Welcome to dese.mo.gov. We hope you enjoy the site, and we welcome your feedback.

AEL Qualifications

You are here


Service Area

Procedures for Implementing a Local Adult

Education and Literacy Program

Minimum Quality Assurances

Minimum Standards for Local Adult Education and

Literacy Programs

Adult Education and Literacy services are designed to teach eligible persons 16 years of age or older to read and write English and acquire basic skills necessary to function in society and to become more employable, productive and responsible citizens as well as allowing them to continue their education to at least the completion of secondary school.


The Missouri State Plan for Implementing Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 establishes a program of Adult Education and Literacy (AEL). The Missouri State Board of Education is responsible for administering and supervising the program at the state level. Funds will be distributed to public school districts and other eligible agencies and institutions for the purpose of providing instruction in AEL.

Service Area

The smallest geographical area considered for approval for Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) funding is a single school district. Each institution within the state correctional system, overseen by one superintendent, will be considered as one school district for the purpose of program approval. School districts in which no AEL class was held in the previous program year will be considered as not being served. However, one geographic area may have multiple service providers if:
  1. The total population exceeds 20,000 eligible students, OR

  2. Different service providers serve different populations.

Multiple applications for serving a single geographic area are expected. These will be accepted for review and consideration, but only one program per geographical area will be funded with the exception of the aforementioned conditions. If it is determined that the geographic area is best served by allowing multiple programs to serve the same geographic area, the multiple programs should negotiate a cooperative service agreement. If a cooperative service agreement cannot be negotiated, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) reserves the right to call a hearing to determine the most cost effective and best plan to service eligible participants. The State Director may, when conditions warrant, make adjustments in geographic areas that may have more than one program.

Procedures for Implementing a Local Adult Education and Literacy Program

All applicants for Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) programs shall have direct and equal access to program funds. Application information will be supplied to all agencies that make written inquiries and requests.

In order to be approved as an AEL program, the eligible provider must initiate a comprehensive community survey. Information that would be valuable to the AEL program might include target population, names, addresses, educational levels, and ages of person interested or in need of AEL classes.

The eligible provider must prepare a multiple year plan that will describe the activities, priorities, and needs of adults that will be used by the proposed program. An agency that submits a plan may submit amendments to that plan with the approval of the State Director of Adult Education and Literacy.
Once the plan is approved, the superintendent or chief executive officer of a local provider must annually file an Application for an Adult Education and Literacy Program Budget with:

State Director of Adult Education and Literacy
Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
PO Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102

The deadline for receiving the plan applications will be announced in the current Request For Proposal (RFP).
The submitted budget will be considered for approval based on such factors as past performance, recruitment and retention of educationally disadvantaged adults and the learning gains demonstrated by such adults, funds available, and contact hours generated.
The criteria for review and evaluation of applications will include, but are not limited to, specific areas required by Title II of the Workforce Investment Act as amended.
If approved by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the chief executive officer of the local provider is authorized to initiate the class and make expenditures within the limitations of the budget.
Local AEL approved programs must submit required reports as directed by DESE.

Minimum Quality Assurances

The signature of the Superintendent or chief executive officer must be entered on the Minimum Quality Assurances form and any other forms required by regulation, law and agencies. Copies of these signed forms must accompany the original proposal and subsequent renewal budgets.

Minimum Standards for Local Adult Education and Literacy Programs

1.      Report the number of contact hours generated in each school district served during the preceding program year. This information is due in the office of the State Director of Adult Education and Literacy not later than October 31 of each year.

2.      All applications/plans must be comprehensive in nature. That is, the applying agency must agree to serve individuals in all areas of need where appropriate. These areas include, but are not limited to:

A.     0.0 to 1.9 grade equivalents, Beginning ABE Literacy.

B.     2.0 to 3.9 grade equivalents, Beginning Basic Education.

C.     4.0 to 5.9 grade equivalents, Low Intermediate Basic Education.

D.     6.0 to 8.9 grade equivalents, High Intermediate Basic Education.

E.      9.0 to 10.9 grade equivalents, Low Adult Secondary Education.

F.      11.0 to 12.9 grade equivalents, High Adult Secondary Education.

G.     CASAS (Life Skills): 165-180; SPL (Speaking): 0-1; SPL (Reading and Writing): 0-1; Oral Best: 0-15, Beginning ESL Literacy.

H.     CASAS (Life Skills): 181-200; SPL (Speaking): 2-3; SPL (Reading and Writing): 2-4; Oral Best: 16-41, Beginning ESL.

I.        CASAS (Life Skills): 201-210; SPL (Speaking): 4; SPL (Reading and Writing): 5; Oral Best: 45-50, Low Intermediate ESL.

J.       CASAS (Life Skills): 211-220; SPL (Speaking): 5; SPL (Reading and Writing): 6; Oral Best: 51-57, High Intermediate ESL.

K.    CASAS (Life Skills): 221-235; SPL (Speaking): 6; SPL (Reading and Writing): 7; Oral Best: 58-64, Low Advanced ESL.

L.      CASAS (Life Skills): 236 and above; SPL (Speaking): 7 and above; SPL (Reading and Writing): 8 and above; Oral Best: 65 and above, High Advanced ESL.

M.   Workplace Literacy/ Life Skills.

N.    Citizenship (voter registration).

O.    Family Literacy.

3.      Have objectives compatible with those in the Missouri State Plan.

4.      Provide instruction at no charge to all eligible students who are 16 years of age or older and out of school, within the district, jurisdiction or geographic area approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). (No book fee or charge of any kind may be made to the student.)

5.      Provide adequate classrooms, furniture, equipment and/or office facilities for students and professional personnel.

6.      Provide sufficient textbooks, reference books, library books, instructional equipment, teaching aids, standardized tests, etc., to meet the needs of pupils and teachers in the instructional program.

7.      Provide services designed to meet the special needs of educationally disadvantaged adults.

8.      Engage in outreach activities compatible with the Missouri State Plan for Adult Education and Literacy, and inform adults in the areas served of times and locations of class.

9.      Adhere to budgeting and accounting procedures outlined in this appendix and have an audit completed and submitted each year.

10.      Adhere to the Acceptable Use Policy for all AEL/DESE owned equipment and software.

11.      Budget a minimum of $5 per student enrolled in AEL for teaching materials and supplies.

12.  Record and keep on file enrollment and follow-up information on all students in AEL classes for a minimum of three (3) years.

13.  Document each student’s progress and mastery of instructional objectives through the use of standardized tests.

14.  Employ well-qualified teachers who are properly certificated by DESE.

15.  Employ well-qualified administrators who are properly certified by DESE.

16.  Require all professional staff to attend in-service and/or pre-service workshops approved by DESE.

17.  Provide information about the availability of additional academic or career educational training for students upon the completion of their AEL training. This additional training should be available within the local geographic area served by the AEL program. However, for those seeking specialized training not available in the local area, appropriate referrals should be made.