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Narrative Report for Massachusetts 2021

State Leadership Funds - Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) Section 223

State Leadership Funds (Adult education and family literacy act Section 223 (AEFLA))

Describe how the State has used funds made available under section 223 (State Leadership activities) for each the following:

AEFLA Section 223(1)(a)

Alignment of adult education and literacy activities with other one-stop required partners to implement the strategies in the Unified or Combined State Plan as described in section 223(1)(a)

The Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) unit within the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) used state leadership funds to support a dedicated staff person responsible for career pathways. This person also led the expansion of integrated education and training programs and the branding project. IET and IELCE programs are now MassSTEP services. Another state staff person is responsible for working closely with adult education staff outstationed in One-Stop Centers in all 16 local workforce areas. He coordinated quarterly online meetings to provide guidance and support, allow time for knowledge sharing, and create a space to allow the coordinators to network with one another. Local outstaioning coordinators submitted bi-annual reports on partner referrals and shared customers that were reviewed by the state staff. Information on outstationing in MA can be found in section 3 below and on the ACLS website ( 

Throughout PY2021-2022, the Massachusetts state director and a dedicated staff attended bi-monthly meetings with state level WIOA core partners to ensure alignment of services. They also participated in a diversity and equity subcommittee to better ensure that all core partner policies and practices are reviewed through an equity lens to support access to all participants. The state level WIOA partners were also involved in planning a two-day Mass Forward ( convening of the Massachusetts’ workforce development system to celebrate success and to strengthen partnerships that support a thriving workforce and business growth which took place on September 14 and 15.   The adult education state director presented an Adult Education Value and Experience workshop at the convening.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(b)

Establishment or operation of a high-quality professional development programs as described in section 223(1)(b)

Massachusetts invested a total of $2,856,250 in state and federal funds to support professional development in PY2021-2022. Of that, just under $2,400,000 supported SABES, our professional development system. The balance was a contract with UPD Consulting to provide the first year of a three-year Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) Professional Learning Series.

SABES consists of five centers. There are three curriculum and instruction centers (Math, ELA, ESOL) that provided a wide range of PD, such as the implementation of the CCRSAE, instructional strategies such as the essential components of reading, integrating technology, and formative assessment. The Program Support PD Center focused on such areas as educational leadership, career pathways, ADA resources, digital literacy, advising, and professional licensure. The PD System Communication Center was responsible for the statewide SABES website, calendar, and registration system and promoting SABES PD and maximizing adult educator participation in SABES PD.

SABES provided 1,064 unique adult education staff with 328 high quality professional development (HQPD) opportunities in PY2021-22. There were 4,447 registrations, which means that, on average, staff participated in about four workshops, for a total of 6,893 hours. These were a combination of online, face-to-face, and blended PD offerings and support and were designed for novice, proficient, and advanced practitioners. Coaching and local provider-based PD was also available.

ACLS has a dedicated staff person who is responsible for oversight of the state’s PD system and who regularly met with PD Center staff to provide support and guidance and to ensure alignment between state office priorities and PD system offerings. In addition, three ACLS program specialists were assigned as liaisons to specific areas of PD center work.

ACLS, in partnership with UPD Consulting, launched its Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) Professional Learning Series in February 2022. These virtual ADEI learning sessions consisted of four cohorts, 14 communities of practice, and nearly 300 participants representing nearly all local adult education providers. The online year-one series ran monthly from February through June 2022, five sessions total.

The primary focus of the ADEI sessions was to provide adult education practitioners with the skills and tools framework allowing participants to CONNECT to individuals and institutional truths, DISCONNECT from inequitable practices and systems, and finally to RECONNECT in the creation of liberatory communities. The CONNECT, DISCONNECT, and RECONNECT framework focused on providing practitioners opportunities for application and plans for testing individual Promising Practices throughout each session.

The Promising Practices themes involved, (1) racial inequities in adult education, (2) characteristics of dominant culture, (3) deep listening & crucial conversations, (4) anti-racist resources and protocols, and finally (5) liberatory allyship.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(c)

Provision of technical assistance to funded eligible providers as described in section 223(1)(c)

A combination of state and federal leadership funds supported ACLS Program Specialists who had a caseload of programs, provided technical assistance, and monitored programs in a variety of formats and activities, including newsletters, statewide webinars that included resources and information on a wide range of topics, such as curriculum, assessment, and data collection.

During the 2021-2022 program year, ACLS reviewed and updated our Distance Education, Remote Learning, and hybrid Education policies for completeness and clarity as a result of learnings from the previous years. 

In addition, ACLS reviewed online resources available to local providers with the goal of expanding the online resources for both ABE and ESOL students.  Adding to the AZTEC English version, EnGEN (formerly Voxy), and KET seats that have been available to programs, ACLS established access to NewsELA for all 89 funded programs and developed plans to roll out 1000 newly funded Burlington English seats.  In addition, ACLS made available seats for the Spanish GED version of AZTEC. ACLS onboarded staff in partnership vendors for each of these new online products and continued to offer user training and support for previously established resources (AZTEC English, EnGEN, and KET). Other development included: NewsELA and ACLS developed a Customized Collection of Material for Massachusetts NewsELA Instructors; a four-part workshop series named Digital Literacy 101: Where to Begin was developed and delivered by the SABES Professional Development system with approval from ACLS Liaisons. ACLS continues to address the inequitable access to devices and internet across the state by providing funding to support the purchase of technology such as hot stops, tablets, and laptops to the Title II students and staff. 

ACLS has a dedicated curriculum and instruction specialist who is the liaison to the three SABES curriculum and instruction PD centers and who provided related guidance directly to programs. Curriculum and instruction information and resources were shared through our website (, the SABES website ( and ACLS monthly mailings ( 

The ACLS curriculum and instruction specialist is also the Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) MA project lead. She trained with a team of three MA adult education teachers in the TSTM framework at the national AIR TSTM training in program year 2021-2022. As a result, MA adopted the TSTM as an instructional framework that aligns with the state’s curriculum and instruction priorities, its Indicators of Program Quality (see Indicators 4 and 5 for curriculum and instruction as well as its standards for effective instruction (see ESOL Professional Standards and ABE Professional Standards 

ACLS used TSTM to provide technical assistance via the TSTM Academy-Customized Approach. The Academy offered ten months of intensive curriculum and instructional training and support in the main tenets of the TSTM framework and provided the resources that resulted in implementation of rigorous, relevant, and engaging curriculum and instructional supports using the TSTM toolkit. The goals of the TSTM Academy-Customized Approach were to: (1) create consistent teacher knowledge based on the core components of TSTM; (2) increase instructional rigor by adopting and adapting TSTM at all instructional levels; (3) integrate TSTM in the program’s curriculum and instruction; (4) build capacity for TSTM teacher collaboration leadership; (5) enhance teacher reflection and continuous professional learning; and (6) increase student attendance, engagement, and MSG outcomes.

ACLS opened enrollment in this TSTM Academy to all providers but gave priority to those that needed specific support in curriculum and instruction because of poor ratings in Curriculum and Instruction Indicators of Program Quality, low MSG, or data gathered through annual site visits. Selected programs participated with their entire teaching staff and received technical assistance of approximately ten hours each month by attending monthly two-hour live training sessions, engaging weekly in a TSTM online community of practice, reading briefs and case studies from the TSTM Toolkit in between sessions, and engaging in a process of self-reflection and self-evaluation. Participants worked with state trainers on analyzing specific lessons from the Toolkit, taught some of these lessons to their own students, incorporated some of them into their program’s curriculum where applicable and enhanced their curriculum with TSTM components.

As mentioned above, the state defines effective instruction according to our ABE Professional Standards and ESOL Professional Standards. These standards are designed to help teachers and program directors (1) develop a consistent, shared understanding and terminology of what effective teaching looks like in practice, and (2) make informed decisions regarding professional growth and program continuous improvement planning.

The ESOL Professional Standards and accompanying PD offerings are built on research- and evidence-based practices related to second language acquisition, components of language, backwards design, and culturally responsive teaching. The PD offerings for these standards were revised to reflect instructional delivery in a remote, hybrid or in-person instructional settings.

For ELA instruction, the state continued to promote evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI), specifically STAR. ACLS and the SABES ELA Curriculum and Instruction Center collaborated to support practitioners in delivering engaging and rigorous remote EBRI/STAR instruction and administering diagnostic reading assessments online.

For math, the state continued to promote CALM (Curriculum for Adults Learning Math-see the CALM Support Series which includes research-based strategies such as student-centered learning, student collaboration and communication, metacognitive practices. Although the CALM was initially designed to rely heavily on tactile manipulatives, visuals, and student collaboration, it has now been adapted for remote teaching contexts as well.

On May 25, 2022, Massachusetts held our annual state directors meeting which was virtual for the third year in a row. Approximately 160 local and SABES staff attended. Workshop topics included two sessions led by the State Director, Wyvonne Stevens-Carter titled “Who Makes the Rules?” that distinguished state policies from WIOA and NRS requirements and provided context for our requirements. There were ten other sessions that addressed curriculum resources, the program quality review process, two LACES sessions (one on data analysis to identify trends and performance and the other on recording distance education and analyzing participation data), high school equivalency options, program design, TSTM, Design Justice Network principles to advance ADEI, assessment policies, and distance education.

AEFLA Section 223(1)(d)

Monitoring and evaluation of the quality and improvement of adult education activities as described in section 223(1)(d)

In PY2021-2022, ACLS resumed its longstanding practice of providing formal site visits for each of its funded programs, completing 83 of its planned 84 visits.  Some programs were operating 100% remotely, while other programs provided a blend of remote and in-person services.  As a result, 20 site visits were conducted entirely remotely and 63 were conducted either entirely in-person or mostly in-person, with some elements conducted remotely, such as the observation of remote classes. 

During the annual site visit orientation and training for ALCS staff, new program specialists were reminded of the general two-fold purpose of formal site visits: 1) to provide programs with technical assistance guided by the ACLS Indicators of Program Quality and 2) to provide ACLS with a deeper understanding of programs in to identify promising practices and areas for improvement, as well as checking for compliance.  As a point of emphasis for PY2021-2022, program specialists were encouraged to approach each visit with a mindset of humble inquiry, defined as, “the gentle art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building relationships based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”

ACLS completed its planned three-year Program Quality Review (PQR) cycle in PY2020-2021, thus no PQR were conducted in PY2021-2022.  ACLS plans to revise its PQR protocol in PY2022-2023 and resume conducting PQR in PY2023-2024. 

AEFLA Section 223(a)(2)

As applicable, describe how the State has used funds for additional permissible activities described in section 223(a)(2)

Following the July 2021 NRS Training, “Virtual Learning and Service Delivery in Adult Education,” ACLS developed basic criteria and parameters for an adult education virtual school, later named MassLINKS, that would deliver ABE and ESOL instruction and supporting services remotely across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  An Open and Competitive RFP was released in December 2021 and the proposal submissions were reviewed with MassLINKS ( funding being awarded in March 2022 to Mount Wachusett Community College.  The initial award was for $600,000 to be used for startup and hiring during the remaining months (April-June 2022) of PY21-22 with the intent that direct service begins in PY22-23.  MassLINKS ( was awarded $1,000,000 for services in PY22-23.

Performance Data Analysis

Performance Data Analysis

Describe how the adult education program performed in the overall assessment of core programs based on the core indicators of performance. Discuss how the assessment was used to improve quality and effectiveness of the funded eligible providers and any plans to further increase performance in future reporting years.

Massachusetts local providers were required to complete and submit Excel desk review workbooks four times during the 2021-2022 program year. Completing the workbooks required that locals identify the number of ABE and ESOL participants and compare those results to their negotiated enrollment targets. The workbook also required that grantees analyze their test rates and MSG throughout the year. Since PY18-19, ACLS has held providers to enrollment targets and reduced grants for under-enrollment and provided incentive increases for MSG and enrollment rates that exceeded local targets. The desk review forced locals to review their data and ensure that intake data, attendance, and assessments were complete and accurate. Often, local providers thought that they were fully enrolled when they were not due to a range of issues, e.g., out of range pretest scores, late attendance data entry, and missing data. These issues were then identified and addressed quickly.

ACLS program specialists were assigned between six and 14 agencies and ran the same desk review searches in the MIS as their local grantees and compared their results to the submissions. They followed up directly when there were inconsistencies or performance concerns and provided technical assistance to resolve the issues.

Throughout the program year, the state office also produced statewide reports that identified tests scores out of range, missing or late attendance and duplicate records. Staff then contacted locals with guidance and deadlines. In addition, the state office reinforced data issues in training, during statewide meetings, and in regular newsletters.

The table below summarizes Massachusetts’ performance for PY21-22.

Core Indicator of Performance Target Actual
Employment Rate 2nd Quarter after Exit 43% 46.21%
Employment Rate 4th Quarter after Exit 44% 46.42%
Median Earnings 2nd Quarter after Exit $6,306 $7,765
Credential Attainment Rate 26% 20.64%`
Measurable Skill Gains 47% 40.93%

We are pleased with the employment outcomes. The second quarter results were better than expected and probably due to the strength of the Massachusetts economy, which has fully rebounded after the pandemic. The median earnings reflect the tight labor market and the relatively high cost of living, especially in Greater Boston. The reporting period for the fourth quarter rate includes the precipitous drop in March and April 2020 and the steady climb over the second half of the calendar year.

While we were disappointed in the overall credential attainment rate of 20.64%, which is well below our target of 26%, we were not surprised. Massachusetts shut down all education activities, including high school equivalency and IET credential testing from mid-March through June 2020. If they had the right equipment, students could take the GED remotely starting in late July and the HiSET in mid-August. Three centers offered in-person testing in the fall and most test centers opened their doors in the spring of 2021. As a result, Massachusetts reported only 192 HSE credentials or secondary school diplomas when the employed within one year of exit special rule was met on Table 5 in 2021-2022, which is just over forty percent of what we reported the previous year.  Also, only 57 HSE credentials or secondary school diplomas were reported in 2021-2022 when the entry into postsecondary/training special rule was met which was less than thirty percent of what we reported the previous year.

ACLS staff were surprised and disappointed by our PY21-22 Measurable Skill Gains rate of 40.93%, which was well short of our 47% target and slightly lower than our PY20-21 rate of 41.46%. We expected better performance in PY21-22 for two reasons: (1) many providers returned to in-person classes; (2) experience and lessons learned from a year of remote instruction would result in better outcomes for those students who received distance education.

The tables below compare PY20 and PY21 posttest rates. The change in ESOL MSG and posttest rates is nearly the same.

ABE 2020-2021 2021-2022 Change
MSG Rate 28.44% 31.17% +2.72%
Posttest Rate 51.60% 50.80% -0.80%
ESOL 2020-2021 2021-2022 Change
MSG Rate 47.31% 44.31% -3.00%
Posttest Rate 71.90% 69.00% -2.90%
COMBINED 2020-2021 2021-2022 CHANGE
MSG Rate 41.46% 40.93% -0.53
Posttest Rate 66.62% 64.55% -2.07%

Since we generally expect higher EFL completion rates when students attend for more hours, we explored the differences observed in attended instructional hours over the years to see if that could shed light on one of the possible reasons for the lower than expected MSG rate for PY2021-2022. The median number of hours that a student received during PY2021-2022 in Massachusetts was 99 hours, which is approximately twenty percent less than the amount of time recorded in PY2018-2019, which was the year before the pandemic.

Massachusetts Median Instructional Hours
  PY2018-2019 PY2019-2020 PY2020-2021 PY2021-2022
Number of Students 18,226 19,625 16,601 19,789
Total Instructional Hours 2,578,127 2,291,688 2,117,298 2,380,609
Median Hours 123 102 106 99

In the short term, the state office will take the following steps during the 2022-2023 program year. First, starting in late January 2023, the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Policy Coordinator and the Assistant State Director will contact the local providers with the lowest posttest rates and fewest instructional hours, provide targeted technical assistance, identify pain points that interfere with posttesting, and evaluate practices that undermine student persistence. Second, during January and February ACLS staff meetings, the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Policy Coordinator and the Assistant State Director will present MSG and posttest data and identified pain points. Program specialists will review NRS and Massachusetts assessment requirements and relevant MIS reports to ensure that all state staff are equipped to identify early indicators of low posttest and MSG rates in providers’ data and to intervene and provide technical assistance. Third, the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Policy Coordinator and Assistant State Director will host a statewide webinar in February for local providers to review NRS and ACLS assessment and follow up policies and resources. Fourth, ACLS is partnering with the UMass CEA and the SABES PSPD Center so that these two agencies focus their efforts on supporting program leaders with strategies to monitor assessment data more closely. Finally, state staff will work to develop MIS reports to identify programs with higher than expected student turnover.

In the long term, Massachusetts will continue to provide high quality professional development focused on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. We will work with our PD providers to ensure that offerings address the increasing shift to remote and hybrid instruction.

Integration with One-stop Partners

Integration with One-stop Partners

Describe how the State eligible agency, as the entity responsible for meeting one-stop requirements under 34 CFR part 463, subpart J, carries out or delegates its required one-stop roles to eligible providers. Describe the applicable career services that are provided in the one-stop system. Describe how infrastructure costs are supported through State and local options.

ACLS continued to fund outstationing coordinators in MassHire Career Centers in all 16 workforce areas. The adult education outstationing coordinators are the liaisons between AE programs in the local workforce area and the career center. They assisted MassHire Career Center staff with intake, assessments, and referrals. ACLS has a state staff person who convened the outstationing coordinators on a quarterly basis to provide guidance and allow opportunities for networking and problem-solving. The coordinators submitted mid- and end of year reports of the referrals received and made, an overview of their activities, and challenges.

Massachusetts executed an interagency service agreement (ISA) with the MassHire Department of Career Services to fund infrastructure cost in the amount of $150,000. The portion that each workforce area received was based on number of adult education students by the area career center(s).

Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE)

Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education

Describe how the state is using funds under Section 243 to support the following activities under the IELCE program:

IELCE Funds and grants

Describe when your State held a competition [the latest competition] for IELCE program funds and the number of grants awarded by your State to support IELCE programs.

In January 2022, Massachusetts posted a request for proposals for IELCE and IET planning grants which resulted in seven IELCE planning grants. We then posted an open and competitive IELCE and IET RFP in July 2022. ACLS awarded six new IELCE grants to bring the total number of IELCE programs to 20.

Training activity

Describe your State efforts in meeting the requirement to provide IELCE services in combination with integrated education and training activities;

Each IELCE program had an assigned program specialist who reviewed data, conducted site visits, and provided technical assistance. ACLS also convened statewide webinars for IELCE and IET directors and staff three times in 2021-2022 to provide support and guidance. In addition, ACLS published four MassSTEP newsletters ( that highlighted IET and IELCE services and participant success stories in PY21-22. The statewide webinars and newsletters reinforced IELCE policies and requirements.

IELCE Section 243(c)(1)

Describe how the State is progressing towards program goals of preparing and placing IELCE program participants in unsubsidized employment in in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency as described in section 243(c)(1) and discuss any performance results, challenges, and lessons learned from implementing those program goals; and

In order to receive a Massachusetts IELCE grant, applicants must have an identified employer partner that needs skilled employees. Collaborations with local workforce boards and career centers are also requirements. Applicants are required to either provide or reference recent labor market information demonstrating that the jobs are in-demand and pay living wages. ACLS only awards grants for programs that result in an industry recognized credential.

IELCE Section 243(c)(2)

Describe how the State is progressing towards program goals of ensuring that IELCE program activities are integrated with the local workforce development system and its functions as described in section 243(c)(2) and discuss any performance results, challenges, and lessons learned from implementing those program goals.

Throughout PY21-22 and PY22-23, Massachusetts has gathered baseline data for two performance measures for local providers: MSG via Passing Technical/Occupational Skills Exam and Employment Second Quarter after Exit. These performance measures go into effect in PY23-24. In September 2022, programs were given their MSG via Passing Technical/Occupational Skills Exam reports. ACLS staff, including the assistant director met with grantees that had lower than expected MSG rates and provided technical assistance. Local providers will receive their PY21-22 Employment Second Quarter after Exit reports in February 2023.

Adult Education Standards

Adult Education Standards

If your State has adopted new challenging K-12 standards under title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, describe how your Adult Education content standards are aligned with those K-12 standards.

Strong alignment to the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE) ( is the foundation of ACLS’ vision for funding quality adult education. ACLS has implemented the CCRSAE since their release in 2013. To support programs in using the CCRSAE to increase instructional rigor, Massachusetts’ policies require programs offering ABE instruction to use curriculum aligned to the CCRSAE. ABE curriculum and instruction are required to reflect the instructional shifts and to fully align with the CCRSAE levels A through D–E. ACLS also requires that ABE programs incorporate evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI), digital literacy, and workforce preparation at all ABE levels.

To support programs offering ESOL instruction, Massachusetts’ policies require programs to implement curriculum aligned to the Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (MA ELPS) (  The MA ELPS were developed out of a need to combine college and career readiness skills and language skills into a single set of standards in one document. They are based on the 2005 Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Curriculum Framework for English for Speakers of Other Languages, the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE), and the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (ELPS). ACLS also requires that ESOL programs integrate civics education, digital literacy, and workforce preparation at all ESOL levels.

Optional – Describe implementation efforts, challenges, and any lessons learned

All adult learners deserve to receive high-quality instruction from effective teachers. There are many factors that impact student learning; however, research has shown that the single most influential school-based factor impacting student achievement is teacher quality and effectiveness. For this reason, ACLS supports the use of the Educator Growth and Effectiveness (EGE) model to meet its MA Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions ( requirement that programs “create and sustain the conditions that enable powerful teaching and learning to occur with effective, self-reflective teachers dedicated to improving teaching practice and achieving student outcomes.”

EGE is a six-step process to improve teachers’ professional practice and help them become as effective as possible at helping students achieve their learning, career, and educational goals. It is based on continuous improvement practices that lead to effectiveness in the classroom: reflection and self-assessment, informed goal setting, targeted professional learning, and ongoing, constructive feedback. EGE relies on coaching to model and support these practices, and to foster persistence and accountability. Through EGE, teachers are empowered to drive the process as active participants who partner with coaches to achieve self-identified goals. Each step capitalizes on collaboration and promotes evidence-based learning. 

The EGE System is aligned to two sets the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult Education ( and the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL ( and enhanced by the Math and ELA Proficiency Guides ( The guides identify the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective teacher in these content areas, including specific language around the knowledge, skills, and classroom practices needed for CCRSAE-aligned curriculum and instruction.

The entire SABES system collaborates with ACLS to support EGE. The PD series begins with the SABES Program Support PD Center (PSPDC) which offers the PD series that introduces adult educators to the EGE model, supports, and resources. ACLS and the SABES PSPD Center worked together to train a new cohort of programs that have expressed interest in the model.  In PY21-22, 100 adult educators (46 unique) from 25 programs attended 243 PD hours related to EGE.

With COVID still lingering but with more in-person classes resuming in PY21-22, ACLS and SABES Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers offered, developed, and updated resources and PD opportunities that incorporated and emphasized digital literacy with an eye toward how these tools and training may need to be adapted for in-person or hybrid offerings. We also built on and leveraged what we learned about remote instruction in the previous program year. Thus, the three SABES Curriculum and Instruction centers provided PD on: effectively integrating asynchronous learning into instruction to foster learner independence and agency; teaching digital literacy skills as defined by WIOA: using technology to enable users to find, evaluate, organize, create, and communicate information; and lesson planning for remote and hybrid instruction.

Instructional designers at the three SABES Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers worked closely with PD presenters/facilitators to develop PD in support of digital literacy, including the creation of slide desks, the design of Backboard courses, and to help deliver them by providing technical support during the sessions.

All SABES Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers continued to support teachers at every level of digital literacy, from those with very basic digital skills to those able to apply more advanced digital technologies in their remote/hybrid classes. Registrations for and participation in these sessions (especially ESOL) continued to be at or over capacity, demonstrating the continued need.

To support the implementation of the ESOL and ABE Content and Professional Standards, ACLS and the SABES Curriculum and Instruction PD Centers developed and delivered a variety of PD. For example, we launched a comprehensive ESOL Professional Standards website ( that contains all the information practitioners need on the ESOL Professional Standards. Each standard has its own page on the site and each page includes a standard’s section from the document, an introductory video to the standard, upcoming PD, and related resources.

Additionally, in support of standards-based, high-quality curriculum and instruction and with an eye towards important lenses such as culturally responsive teaching, differentiated instruction, and integration of digital literacy, ACLS and the SABES ELA Center collaborated to create or revise curriculum and lesson planning templates and related resources. Examples of such PD and resources include Building and Enhancing Your ELA Curriculum (self-paced online course) which includes modules for instructional leaders to guide them for leading curriculum development and/or revision at the program level; SABES ELA Curriculum Hub (, a portal to tools and resources related to the CCRSAE for ELA/Literacy.

To help teachers deliver culturally responsive and sustaining instruction, ACLAS and SABES collaborated to raise their awareness about anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues related to adult education. For example, the SABES PD centers formed an internal DEI group that developed and posted a DEI mission, completed a set of DEI considerations for the PD centers’ staff, consultants and presenters and participated in a five-month ACLS-sponsored DEI training which informed the design of subsequent SABES PD.

Additionally, the ESOL PD Center created an Adult ESOL ADEI Resource website (, a thoughtfully curated collection of resources selected to support teachers of adult English learners in integrating rich and diverse materials into their curriculum and instruction. It includes an array of relevant topics with many texts authored or produced by members of historically marginalized groups.

Further, in PY21-22 in collaboration with the SABES Curriculum and Support Centers and the PSPD Center, ACLS launched a classroom observation project whose goal is to create a toolkit of PD and resources to support program leaders in conducting effective classroom visits and providing meaningful feedback that impacts teacher practice and ultimately student learning. To this end, nine What to Look For Guides have been created (three for each content area at each level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced). These guides are based on the MA content standards (MA ELPS and CCRSAE as applicable) and the MA professional standards (ESOL or ABE as applicable) and summarize the most essential high-quality instructional look-fors that observers should see in action when visiting a class. In addition, a classroom observation form has been developed together with written guidance on how the form and the What to Look For Guides can be used and adapted to the specific circumstances of each program for optimal success. ACLS and SABEs are currently working on developing the accompanying PD for these tools and are planning to deliver a series of asynchronous and synchronous sessions in PY 23-24.

Lastly, four adult education Massachusetts teachers and the ACLS curriculum and instruction policy coordinator participated in the eight-month Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) training with the American Institutes for Research (AIR). This team of five learned about the components of TSTM (nine skills, five focus areas, three instructional approaches), participated in the TSTM community of practice via LINCS, taught some of the TSTM Toolkit lessons, and were supported by an AIR-designated coach along the way.

This team also developed the MA TSTM implementation and sustainability plan for PY21-22 that aligns TSTM with the state’s curriculum and instruction priorities and specific practitioner needs. As part of this sustainability plan, ACLS launched the MA TSTM Academy-Customized Approach (see the technical assistance section of this report for more details) and the MA TSTM Train-the-Trainer Academy, which ensures sustainable state-wide implementation of TSTM. The first cohort of this Academy enrolled 16 teachers from nine different providers who, once trained in TSTM, returned to their program and trained others in the TSTM framework. 

Some of the greatest challenges of PY21-22 were the PD completion rate versus the registration rate, low registration in some PD offerings, and low interest in curriculum and instructional coaching. Some strategies to mitigate these challenges are: (1) ACLS and the SABES curriculum and instruction centers explored new ways to collaborate and conduct outreach to program directors and teachers about their priorities and needs, and to continue striving for a balance between providing rigorous and intensive PD, while also meeting the immediate needs of time-strapped practitioners; (2) SABES shortened the length of individual PD offerings and bundled them into shorter, webinar types or asynchronous learning modules which resulted in increased teacher participation; (3) SABES provided additional virtual resources to support remote/hybrid instruction.

Lessons learned that will inform PY22-23 curriculum and instruction planning:

  • Teachers need to see examples of effective instruction: ACLS and SABES are working to increase the number of instructional videos, vignettes, or other ways to model high-quality instruction.
  • Adult education teachers need more high-quality planning time to collaborate with one another and high-quality customized PD to deliver engaging, rigorous instruction with just-in-time scaffolds that support all students’ learning. ACLS is building a follow-up/check-in system with the participants of the TSTM Academy-Customized Approach to ensure continuation pf TSTM implementation. The same model could be applied to other PD offerings
  • There is a greater chance to make a bigger program-wide difference if program send teams of practitioners to PD offerings instead of individual teachers. The team-based PD model is more likely to lead to more buy-in from other staff, program wide post-PD implementation of effective instructional strategies which can lead to increased educational gain.
  • Use an asset-based approach to PD and train teachers to become teacher leaders: as demonstrated by the first-year roll-out of the MA TSTM Train-the-Trainer Academy, teachers thrive when given the opportunity to learn new strategies and train their peers to implement them. ACLS and SABES are working together to build teachers’ capacity for success by providing opportunities for teacher-to-teacher communication, co-planning time, and engagement in teacher communities of practice.
Programs for Corrections Education (AEFLA Section 225)

Programs for Corrections Education (AEFLA Section 225)

What was the relative rate of recidivism for criminal offenders served? Please describe the methods and factors used in calculating the rate for this reporting period.

Massachusetts is not able to calculate a relative rate of recidivism for offenders served by adult education. While a statewide data system is not yet in place, the research division of the Department of Correction (DOC) and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security one- and three-year recidivism reports (; are increasingly detailed.

Since PY2018-2019, eight state agencies received WIOA and state match funds to provide adult basic education programs: the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) and seven county houses of corrections (CHCs). In PY21-22, MADOC ran ABE programs in four of its 18 prisons: Concord, Norfolk, Shirley, and Gardner. Similarly, ABE programs were offered in four county houses in western Massachusetts, one in the central region, one in Boston and one in the southeast.  Of the 1088 participants receiving Title II adult education in Massachusetts correctional institutions in PY21-22, 290 were incarcerated at MADOC while 798 were confined in the seven CHCs.

Massachusetts Correctional Education Enrollment
  PY2018-2019 PY2019-2020 PY2020-2021 PY2021-2022
Department of Correction 250 251 220 290
County Houses of Correction 677 846 677 798
Total 927 1097 897 1088

Anecdotally, the county houses of correction report that between 70% and 75% of the population are pretrial detainees, many of whom are incarcerated longer than sentenced inmates. In most facilities, there are fewer incentives for detainees to participate in programming. Education directors are working with their sheriffs to review policies that may inhibit access to education.