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What Is Covered in Basic Adult Education Programs?

Basic adult education programs are non-degree programs that offer training for adults. Programs may prepare students to take the GED test, help them strengthen their reading levels, or provide them with important life skills. View article »

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  • 0:54 High School Diploma…
  • 1:23 English as a Second Language
  • 1:36 GED Preparation
  • 2:05 Family Literacy
  • 2:30 Citizenship Exam Preparation
  • 2:59 Online Options

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Video Transcript

Adult Education Programs & Topics

Basic adult education programs can assist people who are migrants or people who have never received a high school diploma. These programs are put in place to help adults prepare for postsecondary education and a career to follow. Some specific programs and formats will be discussed.

Adult basic education can encompass many different skills, from improving literacy levels to passing the U.S. citizenship exam. Typically these programs are designed to help adults transition to postsecondary education for the the ultimate purpose of beginning a career that requires such an education. Adult basic education programs and classes can cover the following topics:

  • High school diploma equivalency
  • English as a second language
  • GED preparation
  • Family literacy
  • Citizenship exam preparation

High School Diploma Equivalency

Many basic adult education programs base coursework on education taught from first through twelfth grade in a traditional school. Some high school equivalency programs (HSEPs) are for individuals that are 16 or older and not in school. With these programs, coursework generally includes basic literacy courses for non-readers or readers with limited skills, such as non-native English speakers, social studies, English, mathematics, and science.

English as a Second Language

English as a second language programs, better known as ESL courses, are for individuals whose primary language isn't English. These courses teach basic English literacy skills as well as American customs and traditions.

GED Preparation

Many community and technical colleges offer GED preparation through their basic adult education departments. These classes can cover all four subjects of the 2014 GED exam: language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. These programs also include the chance to take full-length practice tests, which assess which areas need improvement and which areas are mastered. Applicants must be 17 years old or older to be eligible for such programs.

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Family Literacy

Family literacy is best defined as the degree in which literacy development is encouraged and built upon within the home environment of the youth. Family literacy programs focus on ensuring that multiple members within a household are building their literacy skills. Certain programs are for parents who lack basic English skills, while others are for specific areas of proficiency with language and computer literacy.

Citizenship Exam Preparation

Citizenship exam preparation programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to take the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services citizenship examination. Such classes also teach English as a second language (ESL), so that a student can pass the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) interview. Students learn about the laws of the land and the responsibilities involved in citizenship. The classes also help immigrants to access important resources.

Online Options

Some schools offer GED training and other adult basic education online. Classes in reading, writing, and mathematics can often be taken online; students with lower than ninth-grade reading or math skills are often given remote assignments to help them reach this level. Students must pass a placement exam upon application to the program. Applicants need to have strong computer and keyboarding skills, access to the Internet, and several hours per week to devote to coursework. These online programs may be ideal for people with disabilities or mobility issues.

Basic adult education programs are vital tools for people who do not speak English as a second language or are attempting to become American citizens. Some of these programs, such as GED programs, are helpful to individuals who want to receive a high school diploma. Some programs are available online.

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