TABLE 5-1 Indicators Suggested for Adult Postsecondary Education and Training


•   Types of on-the-job training provided by employers, using a survey on such questions as whether employers support individual and group innovation and whether employees have individual or collective learning plans

•   Percentage of adults aged 25 or older who enroll in postsecondary education or training and who earn credentials:

•   Percentage of adults 18 or older who have left high school without a diploma but who obtain a high school diploma, GED certificate, or equivalent

•   Percentage of low-skilled adults who obtain a postsecondary or occupational certificate, credential, or degree

•   Percentage of instructors in adult education programs who are certified in an adult education field


•   Percentage of adults aged 18 or older who pass the examination to become naturalized citizens or

•   Percentage of adults aged 18 or older who vote for the first time

•   Participation by employed individuals in on-the-job training

•   Percentage of the adult population who believe they know how to learn and are motivated to exercise this skill


•   Adult literacy rates

•   Spending on adult education as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)

•   Shortages of key skills in the labor market

•   Health of the support network for adult learning associated with occupational interests


participation make sense, but it is likely too difficult to develop a standardized set of outcome measures for content that is “so varied, ephemeral, and often so specific to a particular learning environment,” Stern observed. Moreover, it is important for adults to be able transfer knowledge from one realm to another, but this capacity is difficult to measure.

Formal adult education, in contrast, is largely funded by the U.S. Department of Education (under Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998). This system is focused on assisting adults who have not earned a high school diploma or whose reading, writing, or mathematics skills are below the secondary level. Most adult education services are provided through local education agencies, community colleges, libraries, community organizations, and correctional facilities, and also include programs to engage adults in the community, support families, and promote work and learning (U.S. Department of Education, Division of Adult Education and Literacy, 2011). Other

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