What the New NRS EFL Descriptors Mean for the Adult Education Classroom(ABE, ASE, and ESL)

You want to be a responsible adult ed teacher or practitioner. 

I know this because you’re reading about the NRS EFL descriptors for adult education.

We both can agree that understanding the impact of the NRS EFL descriptors on adult ed classrooms is critical; but reading the NRS 222-page-document is time-consuming.  

So you wonder, what’s new in the descriptors? Well, several things have changed...

Wish you could put your hands on a summary? So, keep on reading…

This is exactly what I want this post to be. With that in mind, let’s go over the nitty-gritty of the descriptors for ELA, Math, and ESL,  shall we?

Why not starting with the big picture? 

  • Adult ed programs should help learners develop skills and competencies that will help them succeed in career pathways, vocational training, and in academic programs (meeting the expectations of WIOA).

How do you help students get there? Let’s look at the specifics.

1. Reading Expectations

Teachers should create learning opportunities for students to:

Reading complexity Table

Source: National Reporting System for Adult Education

Now, let’s look at the writing component. 

2. Writing Expectations

Students should have the learning opportunity to:

  • Write to argue their point of view (level 3 to 6)

  • Use writing skills to inform and explain themselves or what they understand (level 3 to 6)

  • Read and summarize evidence and details from different  texts  in writing

What's next...?

3. Speaking and Listening Expectations

In the classroom, students should have a chance to:

  • Use speaking and listening to demonstrate career and employability readiness skills

  • Demonstrate collaborative, conversational, and teamwork skills and competencies at all levels

  • Show evidence of their ability to evaluate conversations and to effectively present information to an audience

One more thing…

4. Language Expectations

Teachers should create learning opportunities for students to:

  • Access, develop, and utilize language that relates to career and college readiness at each level to complete relevant tasks

  • Develop presentation skills and effectively utilize grammar and punctuation skills and adequate vocabulary at each level

Now, let’s talk math. 

5. Math Expectations

Students should be able to:

  • Work on math concepts and skills that are aligned with the CCR standards
  • Articulate math terminology to represent verbally and in writing  and to solve word problems and operations
  • Cover content that equates to two grade levels( K-12 grades) but level E should cover content for 4 grades combined (9-12 grades)

Finally the ESL section…

6. ESL Expectations

Students should be given the opportunity to:

  • Develop the four skills and utilize level-appropriate language that will help them succeed in career pathways, vocational training,  and academic studies (GED and college)
  • Produce every day and academic language complex enough for their level and transfer meaning, orally and in writing, in a variety of contexts (productive modality)
  • Participate in meaningful conversations and interact effectively with others in a variety of contexts (interactive modality)

7. Questions or Concerns

What questions do you have about the implication of the new NRS EFL descriptors for adult education? 

Write them in the comment below and 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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