Adult Basic Education to Community College Transitions Symposium: Proceedings Report

This report highlights discussions during a 2006 Symposium sponsored by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) that provided a forum for exploring ABE to community college transitions.  

MPR Associates
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Informational Material
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The Symposium was a culminating event of OVAE’s ABE to Community College Transitions Project and included nationally recognized adult education experts, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. The report includes edited transcripts for two roundtable discussions which focused on:

(1) challenges faced by ABE programs in implementing transitions to community colleges and 

(2) promising approaches to promote ABE to community college transitions. 

The report concludes with recommendations and next steps for policy, programs, and research.

Benefits and Uses

This report provides a summary of an OVAE sponsored symposium held in Washington, D.C. in 2006 to discuss the challenges and best practices of ABE to postsecondary transitions. The resource makes fascinating reading for both the practitioner and the administrator and brings together program administrators, policy analysts, and several of the most respected scholars in Adult Education [(Hal Beder), (Forrest Chisman), Linguistics (Miriam Burt), (Steven Reder), Evaluation (Hans Bos)].  The issues and concerns expressed by the panelists are comprehensive and will ring true to readers concerned with transitions efforts in adult education programs. The learning needs of adults who are currently in the workforce are also discussed and recommendations for policies and support needed for program improvement are provided. For those who are not familiar with the topic, this paper is a good snapshot of programming, challenges, best practices, and debates across the nation. Transitions efforts have built upon the research and literature cited here since 2006 and new programming as well as further research has taken place in the interim. Nevertheless, the challenges discussed remain.

The problems discussed will be no big surprise to practitioners who have been dealing with these issues encapsulated by Judith Alamprese’s summary.  Ideal programs for postsecondary success involve time that ABE learners and teachers do not have, financial resources, counseling and student support that rarely exists, and state policies that facilitate collaboration between programs and agencies.  The resource points out that instructional content standards and integrated instruction are both expensive and time consuming to develop.  However, some programs have successfully overcome these obstacles and have demonstrated measurable successes.

If practitioners and administrators want to know where the field is headed, this is must reading.  Appendix C provides a case study of 16 successful community college transitions programs and the findings of the study support the topics discussed in the symposium.  Organizational integration, fiscal resources, postsecondary exposure, and simultaneous enrollment (also endorsed by I-Best) once again prove to be the successful strategies.  This resource is lengthy and those who wish to get an overview of the symposium discussion without reading the full paper should read the summary of challenges and possible next steps on pages 37 and 38.

Required Training


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