability in a Multiple-Faceted Program by Jan Goethel & Carol Gabler, Focus on Research: Voices of Learners: Learner Identified Impacts Study.
and, FOB's topic index on standards.

assessment at the Center for Applied Linguistics, including the Basic English Skills Test (BEST), a standardized test used by many ESOL programs. <

links to Learning Standards - from - although these encompass K-12 standards, as RI adult practitioners recently learned, many aspects of K-12 standards work are adaptable to adult learning contexts.

Lives of Change: An Ethnographic Evaluation of Two Learner Centred Literacy Programs - April 1994; posted to the National Adult Literacy Database, July, 2002

The State of Literacy in America; Synthetic Estimates of Adult Literacy Proficiency at the local, state and national levels Stephen Reder
The good news, the bad news.  Reder's estimates have assisted programs in establishing 'need'; Reder likely understands that these numbers represent a particular idea of what 'counts' (or counted) during the original NALS undertaking.  Will the new survey reveal substantive information about what adults can and want to do?

NLA Info: Testing and Accountability From: Thomas Sticht <>

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999 17:32:15 -0800

Testing and Accountability in Adult Literacy Education: Focus on Workplace Literacy Resources for Program Design, Assessment, Testing, & Evaluation

homas G. Sticht November 1999

Recent national and international surveys of adult literacy skills have raised questions about workforce readiness for international competitiveness. This report provides information on the design and evaluation of workplace literacy programs to improve workforce readiness, and an overview of concepts about the nature, uses and abuses of standardized tests in program evaluation and accountability. This is not a "how to do it" guidebook. Rather, it discusses concepts and issues and provides bibliographic resources for those readers who want to learn more about how to design, develop, and evaluate literacy programs in the workplace and other contexts.

Workplace literacy or basic skills programs are programs offered at a given workplace and generally are aimed at preparing employees for performing job-linked literacy and numeracy tasks, such as filling out requisition forms in a clerical position or preparing to learn statistical process control. However, much of the discussion is applicable to other types of programs for workforce education and lifelong learning, including family literacy, academic literacy and other aspects of basic skills education (reading, writing, mathematics, English as a Second Language-ESL). Chapters include:

Chapter 1 Knowledge Resources for Designing and Delivering Workplace Literacy Programs

Chapter 2 Q & A on the Evaluation of Workplace Literacy Programs

Chapter 3 Case Study Using the "DO ED" Approach for Evaluating Workplace Literacy Programs

Chapter 4 Testing and Accountability in Adult Literacy Programs in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998

Chapter 5 Determining How Many Adults Are Lacking in Workforce Literacy: The National and International Adult Literacy Surveys

Appendix Reviews of Eight Tests Used in ABE & ESL

Thomas G. Sticht Applied Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences, Inc. 2062 Valley View Blvd. El Cajon, CA 92019-2059 (619) 444-9595

Matching Literacy Testing with Social Policy: What are the Alternatives? Author: Richard L. Venezky, University of Delaware and National Center on Adult Literacy, 1992, NCAL

The reason I joined this program... Creating a database of learner goals for program planning, Report of the Learner Goals Database Project North York, Ontario 1997-1998 by Guy Ewing

This list is deliberately small and attempting to tailor itself to this page. There are hundreds of documents worth reviewing about a number of topics, as well as those that focus on workplace assessment and other more general issues. The site NALD is fully searchable and well worth repeated visits, not only for issues of accountability, etc., but also for a very broad range of perspectives and information regarding adult literacy in English and in French.

Synthetic estimates for the states - 1992 - go to and search for 'synthetic' to see synthetic analysis of literacy rates by state

National Assessment of Adult Literacy 2002 Home Page - The National Center for Education Statistics has posted a new Webpage devoted to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy 2002 program which will assess the current status of the English-language literacy skills of adults in the US. The site offers a description of the purposes and goals of the program; posted and forthcoming working papers on adult literacy assessment; and previews of the published reports the program will produce over the next 3 years, including data on national, state, and inter-national comparisons of literacy, results by major population subgroups, and relationships between background variables and literacy attainment. The site also provides links to related literacy sites and a link to the full text of the 1992 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, which includes an overview of all of the program's adult literacy statistics and conclusions about long- and short-term literacy trends.

best  - includes resources, articles and online material relevant to evaluation, assessment and standards.

The National Reporting System for Adult Education

The National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS) is an outcome-based reporting system for the state-administered, Federally funded adult education program.  Developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Education's Division of Adult Education and Literacy (DAEL), the NRS continues a cooperative process by state adult education directors and DAEL to identify appropriate learner outcomes for adult education.  The project is being conducted by the American Institutes for Research's Pelavin Research Center in Washington, DC.

The goals of the NRS were to establish a national accountability system for adult education programs by identifying measures for national reporting and their definitions, establishing methods for data collection, developing software standards for reporting to the U.S. Department of Education and developing training materials and activities on NRS requirements and procedures. The NRS established the accountability system for the adult education program required by Title II of the Workforce Investment Act.

Using a common set of outcome measures and a uniform data collection system, the states will measure and document learner outcomes resulting from adult education instruction through the NRS.  Local programs will collect and aggregate data from students at each instructional site, using an individual student record system.  These data will be submitted to the state for statewide aggregation and submission to DAEL.  DAEL will combine state data into a national database describing outcomes of adult education.

The National Reporting System will improve the public accountability of the adult education program by documenting its ability to meet Federal policy and programmatic goals.  The collection of state outcome data will enable states to correlate effective practices and programs with successful outcomes, and will also assist states in assessing progress in meeting their adult education goals.  For local providers, the NRS will help instructors and administrators plan instructional activities and services to enhance student outcomes and to correlate effective practices and programs with successful outcomes.

NRS (US) Online -  yet more about how to report nationally, as well as online tasks and activities for those learning to navigate the national reporting system.

The National Reporting System online - Australia's "nationally recognised mechanism for reporting outcomes of adult english language, literacy and numeracy programmes."

A framework for adult numeracy standards - The Mathematical Skills and Abilities Adults Need To Be Equipped for the Future By Donna Curry. Mary Jane Schmitt and Sally Waldron

Outcome Measurement for a Community Literacy Program
- Project Literacy Victoria, 2001.  Examination of outcome measurements, and those with vested interests in them.  Project Victoria states that "Outcome Measurements will allow us to:  focus on our fundamentalsl strengthen existing services; target effective services for expansion; prepare and justify budgets; prepare strategic plans, and focus board members attention on program issues and values.  Document contains exhaustive list of resources compiled to gather evidence of outcomes.

Performance Assessments for Adult Education: Exploring the Measurement Issues: Report of a Workshop (2002) - Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), Center for Education (CFE)

Performance-Based Curricula and Outcomes - The Mainstream English Language Training Project (MELT) updates for the 1990s and beyond. Prepared by Allene G. Grognet In Collaboration with ELT Partners Shirley Brod, Inaam Mansoor, Miriam Burt, Autumn Keltner, Barbara Sample, Margaret Silver, Diane Pecoraro, and Myrna Ann Adkins. ©1997 CONTENTS include The Core Curriculum, Student Performance Levels, Assessment and Accountability, and Appendices .

[ from NCLE Notes, Vol 8, No, 1. Spring/Summer 1999: "A useful resource in these days of systemic change is Performance-Based Curricula and Outcomes: The MELT Project Updated for the 1990s and Beyond by CAL's Allene Guss Grognet. This work updates the listening and speaking competencies compiled by CAL's Mainstream English Language Training (MELT) project of the early '80s. Its four sections include an introduction, the core curriculum, student performance levels, and a section on assessment and accountability. Order a free copy from the Spring Institute for International Studies (303) 863-0178 or get it from the Web at Also available from the Spring Institute is English Language Training Program Self Review: A Tool for Program Improvement." 

Reading Skills test for Pre-literate Students  -  developed by Charles LaRue in collaboration with the Minnesota Literacy Council.Multi-Cultural Educational Services

Together We Can Do It!  The Role of Volunteers in the Assessment Process - Vicki Trottier,  Community Literacy of Ontario December 2001

assessment and standards resources from Colorin Colorados - while focused on K-12 learners, includes useful approaches and resources for adult education contexts.

SCANS What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000,

The Standards section of the Adult Literacy Wiki - resources gathered for and by adult educators; also see the Wiki's main page for links to assessment and accountability

STANDARDS for Teachers of Adult Learners (DRAFT)

Tesol Adult Education Program Standards -  ESOL standards drafted over several months with input from ESOL professionals around the world.

ESOL Task Force on Adult Teacher Standards Issues Draft -  A Firsthand Report from TESOL 2002 in Salt Lake City

Understanding Adult ESL Content Standards -  CAELA brief by Sarah Young and Cristine Smith, defining different types of standards and describing the instructional benefits of using adult ESL content standards.  It also describes uses of content standards in the adult ESL field and discusses research about the implementation of content standards. 

Valid, Reliable, and Appropriate Assessments for Adult English Language Learners - November, 2003, ERIC Q and Q by Dorry Kenyon, Center for Applied Linguistics Carol Van Duzer, National Center for ESL Literacy Education

Web Watch: Assessment Resources - links to standards and assessment resources - K-12 and beyond.

2000 Idea Book - contains a collection of lesson plans for adult basic educators that were developed through that action research in collaboration with the UT Center for Literacy Studies. (read more about it here.

professional credential initiatives

Massachusetts ABE teachers licensure home page

SABES ABE License support - delineation of standards, part of an overall License Support resource compendium .

QCA - National adult literacy and numercay qualifications for adult educators in the U.K.

[for more about teacher preparation and orientation, please also see LR/RI's new teacher orientation resources]

page created October 29, 1999

last updated May 28, 2018

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