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Improving Adult Education Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential

Posted on 03/26/2012

Advanced Math

California requires adult education instructors in both the K12 system and the community colleges to be credentialed, with requirements related to content area as well as teaching approaches for adults. However, many states do not have such requirements. In fact, 18 states have no credentialing requirement for teaching adult education, although three of those states require some professional development within a certain period. Because of this situation, and spurred also by the wide adoption by states, including California, of the Common Core Curriculum Standards, a national discussion is now taking place on the possibility of a nationally required credentialing system for adult educators.

In September 2011, the Council on Adult Basic Education (COABE) (www) and the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium (NAEPDC) (www) brought together a panel of key experts and stakeholders from across the nation to discuss the many challenges faced today in adult education. The key findings of this panel have been published by McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, Improving Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential (pdf), calling for a national credentialing system for adult educators.

Adult educators often teach a broad range of subjects and levels, in a variety of settings with a diverse set of learners. The demands of the 21st century workforce and higher education add to the critical situation we face as a nation in this area. Citing a body of evidence that the performance of students can be predicted by the quality of instruction, the paper proposes the development of new national standards, new professional development opportunities and new credentialing options with the goal of improving the level of instruction in adult education throughout the country.

The authors state, "National trends suggest greater need for common academic standards in education across state lines.  The adult education field can build upon the work of other fields, including both higher education and K-12. …With the updating of high school equivalency credentials, the need for coordinated teaching standards—and teaching credentials—become more compelling…. Thus, by creating a national mechanism for developing standards, making available a diverse range of professional development resources and providing credentialing options, the field will be able to expand capacity throughout the nation, while creating a system for teachers (both paid and volunteer) to acquire portable, stackable credentials."

For full details of the recommendations, download a copy of Improving Teacher Effectiveness: A Call to Action for a New Credential (pdf).

In a related topic, visit the archives of  the LINCS Professional Development List Guest Discussion of Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education (www), from June 2011, where issues and concerns related to professionalism and adult education and the role of teacher certification and credentialing were discussed in an open forum.

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