The Task

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					                The NYSED Task Force on Adult Education Reform:
                            Content Standards Committee
          Objective: To make recommendations regarding the direction of NYSED
                 adult education learning standards development/adoption.

NYSED has formed a Task Force on Adult Education Reform in order to ensure that Adult
Education policy and practice remains current and relevant. The Task Force is focused on two
areas: implementing the NYSED Quality Standards Framework and completing a white paper on
maximizing and coordinating adult education resources across a variety of State and local
agencies. The Quality Standards Framework consists of seven areas: performance standards,
program standards, professional development standards, practitioner standards, technology
standards, data standards, and content standards. Committees have been formed to address issues
in each of the standard areas.
One goal of the Board of Regents P-16 Action Plan is to:
       Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready
       for citizenship, work, and continued education. Align standards, assessments, curriculum
       and instruction across P-16, emphasizing transitions between high school and college,
       and high school and the work force.
As the current New York State learning standards were established in the mid-1990s, NYSED is
currently implementing a plan to review and evaluate the existing learning standards to
determine if they should be strengthened, modified or combined. For more details, please refer to
the NYS Learning Standards Initiative and the NYS Learning Standards and Core Curriculum
web sites listed below under “Resources”.

In January 2009, SED Adult Education and Workforce Development (AEWD) team staff formed
a diverse group including stakeholders from school districts, BOCES, community-based
organizations, postsecondary institutions, and a nationally-recognized adult education consultant.
Members are as follows:
       Co-Chair: Claudia Dean - AEWD team, NYSED
       Co-Chair: Anne Frank – AEWD team, NYSED
       Robert Purga – Team Supervisor, AEWD team, NYSED
       Barbara Case – Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES
       Ken English - New York Public Library
       Hilda Flowers – Ulster BOCES
       Dr. Veronica Henry - Long Island Educational Opportunity Center
       Kate Hymes – Hudson Valley/Catskill Partnership
       John Iorio - Buffalo City Schools
       Justin Kiernan - Erie County Community College
       Dr. Leslee Oppenheim and Kate Brandt - CUNY Office of Academic Affairs
       Robin Lovrien Schwarz – National ESOL Consultant
       Bobbi Smith – Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES
       Ira Yankwitt – NYC Department of Education

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                           1
Committee (continued):
In addition to committee participation, AEWD team members have attended Curriculum,
Instruction and Instructional Technology (CI&IT) team-sponsored NYS Learning Standards
Initiative meetings and will continue to collaborate with CI&IT team members in order to ensure
consistency and continuity across NYSED program offices. The Quality Standards Framework
used is based on research from the National Adult Education Professional Development
Consortium, which uses the term “content standards”– thus the committee name. However,
throughout this process, standards will generally be referred to as “learning standards”, as this is
the term used in the NYSED P-16 Action Plan.

Guiding Questions:
In keeping with adult education inclusion in the P-16 Action Plan, the Task Force on Adult
Education Reform Content Standards Committee addressed the following learning standards
      Should adult education craft its own set of standards or continue to crosswalk standards
       to the K-12 NYS Learning Standards?
      Should there be separate standards for adult English Language Learners?
      Should there be specific GED preparation program learning standards that address what
       students need to know to succeed in postsecondary education and training?
      Should technology standards be included?
      What role, if any, should the Work Readiness Credential/Equipped for the Future
       standards play in adult education learning standards?
Yet unlike the ambitious ten-year Standards Review Initiative timetable, the committee’s goal is
to review a variety of learning standards materials and to make recommendations regarding the
direction of adult education learning standards development/adoption over a period of several

Process & Timeframe:
The Content Standards Committee ‘met’ virtually via the webinar platform Conference IQ,
hosted and moderated by Kate Hymes, Director of the Hudson Valley Catskill Partnership (the
Hudson Valley Regional Adult Education Network). This virtual meeting procedure allowed
committee members from across the state to easily participate at a cost and time savings for all
involved. Learning standards resources were posted on the Hudson Valley Catskill Partnership
web site,, which also served as a venue for committee participant feedback via
online forum. Virtual meetings were held on February 4 and March 5, 2009. After the two initial
meetings, participants could log on to the forum site at any time through mid-March to submit
responses to the above Guiding Questions. A sample online forum page follows this document to
provide an example of the format–refer to Attachment B. AEWD staff then reviewed all forum
feedback and compiled a summary of initial committee recommendations–refer to Attachment A.
These recommendations will be introduced at the May 2009 NYACCE conference as part of an
NYSED Adult Education Reform Task Force presentation on the Quality Standards Framework

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                             2
Learning standards resources posted on the HVCP Web Site:
      Web Site Links:
    NYS Learning Standards Initiative:
    NYS Learning Standards/Core Curriculum:
    OVAE Adult Education and Content Standards Warehouse:
    - Includes content
             standards in English Language acquisition, mathematics and reading for 12
             states including NY, MA and FL. Also has Equipped for the Future standards.
    National Work Readiness Council’s Work Readiness Credential:
    - The National Work Readiness Credential is based
             upon the nationally validated Equipped for the Future (EFF) applied learning
             standards. NYSDOL has been a development partner.
    The Partnership for 21st Century Skills: -
             Gives a framework for 21st century skills within the core subjects.
      Quality Framework 08 – This PowerPoint gives detail on the NYSED initiative.
      “Out of Many, One: Toward Rigorous Common Core Standards from the Ground Up” -
       A report from the American Diploma Project – the ADP Network helps states align
       standards with real-world demands and adopt policies to increase student success.
      Straight A’s : Volume 8, No 17- A newsletter from the Alliance on Excellent Education –
       issue on how states are aligning their curriculum standards with those for college and
       work readiness.

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                       3
                        Attachment A—Summarized Responses

                The NYSED Task Force on Adult Education Reform:
                            Content Standards Committee
      Objective: To make recommendations regarding the direction of New York State
                 adult education learning standards development/adoption.

Summarized Responses to Questions/Recommendations:
1) Should adult education craft its own set of standards or continue to crosswalk
   standards to the P-16 NYS Learning Standards?
      i) It should not be necessary to ‘reinvent the wheel’, as there are good, research-based
           models out there, for example, Equipped for the Future. Having adult-specific
           standards crosswalked with appropriate P-16 standards is still valid.
      ii) Many of the learning standards in the P-16 initiative are appropriate. However, we
           need to consider androgogic approaches in developing standards for adult education
           that address the specific learning needs of adults. Performance indicators for adults
           should draw from students’ background knowledge, including daily life experiences,
           along with objectives for classroom instruction.
      iii) P-16 Learning Standards can be used as a starting point, while making students’ own
           experiences as a basis for learning. K-12 students spend 30 hours a week in school,
           while adult students typically spend 6 to 15. So, the important task is to select out
           from P-16 standards what is most relevant for adults. If we advocate for instruction
           that isn’t realistic and developmentally appropriate for our learners, then we will not
           be helping them.
      iv) In looking over the NYS P-16 standards initiative, the OVAE Adult Education
           Standards, and the NRS standards, they all appear to be divided by roughly three
           levels: beginning, intermediate and advanced. We certainly could use a similar
           framework. And the OVAE standards have different learning benchmarks for ABE,
           GED and ESOL. Perhaps these different standards for different categories of students
           should be retained.

2) Should there be separate standards for adult English Language Learners?
      i) Most definitely “Yes”. This is not to say adult ESOL should not have some overlap in
          the area of androgogy – teaching adults in the way adults learn. But, separation of the
          two fields for the core focus of each – ESOL for English instruction and content
          /literacy instruction delivered for non-native speakers, and ABE/GED for those who
          have not navigated and completed high school, would be ideal.
      ii) Native speakers and English Language Learners have different needs, and while there
          is often overlap in their goals, having separate standards will raise teachers’
          awareness about the learning needs of each group.

3) Should there be specific GED preparation program learning standards that address
   what students need to know to succeed in postsecondary education and training?
      i) Yes, as there is a huge gap between GED acquisition and college preparedness.
          CUNY offers intensive ‘post-GED’ preparation classes in reading, writing and math
          in order for students to pass college entrance exams.

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                           4
       ii) Those wishing to move to the postsecondary level must achieve higher GED scores;
            minimal GED scores will not suffice. With GED 2012 just around the corner, this will
            be even more of a concern.
       iii) During GED preparation instruction, teachers should integrate entry level-college
            skills, especially in reading, writing and math.
       iv) Postsecondary transition skills are critical, but we need to recognize that students
            seeking apprenticeships, occupational training or AOS degrees may not require the
            same skill set and/or rigor of those preparing for an AS, AA or baccalaureate degree.
            The standards need to speak to groups of students who have very different purposes
            for being in school. For the most part, work-bound students and college-bound
            students really have very different needs, and it would be wise for the standards to
            reflect this.

4) Should technology standards be included?
      i) Yes, technology standards should be integrated into all adult education learning
          standards; however, not in a separate, complex way. What are the basic skills students
          should acquire to be successful in college or the workplace?
      ii) Many technology skills should really be considered ‘life skills’ now. We should use
          technology to integrate the many facets of our ever-changing world. Life activities
          such as applying for jobs or college, registering cars, banking and health insurance
          issues are all directed by computer applications. How can we expect our students to
          be competitive in the job market without such training?

5) What role, if any, should the Work Readiness Credential/Equipped for the Future
   (EFF) standards play in adult education content standards?
      i) Regarding the Work Readiness Credential, its use has pros and cons. While it is
           approved/sponsored by the NYS Department of Labor, it is not yet recognized by
           employers nationally. While the curriculum is at a 6th grade literacy level, the four
           tests are at an 8th to 9th grade level, which would cut out some of the lower level
           students who might benefit from the credential the most.
      ii) While it may be a bit premature for all of our programs to ‘adopt’ the Work
           Readiness Credential at this time, the EFF-based work readiness standards it uses
           should be integrated within the learning standards. It would add an additional layer of
           accountability for meeting the performance measures for NRS Follow-up Outcomes.
      iii) The NYC Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education
           (OACE) is formally adopting EFF as its framework for teaching and learning. EFF is
           the only national, research-based framework of its kind for adult education. OACE
           feels that it is broad enough to be appropriate for its large, diverse program, but
           specific enough to provide concrete direction for curriculum and instruction in all of
           their ABE, GED and ESOL classes. Significant features of EFF: EFF is research-
           based; is standards-based; is goal-driven and contextualized; provides a
           comprehensive set of tools for instructional planning and assessment; has detailed
           curriculum frameworks for r reading, writing and math that include level-specific
           teaching and learning objectives. An interesting thing about EFF is that they don’t
           have separate ABE, ESL, and GED standards. This is because their standards go
           beyond academic content and viewed as lifelong learning standards. While ESL
           teachers may gravitate toward listening and speaking and ABE teachers toward
           reading ,writing and math, all of the Standards are written to apply to everyone.

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                           5
           Some adult educators might see this lack of distinction as a weakness, while others
           regard this as a great strength. Challenges to NYS as a whole adopting EFF: it
           requires significant training, so the State would have to invest in it; there are some
           programs for which EFF may not be a good fit.

6) Key Considerations. Throughout our committee meetings and online forums, numerous
   concerns have appeared relating to all five lead questions. These have been complied
   under the heading ‘Key Considerations’, critical issues to recognize as the adult
   education standards review process proceeds:
      i) In order to continue to make informed recommendations, questions on how the
           standards will be used need to be addressed. Will individual literacy programs be
           required to show that they are meeting standards, and if so, how? Are these standards
           to be used as a guide for teachers as to what to teach?
      ii) Transition needs are critical throughout all level acquisition, not only GED to
           postsecondary but ESOL to ABE as well. Supposedly ‘proficient’ English language
           learners often crash and burn when they enter ABE and try to manage native English
           texts. This problem is one of the causes of so much focus on the need to better
           transition learners in various adult education settings to the next higher setting.
      iii) “One size does not fit all.” There need to be differentiated levels within the standards
           for ESL, ABE and GED. For example, GED prep for a vocational goal is different
           from GED prep for postsecondary college degree acquisition.
      iv) Although it’s strongly recognized that technology skills are critical for all students,
           many programs still do not have computers available. ALECC Module 2, “Digital
           Literacy”, will require computer accessibility. This needs to be addressed at the State
      v) Our populations are so different statewide. It’s possible that statewide adoption of
           ‘too-specific’ standards would be limiting, as student needs in one area of the state
           may not mirror those in other regions. The challenge is to have standards that are not
           overly specific, but at the same time, not so vague that any teacher can interpret their
           own teaching as being in line with the standards.
      vi) Learning standards must include clear procedures/accommodations for the learning
           disabled population.
      vii) Assessments used should better reflect state standards; our current assessments do
           not always do so. Program evaluation, student evaluation and learning standards need
           to be in direct alignment.

NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                              6
                                           Online Forum Sample
                                      Attachment B—Online Forum Sample
Question 4: Should technology standards be included?
 Question 4: Should technology standards be included?

    Re:Question 4 1 Month ago                                                                                                   Hilda
    I also agree that technology standards should be included in all aspects of Adult Literacy. Having said that, we
    have to consider those sites that are Community Based, and have no access to technology in the classrooms.
    That is, unless the teacher brings a pre-loaded laptop. Technology is all around us, and I know my students would
    savor the opportunity to use computer enhanced learning.
    Hilda Flowers
                                                                                                                               Posts: 9

    Re:Question 4 1 Month ago                                                                          Karma: 0
    Well as Bobbi pointed out, there are many, many instances where one MUST apply for a job online, and now in
    big cities, apartment and house ads are no longer in the print newspapers, nor are job ads. They all must be
    accessed online.
    So technology, as someone else pointed out, should be integrated into all the standards. The fact that programs
    do not have computers must be addressed separately by state standards that outline that as a bare-minimum
    requirement for a program. They are not that hard to come by from donors or other organizations that can help--
    and learners either have them at home or regularly use them at the library. Plus many have handheld devices               Moderator

    and other technology.
    Our tech person at the school where I work warned that in 5 years technology will have made another major leap             Posts: 60
    forward and almost everyone will be working from handheld devices for nearly everything-- so students MUST
    have some competence on using the programs they will access.
    Robin Lovrien Schwarz

    Re:Question 4 1 Month ago                                                                              Karma: 0
    Yes, there should be technology standards and every one should be shown how it connects to language, social
    studies, science, and math standards, etcetera. I am sure most of us could list of 5 to 10 piece of technology that
    we utilized or came into contact with today. I know I am discussing with you on a chat area; I used the computer
    to send emails and use Microsoft Word; I used it to teach college students how to understand argument with                Fresh
    videos from Youtube, and I even helped someone fill out an application for a teaching job online while on the             Boarder
    phone. No one can hide from technology anymore. It is one of the areas I know that trips up students being                Posts: 7
    successful in college or getting that promotion at work.

    Re:Question 4 1 Month ago                                                                              Karma: 0
    I agree with Bobbi that technology standards should be included, but not in a complex way. What are the basic
    things students need to be able to do technologically in order to succeed, either in college or in the workplace? A
    teacher at one of our campus programs leads her GED College Prep students through google searches in which
    they learn to refine the questions they are asking to get the information they need, and to assess sources. This             Fresh
    seems to me a real need that students have, along with the ability to do basic word processing. There are                  Boarder
    certainly others. But I also think it's important not to get carried away by what technology can do.

                                                                                                                                Posts: 6

    NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009                                                7
NYSED Adult Education Content Standards Committee – January-April 2009   8

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