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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Components of Curriculum

Curriculum provides a coherent plan that links the goals for learning (which typically comprise of academic standards such as the College and Career Readiness standards for adult education, or CCRAE) and the work that happens in the classroom. It is a course of study and a set of tools that guide teachers to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment.

Curriculum includes the following components, among others:

  • A brief program overview
  • Guidance for the teacher(s) using the curriculum
  • Scope and sequence
  • Curriculum units
  • Lesson plans

Scope and Sequence

Please refer to the ACLS Curriculum Resources section for ELA, Math, and ESOL Scope and Sequence Templates.

The following points describe what a scope and sequence should include and how alignment to the CCRAE or the Massachusetts ABE Curriculum Framework for ESOL should be achieved.

Scope and Sequence Description:

  • The scope describes the expectations and breadth of what is to be covered in a given content area. For ESOL, this includes both English language skills and content;
  • The scope describes the overall instructional goals including content, skills, knowledge needed;
  • The scope introduces the content/skills to students in a logical, meaningful manner;
  • The scope incorporates student goals;
  • The scope reflects a shared understanding and should guide all teachers in the development of their daily instruction.
  • The sequence aligns class levels so there are clear transitions from one class level to another;
  • The sequence describes the order of what is planned to be covered, and some information about for how long;
  • The sequence reflects the progression of content/skills over the class levels.

What Components should Scope and Sequence include? An effective scope and sequence should:

  • Explain the intention and purpose of the scope and sequence;
  • Show how knowledge, concepts, and skills are developed across the course of a year, both across the class levels and within one class level;
  • Describe increasing complexity and sophistication across the levels, with some reinforcing overlap;
  • Integrate technology;
  • Reflect the rigor of the College and career Readiness standards for adult education
  • Be contextualized using content specific to a field of interest (health, IT, green jobs);
  • Develop general academic habits and skills to prepare students for college and career readiness success;
  • Be in written form that's accessible to all teachers;
  • Be logically organized and integrated in its overall structure.

Alignment to the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (or the Massachusetts ABE Curriculum Framework for ESOL)

  • Alignment ensures that what is taught covers the knowledge and skills at the appropriate level of complexity;
  • Standards alignment helps to flesh out a scope and sequence;
  • Along with a scope and sequence, the standards align the class levels so that there are clear transitions from one class to another

For more information about developing a scope and sequence that is aligned to standards, please view the PowerPoint, Developing Two Components of Curriculum in ABE and ESOL Programs. At a later date, this PPT will be narrated.

Questions? Please contact Jane Schwerdtfeger, Curriculum and Assessment Developer, in Adult and Community Learning Services at

Last Updated: June 16, 2015
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