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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)


Why Use Standards?

Standards address the question, "What do adult learners need to know and be able to do so they are prepared to meet employers' expectations for trained workers, succeed in postsecondary education and/or training, and attain the goals they set for themselves?"

The standards give ABE and ESOL teachers a common roadmap for what students must learn in order to be college and career ready. The standards are not curricula themselves. They do give teachers guidelines from which to develop curricula, scope and sequences within curricula, curriculum units, and lesson plans as part of curriculum units.

ACLS is committed to a standards-based system in which curriculum, instruction, and assessment are all aligned to standards and benchmarks or to level-specific standards. Having standards and benchmarks or level-specific standards the same across the state creates equity and sets high expectations for what's taught to adult learners and what's assessed.

Getting Standards Right is Important!

Standards …
Arrows for Standards -align curriculum, instruction, assessment, & accountability -Provide clear expectation for students & staff -Provide focus for professional development and improved teaching & program improvement -and result in higher & deepers levels of learning for students.
Adapted from National Research Council. 1999. Testing, Teaching, and Learning: A Guide for States and School Districts, page 20. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

  • Programs offering ABE instruction are required to implement curriculum aligned to the Anchor Standards and level-specific standards of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE). The CCRSAE respond to the critical need of ensuring adult students are able to access family-sustaining employment1 via postsecondary education and/or training. In 2013, Massachusetts adopted the CCRSAE as the standards describing what all Massachusetts adult education students should know and be able to do.
  • Programs offering ESOL instruction are required to implement curriculum aligned to the standards and benchmarks of the Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (MA ELPS)2. The MA ELPS combine college and career readiness skills and language skills into a single set of standards for English language learners.

ABE and ESOL programs are strongly encouraged to use the Massachusetts ABE Science Curriculum Framework, Life Science Strand.

Questions? Please contact Dana Varzan-Parker , Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Specialist in ACLS .

1 "Leading economists who have examined labor market projections note that key college and career ready knowledge and skills are closely linked to being able to get the training necessary to earn a living wage in high-growth industries. It is crucial, then, that adult education programs provide students the opportunity to acquire these skills to pursue their long-term career aspirations and goals." Pimentel (2013). College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education, page 2.

2 The MA ELPS integrate standards from the Massachusetts ABE Curriculum Framework for English for Speakers of Other Languages (2005), the CCRSAE, and the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (2016).

Last Updated: August 12, 2022

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