Adult literacy programs are diverse, varied in their approaches, and tailored to their particular students and communities. At the same time, there are core components of programs that cut across all instructional types (English for Speakers of Other Languages, Adult Basic Education, and High School Equivalency preparation), locations, and student populations. These “Building Blocks” have been identified by adult literacy program leaders and students as the key ingredients for a comprehensive, effective, sustainable adult education program operated by a community-based organization. Below is a summary list of the 14 Building Blocks for a Quality Adult Literacy Program. (The next section of the report describes each Building Block in detail.)
1. A well-defined program philosophy and goals that guide all program activities and respond to community needs.
2. A clear process for outreach, intake, enrollment, and orientation that attracts students, communicates goals and expectations, places students appropriately, and begins the educational re-engagement process.
3. A program structure that maximizes student success with convenient class schedules, appropriate class size, student groupings by level, and optimal intensity and duration of engagement.
4. Organized curriculum and instruction, contextualized to students’ goals and interests, that apply principles of adult learning and engage students to become more skillful readers, writers, speakers, problem solvers, and leaders.
5. Student support services, including counseling and case management, that respond to the complexity of adult students’ lives and support their persistence and success.
6. Pathways and supported transitions to help students make informed choices about further education, training, and employment, and move forward to achieve long-term goals.
7. Integrated technology and learning tools designed for adult students that strengthen their capacity to navigate an information-based society.
8. Qualified, committed staff with skills and experiences to fulfill their responsibilities and who understand the diverse experiences, language, culture, and needs of students.
9. Adequate full-time staff with paid time for instruction, planning and preparation, outreach and intake, student assessment, counseling and support, program management, and professional development.
10. Professional working conditions and compensation to attract and retain excellent staff and support high performance.
11. Ongoing professional development that supports knowledge and skill development, collaboration, and program success.
12. Integrated planning, assessment, and evaluation that guide instruction, inform ongoing program development, and enable staff to monitor progress.
13. Program facilities and resources that are accessible to students and support all program activities, provide up-to-date technology and learning tools, and promote safety, dignity and respect for students, staff, and the local community.
14. Organizational mission, management systems, and partnerships that support program goals and effectiveness, human resources, operations, finances, community networks, and sustainability.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Investing in quality: a blueprint for adult literacy programs and funders