The Resource Library is a compendium of tools and resources selected specifically for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. You can navigate the Resource Library by topic, or by key word (or tag).

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Curriculum & Instruction

Resources to help institutions and instructors redesign and strengthen curricula and instructional strategies to better meet the needs of low-skilled adult learners.

The annual Fall Technical Institute is an opportunity for Breaking Through and Accelerating Opportunity state teams to receive targeted TA on a variety of topics. For this meeting, JFF recruited 18 subject matter experts from across the country to help state teams work through complex issues such as sustainability planning, employer engagement, and building comprehensive support services. Nine state teams attended this year's Institute.

Meeting Objectives 

  • Provide state teams with targeted technical assistance designed to strengthen solutions, advance the work, and meet outcomes through structured interactions with subject matter experts.
  • Enable teams to exchange effective practices and understand how other states or colleges are addressing key issues through peer sharing opportunities.
  • Ensure that teams leave the Institute with specific actions and plans to further their implementation and sustainability efforts.
Jobs for the Future

Monday, September 12th, 3:00 PM EDT

Jobs for the Future hosted a Bidders' Webinar to help design states develop their implementation proposals. The goals of this webinar were to:

  • Create a common understanding of the goals for the Three-year Implementation Phase;
  • Reinforce the high level expectations of states that will be selected to participate; and
  • Address questions about the Request for Proposal.


Maria Flynn, Vice President, Jobs for the Future
Barbara Endel, Program Director, Accelerating Opportunity, Jobs for the Future
Nate Anderson, Senior Project Manager, Jobs for the Future
Randy Wilson, Senior Project Manager, Jobs for the Future
Rachel Pleasants, Project Manger, Jobs for the Future

Streaming recording link:

Download recording link:

Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future

Pre-Conference Webinar: Monday, October 31st, 3:30 PM EDT

This webinar prepared participants for Using Integrated Instruction to Accelerate Learning, a full-day pre-conference provided for Accelerating Opportunity teams as part of NCTN's annual conference. In the full day session, participants learned the principles and practice of integrated instruction for classes focused on career pathways, with a focus on understanding the purpose, benefits, and challenges of integrating instruction; learning how to develop an integrated curriculum plan out of separate basic skills and a technical skills curricula; and developing a plan for presenting this model to their peers

Andy Nash, Professional Development Specialist, National College Transition Network, World Education, Inc.
Greg Brazell, Division Chair for Business and Social Sciences and Early Childhood Education Instructor, Pierce College, Washington
Lynette Hanson, GED/Basic Skills Instructor, Transitional Education, Pierce College, Washington

Recording link:


Post-conference webinar: Monday, December 5th, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM EST

This is a follow-up webinar to the NCTN pre-conference session on integrated instruction held on November 13th.

Streaming recording link:

Materials from the NCTN pre-conference session can be downloaded here:

Andy Nash, Greg Brazell, Lynette Hanson
National College Transition Network (NCTN) at World Education, Inc.

Monday, August 27th, 2:00 PM EDT

This webinar focused on how AO states can make the best use of the professional development tools and resources available so that faculty and staff are well-trained and well-supported, including external resources (such as SBCTC and NCTN’s online courses) and internal resources (such as state conferences/trainings). Both presenters emphasized the need for long-term professional development plans in addition to the initial training needed to get programs up and running. State coordinators shared what they are currently doing for professional development and discussed some of their capacity gaps.

Moderator: Ellen Hewett, NCTN

Guest experts: 
Jon Kerr, SBCTC: Jon discussed some of the strategies that SBCTC has used to provide PD to I-BEST colleges, including the development of a cadre of expert I-BEST instructors to provide PD and technical assistance across the state. He also shared what PD looks like at the state and college level. 

Andy Nash, NCTN: Andy discussed how states can best take advantage of the online PD developed by NCTN, including how to connect the online courses with other PD activities for maximum effectiveness.

Online courses from NCTN

Download PowerPoint

Streaming recording link:

Download recording link

Ellen Hewett, Jon Kerr, Andy Nash
Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, National College Transition Network

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) integrates the teaching of basic skills and technical content in order to accelerate basic skills students’ transition into and through a college-level occupational field of study.

The study reported on here represents the final phase of a multi-year evaluation of the I-BEST model that began in 2009, conducted by CCRC in collaboration with MPR Associates and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Based on fieldwork undertaken in spring 2011 on 16 I-BEST programs at eight colleges, this report builds on CCRC’s earlier qualitative and quantitative research by seeking to understand those aspects of I-BEST that best support student learning, progression, and completion.

In addition, the report considers the I-BEST student experience and presents the results of a cost-benefit analysis of the program. The findings and recommendations highlighted in the report will be of interest to funders, policymakers, and practitioners in other states who are considering transition interventions similar to the I-BEST model.

John Wachen, Davis Jenkins, Clive Belfield, and Michelle Van Noy with Amanda Richards and Kristen Kulongoski
The Community Collge Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

This brief offers a two-track approach to ensuring that low-income adults maintain access to, and success in attaining, a secondary credential. First we provide an overview of the GED test and a primer outlining the changes that will be made for 2014 and offer ways states can prepare for them. Next we describe alternatives to attaining a high school equivalency diploma (HSED) that states may want to provide. The HSED overview is based on an analysis done by the Center for Law and Social Policy, with descriptions of secondary equivalency programs that are already in place in some states and are worthy of consideration. The brief then summarizes actions states need to take to ensure that those with the most need and least resources, low-income adults, are not shut out of the education system.

Carol Clymer
The Working Poor Families ProjecT

As a result of new research and promising practice, we have more clarity than ever about how we can fundamentally transform our developmental education system to improve success for all students. To propel the movement forward, this statement offers a set of clear and actionable principles that, although not the final word on dev ed reform, sets a new course that can dramatically improve the postsecondary success of millions of students across the nation. 

To be clear: The principles that guide this statement advocate changing current dev ed systems so that all students, no matter their skill levels or background, have a real opportunity to earn a college credential. Some may see this statement as supporting changes that discourage or divert students from their pursuit of a college credential. Nothing is further from the truth. Rather, we believe the systemic changes we propose, all of which can be found in some colleges and state systems around the country, are much more likely than current practice to provide a clear path that all students can follow to achieve their academic and career goals.

In the end, the strategies we propose increase overall college completion rates, particularly among students who have traditionally been underserved by our postsecondary institutions.

Charles A. Dana Center, Complete College America, Inc., Education Commission of the States, & Jobs for the Future

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) calls for states to offer programs of study (POS), which local educational agencies and postsecondary
institutions may adopt as an option for students participating in career and technical education (CTE). Each local recipient of Perkins IV funds must offer at least one
POS that, at a minimum:
• Incorporates and aligns secondary and postsecondary education elements;
• Includes academic and CTE content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses;
• Offers the opportunity, where appropriate, for secondary students to acquire postsecondary credits; and
• Leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.

The intent of this guidance is to clarify and offer suggested criteria for states to consider as they identify and certify whether a local POS provider is ready and has sufficient capacity
for full POS implementation. Implementation of the intentional POS structure that incorporates the statutory requirements will be confronted with a need to develop
a number of supporting elements. These supporting elements will aid and support POS implementation by addressing the system elements that comprise a fully developed
program of study. A self-assessment of these supporting elements makes up the content contained in this POS readiness and capacity review guide. Each of the elements are addressed individually, but work in concert with each other to help support full implementation of a program of study.

MPR Associates, Inc.
MPR Associates, Inc.

The Adult College Completion Toolkit was developed by the Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). OVAE developed the Toolkit to help policymakers at the state and local level implement practical evidence-based solutions that increase the number of graduates who earn high-quality degrees and certificates required to compete for good jobs in the 21st century global economy. College completion is a shared responsibility; this Toolkit also provides resources for adult education administrators, teachers, and students.

The Adult College Completion Tool Kit is designed to connect state administrators and local practitioners to the strategies, resources, and technical assistance tools resulting from the Department’s work. States can use this information to identify and implement state adult education leadership priorities, supported by federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funds, which encourage and support adult learners transitioning to college.

The tool kit focuses on three areas:

  • Access: Academic preparation, financial resources, and other support students need to enroll in postsecondary education programs.
  • Quality: Evidence-based practices used by programs to ensure their services prepare students adequately for postsecondary education.
  • Completion: Administrative policies and programmatic approaches to encourage student persistence in postsecondary education programs.
Michelle Tolbert, MPR Associates, Inc.,
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education