Introduction to the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education - Module One

This module introduces the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education and provides an understanding of why and how the standards were selected and how they are organized.

American Institutes for Research
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
American Institutes for Research
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material

Module One, “Introduction to the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards for Adult Education” is the first in a series of three professional development modules about the ELP Standards for Adult Education. These training modules are intended for instructors, program administrators, professional development staff and other key stakeholders. Module One answers the question: what should every adult educator working with adult English language learners (ELLs) know about the new ELP Standards for Adult Education?

Specifically, online training addresses the following questions:

  • Why were ELP standards identified for adult education? Who identified them? 
  • How were the ELP Standards for Adult Education identified? Who is their audience?
  • What do the ELP standards entail and why?
  • How do the ELP standards correspond to states’ academic content standards?
  • How can adult educators begin to use them?
Benefits and Uses

By the end of Module One, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the rationale and history behind the selection of the ELP Standards for Adult Education;
  • Recognize how the new ELP standards relate to states’ academic content standards;
  • Recognize how the ELP standards may differ from previous sets of language standards;
  • Identify the goals, guiding principles, essential components, and language used in the ELP Standards for Adult Education; and
  • Navigate the ELP Standards for Adult Education. 


These understandings will guide the use of the ELP Standards in support of ELLs’ engagement with academic content. With the necessary support that the ELP Standards can provide, programs can now expand their capabilities to implement academic content standards in English language acquisition programs as well as in adult basic education programs and career pathways programs. 

The new ELP standards include clear expectations of student language use, progressions or competencies. They provide an understanding of the steps that ELLs must take to acquire the language and skills necessary to engage in the linguistic practices. Moreover, they give concrete examples of what ELLs language production might look at the various stages of language acquisition. 

The running time of the module is 50 minutes. Additional time should be allotted for discussion with others in response to questions posed in the module or, if completing the module independently, self-reflection on those questions.

This course was tested for accessibility using Internet Explorer v.11 and JAWS.

Note: You may work through this training module on your own, of course. But, if at all possible, explore these lessons with colleagues, preferably within the context of a professional development or as part of a professional learning community.

Tips for getting the most out of this module: 

  • Download and print the module’s resources (which appear in the Resources tab beginning on slide 4) before you begin the training. 
  • Please turn off pop-up blockers in your browser for this module.
  • Use the following instructions for navigating through this module using your keyboard and using JAWS assistive technology:
    • Use the Tab key to move forward through each screen’s content. Press Shift + Tab to move backwards. A box surrounds the object that is currently selected.
    • To select the skip navigation button and the navigation buttons that appear at the bottom of the screen (Play, Pause, Forward, Back, Volume, Closed Captions and Exit buttons), use the spacebar key.
    • Press Shift + Enter to select a navigation button at the top of the screen or a hyperlink.
    • For closed captioning select the cc button.
Required Training

None. An understanding of your state’s academic content standards is helpful.

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