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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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postsecondary readiness

The Policy to Performance Toolkit is designed to provide state adult education staff and key stakeholders with guidance and tools to use in developing, implementing, and monitoring state policies and their associated practices that support effective state ABE to postsecondary transition systems. The Policy to Performance Toolkit is based on the processes and findings from the Policy to Performance Project. The tools and practices utilized in the project were compiled into a comprehensive and interactive Toolkit that provides users with guidance and strategies for strengthening existing or developing new ABE state transition (STET) The Policy to Performance Toolkit offers users downloadable resources and writable tools, as well as provides examples of how participating states applied the tools and processes discussed in the Toolkit.

2012
Judith A. Alamprese & Chrys Limardo
Kratos Learning and Abt Associates Inc.

Less than 5 percent of GED holders ever earn a postsecondary degree. In response, innovative GED programs have begun creating clear, effective pathways to postsecondary education, preparing their students for college and careers.

This white paper by John Garvey and JFF’s Terry Grobe shares lessons from “best in class” GED to College programs that show early, positive results in preparing youth for college and helping them persist once there. It also explores key issues connected to the growth of this programming within the field and lays out a framework for leaders and program staff looking to transform short-term GED programs into more intensive, college-connected designs.

2011
John Garvey, with Terry Grobe
Jobs for the Future

Despite their best efforts, community colleges continue to see low rates of student persistence and degree attainment, particularly among academically vulnerable students. While it is likely that academic interventions need to be reformed to increase their efficacy, another partial explanation for these low success rates is that students have other needs that are not being met. This Brief, based on a longer paper, examines programs and practices that appear to address these needs by providing non-academic support in order to encourage student success.

A review of the literature on non-academic support yields evidence of four mechanisms by which such supports can improve student outcomes: (1) creating social relationships, (2) clarifying aspirations and enhancing commitment, (3) developing college know-how, and (4) addressing conflicting demands of work, family and college. Identifying these mechanisms allows for a deeper understanding of both the functioning of promising interventions and the conditions that may lead students to become integrated into college life. Notably, each of these mechanisms can occur within a variety of programs, structures, or even informal interactions. The Brief concludes by discussing avenues for further research and immediate implications for community colleges.

2011
Melinda Mechur Karp
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

This report was developed as part of the Postsecondary Success initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The paper provides a summary and analysis of promising policies and practices that could be beneficial in helping adults advance from adult education to postsecondary education. Data were collected by telephone interviews with 17 state adult education directors, postsecondary staff, and 1 – 2 program directors that were recommended by the state director.
The report summarizes and describes findings in the following categories:

  • Planning and partnerships
  • Models of college and career readiness
  • Assessment and advising
  • Comprehensive supports
  • Acceleration strategies
  • Funding mechanisms
  • Youth-specific issues and models.

The paper begins with an overview of adult education college and career readiness efforts and includes a particular focus on youth in adult education, ages 16 to 24. In addition to basic skills instruction, most adults, regardless of age, could benefit from college and career readiness services by helping them prepare for postsecondary education. The author describes a multitude of approaches taken by participating states in providing these services and also discusses challenges and opportunities that emerged in planning for and implementing the services. In addition to stating that the adult education system reform efforts should include a shift and expansion "beyond the GED", the author provides recommendations for learners of all ages in adult education programs and closes by discussing youth-specific issues and approaches to developing and implementing youth-focused programs in 4 of the 17 states. The recommendations for adult education leaders and private and public funders are framed around partnerships, strategies, and needed research.

2010
Cynthia Zafft
National College Transition Network

This guide is for program developers, managers, and coordinators who want to know how to build bridge programs that integrate adult basic skills education with postsecondary education and training to increase student retention and success. The guide explains bridge program initial development, financing, program implementation and management, and evaluation and improvement techniques.

2005
Women Employed, Chicago Jobs Council and UIC Great Cities Institute

This toolkit contains worksheets, policy questions and communications tools designed to help state and education leaders assess the need for community college developmental education.  It provides support for reshaping policy to assist community college efforts to reduce the number of students entering college underprepared and improve the success of students who are underprepared but already enrolled.  It examines current and emerging policy trends in developmental education.

2008
Thomas G. Greene
Community College Bridges to Opportunity Initiative, University of Texas - Austin

This Policy Brief examines the major assessments in use today to measure adult learning gains and determine student placements – e.g., BEST, CASAS, TABE, COMPASS, ASSET, and ACCUPLACER – in terms of their uses and how they well they align with postsecondary education entry requirements. Special attention is given to the GED. The authors identify several problems and challenges as well as recommendations to resolve them.

2007
Daryl F. Mellard and Gretchen Anderson
Division of Adult Studies, Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas.