A Process Guide for Establishing State Adult Education Content Standards

A Process Guide for Establishing State Adult Education Content Standards was produced under Contract #ED-01-CO-0026/0023 with the American Institutes for Research.

Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages

A Process Guide for Establishing State Adult Education Content Standards presents information gathered through a review of literature and research on content standards; discussions with staff from state offices of adult education; and reviews of state, national, and international standards documents. The information and examples may guide state adult education administrators, content experts, professional development staff, instructors, and curriculum/assessment specialists throughout the process of planning, developing, aligning, reviewing, and implementing standards. Readers will find a range of suggestions and references for implementing standards-based education.

A Process Guide for Establishing State Adult Education Content Standardspresents the steps for moving toward a fully integrated, standards-based education system. Following an introductory overview of standards-based education, goals, and definitions, the guide continues with chapters that address multiple processes for planning, developing, reviewing, and implementing standards within the context of adult education. Each chapter provides information and process considerations for key tasks.

Benefits and Uses
  • Reasons the resource has implications for the adult education field 
    The work described in each chapter can directly affect the success of creating standards-based systemic change within adult education.
  • Resource’s potential use

    This guide is a resource for the numerous stakeholder groups that will plan, develop, review, and implement the content standards. Regardless of where a state is in the process to implement standards, state staff should scan the entire guide to become familiar with its contents. State staff members are often the leaders in coordinating standards-based reforms, and they help define the goals and secure the resources for this initiative. Staff can use this guide throughout the process for planning, developing, reviewing, approving, and implementing the standards.

    A state usually relies on the commitment and expertise of regional and local program staff to represent the perspectives of different types and sizes of programs, different regions and communities, and the various partner agencies and constituent groups. The state staff liaison or standards project coordinator can identify chapters or sections of the guide and additional resources that will help team members gain a better understanding of their role in the process. Individuals participating in the initiative might scan the entire guide, but not everyone will need to read each chapter thoroughly.

    Each chapter provides information and process considerations for key tasks. Although the chapters present information sequentially, the tasks and process are interrelated, and the decisions made during one phase of the process will have a direct effect on the tasks in other phases.

  • Most significant or useful features to the target audience(s)

    Throughout each chapter, readers will find three types of resources in the sidebars. Tips offer reminders and helpful hints related to the topic. Voices from the Field provide lessons learned from adult educators who have been involved in standards development and implementation. Voices from Research refer readers to standards-based educational research that will help guide informed decision making.

    Interspersed throughout the text are exhibits that outline key information presented in the text or illustrate samples that state teams can adapt and use for different tasks. Each chapter also includes

    • practice and application activities to assist state teams in using the information presented, and
    • references for the sources cited in the chapter.

    Finally, the guide has the following appendices:

    • Appendix A, White Paper, provides additional information and references on standards-based educational research.
    • Appendix B, Glossary, contains key terms used in standards-based education and in this guide.
    • Appendix C, Tools and Templates, provides sample instruments that states can adapt and use during the planning, development, review, and implementation processes.
    • Appendix D, References and Resources, lists additional references to support state standards-based education reform initiatives.
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