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State strategies to facilitate adult learners’ transitions to postsecondary opportunities

The purpose of this study was to catalog the array of strategies Midwest states use to support adult learners’ transitions to postsecondary opportunities. Prior research has categorized adult education post-program transition strategies in the U.S. into five broad categories: (1) advising, (2) “GED-plus,” (3) English as a second language, (4) career pathways, and (5) college preparatory (Zafft, Kallenbach, & Spohn, 2006). Using data from interviews with one state administrator and one local adult education director in each of six Midwestern states, this exploratory study found that these strategies often are combined in novel ways and that there are many “sub-strategies” within and across these categories. In addition, this exploratory study found that although data from the National Reporting System for Adult Education Programs (NRS) indicate there is large variation in adult learners’ post-secondary participation, these data may not be reported consistently nationwide. This report suggests areas for future research that can build off the findings raised here; for example, future studies may investigate the degree to which NRS data are comparable across states, or the efficacy of the policies, programs, and strategies described here on outcomes of interest.
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Publication Date:
January 2017