[Adult Education] Acronyms to Know

Thursday, January 7, 2016 -- Leslie Holland

Every industry has its buzzwords, and the world of adult education is no exception, especially when it comes to acronyms. Is your head swimming in an alphabet soup of this year’s trending abbreviations? Let us help! We’ve compiled this guide to four of the most common adult ed acronyms: OCTAE, WIOA, CCRS, and CBL. Read on to learn just what each of these is referring to – and impress your colleagues at the next staff meeting!

1. OCTAE – Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) is the branch of the Federal Department of Education focused on administering and improving adult education programs. The OCTAE’s work is centered around three main initiatives: improving adult literacy and basic skills programs, establishing rigorous Career and Technical Education (CTE) initiatives, and strengthening the role of community colleges as providers of high-quality post-secondary training options. To fulfill these objectives, the OCTAE is responsible for administration of the Adult Education formula grant program and Perkins CTE grants. They also provide assistance to states to improve adult education and CTE program quality and accountability. Finally, the OCTAE works to build public support and awareness for community college programs, and develop effective strategies to ensure enrolled students complete them. To learn more about the scope of the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education’s work, check out their page on the U.S. DOE website.  

2. WIOA – Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act was put into place to achieve greater alignment between education programs, workforce development agencies, and employers. WIOA looks to facilitate workforce investment activities, largely through actively engaging private sector employers in workforce development and training efforts. These programs help ensure adult learners receive the training they need to receive recognized credentials and earn livable wages. At the same time, employers benefit from an overall improvement in the quality of the workforce and increased access to the skilled employees they need to be productive and competitive in the global market. For more information on the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, take a look at this overview published by the National Association of Workforce Boards.

3. CCRS – College & Career Readiness

The College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) is a project initiated by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) in or to improve the quality of adult education and literacy programs in the U.S. The CCRS were developed using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a basis and are intended to help adult education programs develop and implement effective curriculum frameworks. The CCRS are divided into two sets of standards, one for English language arts and literacy and one for mathematics. Similar to the CCSS, the CCRS put a focus on reading texts of increasing complexity across subject areas and on preparing learners for career pathways in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Ultimately, these standards should ensure adult learners are developing the specific skills and knowledge they need to be successful in post-secondary education and careers. Check out this report from the U.S. Department of Education and OVAE for detailed information on the College and Career Readiness Standards and their development.

4. CBL – Competency-Based Learning

Competency-based learning (CBL) is the idea that instead of moving students along in their educational careers based on seat time, they should progress based on demonstrated mastery of content and skills. This makes for a flexible and personalized system that is well suited to the widely varying backgrounds, interests, and logistical situations of adult learners. By focusing on allowing students to move at their own pace, CBL models save time and money for students and education programs and make better use of technology. In addition, the high degree of personalization in CBL models helps increase student engagement, opens new pathways to graduation, and takes advantage of learning opportunities available outside of the academic environment. Take a look at this issue brief from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for details on competency-based learning.

Interested in learning more about how Edmentum can help your adult learners achieve their academic and career goals? Check out our Adult + HigherEd Solutions!

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