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Standards of Quality for Adult Education Programs in Colorado

The Standards of Quality for Adult Education Programs in Colorado describes the features and practices of an exemplary adult education and family literacy program. There are thirteen standards, each addressing a key aspect of program management or the delivery of services to adult learners. The Standards of Quality document (PDF) explains how the standards were developed, lists the standards with their indicators, explains how the standards can be used for a program-level self-review, provides worksheets for self-review teams to use, and gives guidance for using the self-review results to create an action plan for program improvement.

The Standards

  1. Program Design and Leadership
    Program serves the adult educational needs of the community. Program leader provides vision, direction, resources and support for all program operations and staff.
  2. Capacity and Sustainability
    Program establishes a visible and valued presence in the community through outreach and local partnerships. Program recruits learners, staff, partners and resources to ensure the continuation of services to adult learners in the community.
  3. Learner Orientation and Enrollment
    Program provides an interactive orientation that explains the instructional services provided by the program and the expectations of learners who are enrolled. Information is presented to learners using adult education principles and is accessible to learners with special needs, including limited language and literacy skills.
  4. Assessment
    Program uses assessment to place learners into instructional levels, inform instruction and show progress.
  5. Goals Process
    Program has a clear, documented procedure for collaborating with learners throughout the goals process.
  6. Learner Support and Retention
    Program helps learners persist in their learning until they reach their educational goals.
  7. Special Learning Needs
    Program policies and practices uphold the rights of learners with disabilities and fulfill the program's responsibilities in serving those learners.
  8. Curriculum
    Program has curricula developed with input from teachers. The curricula are implemented with all learners.
  9. Instruction
    Teachers deliver instruction that meets learners' needs and learning styles, is embedded in real-life contexts and learners' real-life roles. Instruction follows principles of adult education and is delivered in an organized, purposeful manner.
  10. Data Collection and Learner Records
    Program implements processes for data collection and records management that ensure accuracy in state and federal reports, validity, reliability, privacy and security. Sufficient resources are allocated to implement the processes, and clearly defined procedures are in place for collecting and managing demographic, participation, and outcome data.
  11. Transition Services
    Program supports and facilitates the efficient transfer of ESL learners into ABE/ASE study, ABE learners into ASE study, and ASE learners into postsecondary education, technical/career training or employment.
  12. Teacher Credentialing and Professional Development (PD)
    Program supports a qualified teaching staff by helping teachers to obtain the Adult Basic Education Authorization (ABEA) credential and by providing opportunities for all teachers to participate in on-going professional development. The program supports teachers in integrating new strategies into instruction through practice, feedback, and reflection.
  13. Teacher Observation
    Program leader(s) regularly observes teachers and provides on-going follow-up and support to improve instructional practice.


For more information on the Standard of Quality, contact:

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Colorado Dept. of Education
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