Accelerating Opportunity

Redesigning Adult Basic Education for College Success

Improving Adult Basic Education to increase the number of adults who enter postsecondary education and earn credentials that lead to family-supporting careers.

Barbara Endel
Senior Director
617.728.4446 x235


Bold programmatic interventions alone are not enough to bring this work to scale and sustain it. That’s why state policy support is critical. This initiative focuses on state policy and requires each participating state to charter an Accelerating Opportunity policy team.

State policy can foster or constrain the ability of colleges to redesign programs and delivery systems. Accelerating Opportunity will encourage states to provide support and resources for institutions to innovate and attempt these new interventions. The I-BEST and Breaking Through models that this initiative promotes are based on evidence. Participating states will review their policies around financial aid, assessment, data systems, and other areas to remove barriers preventing better outcomes.

Accelerating Opportunity Field Guide: Policy

Accelerating Opportunity Policy Priorities and Activities

Data and Analysis

  • Set goals and benchmarks for adult learner transitions and tracking individual student progress toward them
  • Align data systems to measure student progress from precollege programs to postsecondary career pathways to employment
  • Link data to innovation in order to determine which models best enable adult learners to reach momentum points along with the time required for each


  • Aiding in obtaining demonstration grants for accelerated learning options and comprehensive (academic and nonacademic) supports
  • Establish incentives to link employers with community college for-credit programs

Aligned Expectations

  • Align the standards and curricula of precollege programs to college readiness
  • Align noncredit to credit programs

Assessment and Placement

  • Facilitate dual enrollment for adult education and college programs
  • Crosswalk assessments for basic skills and college
  • Make adult education a placement option for some developmental education students


Obtain braided funding from various funding streams (e.g., adult education, community college, workforce, employer) to strengthen implementation and outcomes. See our Braided Funding Toolkit for more information.