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Adult Education Acronyms You Should Know

Adult Education Acronyms You Should Know

Wherever there is government, there are acronyms. That is especially true in the realm of adult education, which is a critical piece of the U.S. Department of Education’s overall strategy to modernize the workforce and make the country more economically competitive. We last rounded up the most prevalent acronyms in this blog post from 2016. Here are some of the initiatives, programs, and products that currently have the most momentum.

Perkins V

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the fifth reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act that governs $1.2 billion in federal spending. This latest version was signed earlier this year and goes into effect on July 1, 2019. Changes from the previous version include allowing districts to spend CTE funds for career exploration activities throughout the district, not just in designated CTE programs; removing the U.S. Department of Education from negotiating and monitoring state performance levels; and increasing the amount of funds that states can spend on CTE programs in correctional facilities.


The HiSET® (High School Equivalency Test) exam is a competitor (and, in some states, a replacement) to the GED® assessment that serves as equivalent to a high school diploma. The HiSET exam is active in 23 states and 5 U.S. territories, and it helps successful test-takers advance their careers, enroll in more rigorous training programs, join the military, or continue their education, just as the GED test has for decades. Also, another competitor is the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™. For more information comparing high school equivalency tests, check out this blog post.


Student Performance Levels (SPLs) are a set of standards designed to universally describe the English capabilities of non-native speakers, giving educators a shorthand in discussing the abilities of students.  The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) developed standards for testing, leveling, and curriculum in English language training for ORR-funded refugee ESL programs, with the SPLs to indicate the ability to communicate with a native speaker and readiness for employment. The SPLs describe general language ability at a given in terms of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Here is a rubric of the listening comprehension and oral communication SPLs. 


The Equipped for the Future (EFF) program is spearheaded by the University of Tennessee, and it has organized a nationally recognized content framework of 4 purposes for learning, 16 content standards, 3 role maps, and 13 common activities ascribed to the literacy and informational needs of adults in the workplace, similar to how state literacy standards are used in K–12. Unlike the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCR) for Adult Education provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the EFF system is not aligned to the Common Core State Standards or any other K–12 standards that states employ.

Looking to stay up to date on adult education trends? Check out the latest statistics in this blog post!

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Scott Sterling

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.