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Beyond Basic Skills: State Strategies to Connect Low-Skilled Students

This report provides a background on the growing basic skills crisis in the U.S. and emphasizes the importance of postsecondary education success and completion in getting a good job and advancing in the workforce.
Author(s): 
M. Foster
J. Strawn
A. Duke-Benfield
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
CLASP
Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success
Published: 
2011
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
17
Product Type: 
Abstract: 

Two basic skills services, developmental and adult education, are described and compared. These services are critical in creating pathways for lower-skilled adults to gain a postsecondary education and succeed in the workplace.

The authors describe promising best practices and results of evaluations from numerous innovative programs at community colleges. Research suggests that increasing hours of instruction, raising expectations for attendance and progress, and accelerating the pace of delivery of basic skills services might lead to improved outcomes. Another promising practice the authors describe is contextualizing instruction to link the content of basic skills services to postsecondary education and training. In addition, student support services that include a career orientation, admissions assistance, advising, financial aid, and other comprehensive support services might increase the chances of postsecondary success for lower-skilled students. Based on the promising practices, the authors recommend several state-level strategies and policies that should be adopted to better prepare adult learners for success in postsecondary education and career opportunities.

What the Experts Say: 

This report provides a background on the growing basic skills crisis in the U.S. and emphasizes the importance of postsecondary education success and completion in getting a good job and advancing in the workforce. Two basic skills services, developmental and adult education, are described and compared. These services are critical in creating pathways for lower-skilled adults to gain a postsecondary education and succeed in the workplace.

The authors describe promising best practices and results of evaluations from numerous innovative programs at community colleges. Research suggests that increasing hours of instruction, raising expectations for attendance and progress, and accelerating the pace of delivery of basic skills services might lead to improved outcomes. Another promising practice the authors describe is contextualizing instruction to link the content of basic skills services to postsecondary education and training. In addition, student support services that include a career orientation, admissions assistance, advising, financial aid, and other comprehensive support services might increase the chances of postsecondary success for lower-skilled students. Based on the promising practices, the authors recommend several state-level strategies and policies that should be adopted to better prepare adult learners for success in postsecondary education and career opportunities.

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