CALIFORNIA STATE PLAN
FOR ADULT BASIC EDUCATION
June 30, 1992 to July 1, 1995
Adult Education Act, P.L. 100-297 as Amended by the
National Literacy Act, P.L. 102-73
California Department of Education
Specialized Programs Branch
Youth, Adult and Alternative Educational Services Division
Adult Education Unit
GOALS, ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES
This federal plan describes how adult basic education can become more accessible, accountable, effective and efficient. It builds on components of the Strategic Plan for Adult Education, including new ways by which adult schools can collaborate with other providers to extend services to more people using the technologies of the future.
This chapter outlines how the State of California intends to build on past accomplishments through the use of federal resources to improve and expand its adult basic education programs. The chapter is organized into three sections:
(1) Goals and Objectives
(2) Activities and Outcomes
The goals indicated here flow from the needs assessment described in Chapter 4. These continue to be relevant goals for the Revised State Plan.
The focus of the Revised State Plan goals will help improve an individual's ability to read, write, and speak in English, and compute and solve problelms at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one's goals, and develop one's knowledge and potential. Specific program objectives and activities describe and provide for the fulfillment of the literacy needs of individuals in California. [Section 342(c)(1)].
Goals and Objectives
Advisory discussion, outreach and research have led to several objectives for planning an adult education system to meet the needs of coming decades (See Exhibit 10). These objectives can be clustered into four general goals:
- Improving Access to Users
- Improving Accountability
- Improving Program Quality and Responsiveness
- Improving Planning and Coordination
The above goals provide guidelines for planning an adult education system that builds upon the strengths of the present while using the technologies and innovations of the future.
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION GOALS AND
IMPROVE ACCESS TO USERS:
- Increase User Access to Programs
- Better Inform Users of Programs
- Funding to Meet Demand for Services
IMPROVE QUALITY AND RESPONSIVENESS:
- Accountability Measures (Students and Providers)
- Data System for Adult Education
- Capacity for Program Evaluation and Review
- Competency-Based Assessment
- Program Quality Standards
IMPROVE PLANNING AND COORDINATION:
- Funding and Regulations that Encourage Program
Improvement, Responsiveness, Innovation and Alternatives
- Resources for Program and Curriculum Development
- Resources for Staff Development
- Maintenance and Expansion of Instructional Area Diversity
- Funding Appropriate for Adults
- Coordination Among Providers and Collaborative Planning
- Participation of Key Stakeholders
- Capacity for Policy Setting and Leadership
- Status as Equal Educational Partner
- Community Service and Relevance
These goals and themes will be elaborated below.
IMPROVE ACCESS TO USERS
The delivery and availability of adult basic education is just as important as curriculum and methods of instruction. Following are three program objectives that are likely to attract more highly motivated students into adult basic education programs.
- Increase User Access to Programs. Increase access to programs by extending open-entry, open-exit competency-based education to alternative modes of service delivery. The ultimate goal will be to develop a system of instructional opportunities that allows adults to undertake learning at any hour of the day, at a number of different locations and settings ranging from commuter trains to classrooms, and through methods as varied as classrooms and inter-active learning technologies.
- Better Inform Users of Programs. Prospective participants must not only have easy access to information about available programs, but also information and guidance that helps them decide which program best meets their needs.
- Funding to Meet Demand for Services. The opportunity to attain basic skills, renew occupational qualifications and pursue other self-improvement should be available to all adults regardless of age, area of residence, or prior educational experience.
These themes underscore the importance of finding ways to provide and deliver services that empower adults to pursue education despite the conflicting claims on their time.
Accountability is a key goal for adult education, as is the case with most public and private endeavors of our time. This means that programs should explicitly define what they intend to accomplish and document achievements with reliable and objective information. For adult basic education, this should entail five specific objectives:
- Accountability Measures. Building on the successes of the California Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), common measurement instruments should continually be developed and improved to document student and program performance. These accountability measures should demonstrate the value of programs to students and society, particularly in terms of educational achievement. In addition to measures of program results, measures should also show the quality of inputs into educational programs.
- Data System for Adult Education. Information concerning the nature and performance of programs should be maintained in a comprehensive data system that can be easily accessed by both local and state users.
- Capacity for Program Evaluation and Review. Capacity will be developed to conduct rigorous and objective evaluations of adult basic education programs and review such evaluations in open policy forums.
- Competency-Based Assessment. Educational programs will be driven by the need for students to demonstrate agreed upon competencies as a result of program participation. Programs which do not demonstrate expected competency attainment shall be subject to review.
- Standards and Guidelines for Program Quality. Common quality standards and guidelines should be developed for the design and implementation of programs. These standards and guidelines should be used to determine eligibility for funding, and funding bonuses for exemplary program quality.
These objectives do not imply that providers should not develop their own standards for excellence and accountability. However, they do underscore the need for documenting achievement as a condition of support from students and the California public.
IMPROVE PROGRAM QUALITY AND RESPONSIVENESS
Changes are needed to encourage local educational providers to be responsive to new needs and maintain quality programs.
- Funding and Regulations that Encourage Program Improvement, Responsiveness Innovation, and Alternatives. Funding and state imposed requirements on local providers will encourage improved performance and increase responsiveness in terms of program content and the non-traditional delivery of services to learners (e.g. computer assisted instruction, television courses, and learning circles).
- Resources for Program and Curriculum Development. State-of-the-art program resources such as computer aided instruction will be available to help local providers match the most appropriate methods with the learning needs and styles of individual students and groups.
- Resources for Staff Development. Resources will be effectively marshalled to provide in-service training and professional development to teachers, counselors, administrators and school board members.
- Facilities Appropriate for Adults. Funding and facilities will be more equitably available across the State to provide quality programs to adult learners. Facilities should maximize access by adult learners, as well as the use of new technologies and alternative methods of learning.
These objectives stress the importance of resources for innovation and the effective communication of alternative means of improving program quality and responsiveness.
IMPROVE PLANNING AND COORDINATION
The complexity of educational delivery systems, swiftness of social change, and scarcity of resources has intensified the need for better planning and coordination. Five objectives should guide plans for adult basic education:
- Coordination Among Providers. The multitude of literacy-related and basic skills programs serving adults has created a need for effective communication and coordination among providers. This will help providers avoid unnecessary duplication, articulate levels of skill training with one another, and pool resources where appropriate.
- Participation of Key Stakeholders. Rapid social change and the need to reconcile differing priorities require that businesses, CBOs, user groups, and pertinent government agencies actively and regularly participate in the setting of policy and oversight of programs for adult basic education.
- Capacity for Policy Setting and Leadership. Adult education will have the forums, resources and decision-making ability to develop proactive policy at both the local and State levels.
- Status as Equal Educational Partner. Successful initiatives to combat California's skill gap and foster learning to meet the challenges of tomorrow require that the education of adults be given equal priority and standing with K-12 and four-year college level education systems.
- Community Service and Relevance. Programs will be context relevant in that they are broadly related to issues and needs of the particular community or service delivera area.
These objectives envision a more cohesive and systematic way of developing and delivering basic skills programs to adults.
All these goals and objectives constitute ambitious goals for adult basic education. They are also essential goals that must be accomplished to achieve the level of adult literacy and basic skills that will be required for the future. Meeting these goals will require more effective use of existing resources, as well as the effective application of modern management principles and technology.
ACTIVITIES AND OUTCOMES
The four broad goals and multiple program objectives outlined above will be achieved by a local assistance grants program (under Section 321 of the Act) that is strongly supported by a demonstration grants and staff development program (under Section 353). The local assistance grants program strongly emphasizes quality control and accountability, while the demonstration grants emphasize new ways to increase access by students and increase coordination among providers. These demonstration grants under Section 353 are described in Chapter 14, yet they are listed in the exhibit below in order to provide an overview of the entire California program for adult basic education (See Exhibit 11).
Exhibit 11 - [OMITTED]
LOCAL ASSISTANCE AND DEMONSTRATION GRANTS
PROGRAMS BY PLANNING GOALS
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