6 Things In-Demand Adult Educators Must Know About the New WIOA NRS Educational Functioning Level Descriptors for ABE/ASE

You knew changes were coming…

Last week, OCTAE released the new NRS educational functioning level (EFL) descriptors for ABE and ASE — and they have improved significantly.  

If you’re a good adult educator, of course you need to know what’s in the level descriptors; but reading the 222 page-document is time consuming and painful. No worries…

I got you covered. 

Here are 8 things you need to know about the new WIOA NRS educational functioning level (EFLs) descriptors for Literacy/English Language Arts for now. 


1. There are 6 EFLs: 

  • Beginning Literacy

  • Beginning Basic

  • Low Intermediate

  • High Intermediate

  • Low Adult Secondary

  • High Adult Secondary

2. The EFLs for ELA cover:

  • Reading

  • writing,

  • Speaking

  • Listening

  • language domains

3. The level descriptors for math covers 6 levels:

  • Beginning Literacy 
  • Beginning Basic
  • Low Intermediate
  • Middle Intermediate
  • High Intermediate
  • Adult Secondary

4. Each math level addresses the following domains:

  • Mathematical Practices

  • Number Sense and Operations

  • Algebraic Thinking

  • Geometry (and Measurement)

  • Data Analysis (Statistics and Probability)


5. The level descriptors derive from the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education. 

6. The EFLs draw content from the OCTAE’s Framework for Employability Skills. Therefore, they put a significant emphasis on workforce and college readiness. 


7. The descriptors pay close attention to reading and writing skills since these are the two main areas that should be taught and assessed in ABE classes.  

8. The EFL descriptors for ABE/ASE detail the most important concepts and skills that should be covered at each level; but they also leave room for state instructional frameworks and standards to guide lesson planning and classroom instructions.

Questions & Comments

What questions do you have about the new NRS EFLs for ABE and ASE? Write them in the comment below.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing this post in your network.

The coach

Teddy Edouard is a Learning Consultant & an Instructional Coach with a passion for Teaching, Learning, and Cognitive Science. He is on a mission to help institutions, teachers, and training professionals maximize the effectiveness of their instructional and non-instructional interventions. Teddy translates adult learning theories and other research into ready-to-use classroom teaching tips and strategies for the benefits of adult learners and instructors.

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