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What is Adult Education?

Adult Basic Education (ABE) services teach adults who lack high school level skills or English language speaking ability. Programs range from basic literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) through preparation for a high school credential such as the General Educational Development Test (GED) or the Adult Diploma Program (ADP) and transitions to post-secondary education and workforce development programs.

Who do ABE programs in Massachusetts serve?

According to the State Assessment of Adult Literacy for Massachusetts released in December 2005 by the National Center for Educational Statistics, a significant number of adults in the state do not have sufficient literacy skills.

  • 32% of adults were at Below Basic and Basic on the prose literacy scale (ability to read and comprehend a continuous text such as newspaper articles, editorials, or brochures).
  • 26% of adults were at Below Basic and Basic on the document literacy scale (ability to read and comprehend texts in various formats such as job applications, bus schedules, and drug and food labels).
  • 46% of adults were at Below Basic and Basic on the quantitative literacy scale (ability to identify and perform computations using numbers embedded in printed material, such as balancing a checkbook, figuring out a tip, or determining the amount of interest on a loan).

Approximately 17% of adult workers in Massachusetts are immigrants, according to a 2005 study by MassInc. Nearly 500,000 adult immigrants need to improve their literacy or English skills to succeed in our state’s economy. (The Changing Face of Massachusetts, June 2005)

Where do Adult Education programs take place?

ABE services can take place in a formal classroom, one-on-one tutoring, computer assisted instruction, and distance learning. Service providers include community-based organizations, local education agencies, community colleges, workplaces, labor union headquarters, and correctional institutions.

What is the purpose of Adult Education in Massachusetts?

Adult education enables adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.

Adult education assists adults raising children gain the educational skills necessary to help their children succeed in school.

What does MCAE do?

The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE) is a statewide membership organization of educators, adult students, and others who support equal educational opportunities for adults. MCAE’s mission is the advancement of Adult Basic Education (ABE) through increasing professionalism in the field and providing high quality basic educational services.

MCAE coordinates state and federal adult education testimony and participation at various hearings and meetings, manages our statewide ABE action network, hosts the annual NETWORK adult basic education conference, facilitates internal discussion among ABE practitioners on public policy ideas and strategies on the MCAEGrassroots discussion list and publicly distributes the MCAE Alerts on state and federal ABE legislation and the general interest MCAE News.

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