Missouri is the top state in the nation in academic gains among adult education students. For the period July 2016 to June 2017, 65 percent of the state’s adult education students advanced an educational level in the program. For example, a student may advance from an adult basic educational level to an adult secondary educational level. Missouri was the top state in 2014-15 as well, and ranked second in 2015-16.
In other states, the segment of adult education students showing similar progress was between 28 and 64 percent. The numbers are based on data reported to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education National Reporting System.
“We are proud of our adult education programs, students and teachers for improved academic achievement,” said Interim Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Roger Dorson. “Missouri is committed to ensuring that all students are ready to succeed.”
Through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Missouri funds approximately 28 adult education programs offering instruction in more than 250 class sites around the state. Several steps have been taken at the program level to improve instruction for adult learners:
- A portion of program funding has shifted from attendance-based to performance-based outcomes.
- Students now enter the program as part of a cohort as opposed to enrolling individually at any point in time.
- Programs now have access to their student performance data from an overall program level to the individual student level.
Missouri adult education served more than 18,000 students in 2016-17, the latest numbers available. Of those, nearly 11,000 were enrolled in adult basic education, about 1,300 in adult secondary education, and nearly 6,000 were enrolled in English literacy. Adult education services are provided at no cost to the student.
“Missourians who earn their high school equivalency make an average of $7,500 more per year than those without a high school education,” said Elaine Bryan, director of DESE’s Office of Adult Education. “Many of these students will pursue job certification or postsecondary education to further enhance their chance for success. The success of our students and helping them to achieve self-sufficiency is our program’s top priority.”