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Revising Standards, Raising the Bar for Adult Literacy

Research indicates the need to revisit standards at regular intervals to ensure they remain current and reflect best practices in teaching and learning. In 2003, CETE staff facilitated the development of Ohio's mathematics, reading, and writing content standards for Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) students. Last year, the Ohio Board of Regents asked CETE to revise and update the standards.

A number of research, practice, and policy influences compelled the standards revision forward. Like other states, Ohio is focusing attention on the need to better prepare adult students for transitions into postsecondary education and the workplace. With the recent development of the state's Basic and Advanced Stackable Certificates, ensuring that adult literacy students are prepared for the next steps in their education was paramount.

Using a multistep, iterative process of creation, verification, and finalization, CETE staff worked with content specialists and ABLE practitioners. For standards creation, CETE staff held a series of meeting at which revision teams reviewed and evaluated standards sources, drafted statements, and reached consensus on refined wording. For standards verification, CETE staff conducted a statewide online survey to determine the importance of the content areas covered, to gather judgment on classroom observability, and to confirm grade leveling of the statements. For standards finalization, CETE staff convened a panel of ABLE, secondary, and post-secondary partners with content area and teaching expertise to review the standards and make final suggestions for revision based on the verification survey results.

With the revised standards in place, Ohio ABLE programs have been working to incorporate the increased rigor, detail, and specificity into their curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices. The revised standards for mathematics, reading, and writing raise the bar for students and teachers alike as the ABLE system keeps pace with the changing nature and higher expectations of the 21st century workplace.

Traci Lepicki