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a. Aligning of Content Standards

Describe how the eligible agency has aligned its content standards for adult education with State-adopted challenging academic content standards, as adopted under section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(1)).

Current Narrative:

Aligning of Content Standards

Florida has a longstanding history of standards-based instruction from the original Sunshine State Standards, the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, and in 2014, the adoption of the Florida Standards (English Language Arts and Mathematics) by the State Board of Education. On January 31, 2019, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32, outlining a path for Florida to improve its education system by eliminating Common Core and paving the way for Florida students to receive a world-class education to prepare them for jobs of the future. The outcome is Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards, a product of national literacy experts, Florida educators and vested stakeholders. In 2020, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) will begin to implement new standards that represent the highest quality knowledge-based standards in the nation. The new Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards provide an excellent foundation for teaching and learning for adult learners. The B.E.S.T. Standards are the official state-adopted academic content standards fulfilling statutory requirements under section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(1)). The B.E.S.T. Standards share the dual purpose of preparing both K-12 and adult students to be college and career ready.

Additionally, on January 30, 2019, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-31, charting a course for Florida to become number 1 in Workforce Education by 2030. It directed the Florida Department of Education’s Commissioner of Education to audit all career and technical education (CTE) offerings in the state, develop a comprehensive methodology to review offerings annually and align them to industry demand. To accomplish these aims, FDOE collaborated with CareerSource Florida, the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Board of Governors (State University System), school districts and business and industry leaders to ensure all CTE offerings are not only of high quality but well aligned to the job market. Thus, Florida is poised to help its adult population engage in the kind of education that will be both personally and professionally transformative.

Florida sets clear expectations between K-12 and its content equivalent counterpart in adult education by ensuring standards-based instruction is aligned to state-adopted content standards in K-12. This guarantees all students (K-12 or adult), regardless of their pathway to graduation, have access to high quality, market-driven education. The state’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) standards are the grade level equivalent of K-8 of the B.E.S.T. Standards and are revised and reviewed on an annual basis by the Division of Career and Adult Education (DCAE). The State Board of Education approves the adult education curriculum frameworks that contain the aligned standards.

At the secondary level, adult high school credit programs implement the same course descriptions and standards as those used in the K-12 educational system, and adult students participate in the same statewide assessment program measuring student mastery of the B.E.S.T. Standards, and upon successful completion, adult education students earn a standard adult high school diploma. GED® preparation courses are a component of Florida’s adult secondary level programming aligned to both Florida’s standards and its college and career readiness standards. Upon successful passage of all four subject test areas, students are awarded a state of Florida High School Diploma (high school equivalency diploma) issued by the Florida Department of Education.

A high school equivalency diploma is issued to candidates who successfully demonstrate competency in the areas of Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science and Social Studies. The assessment used for the diploma program is the 2014 GED® Test, which was selected through a competitive procurement to designate a single assessment product for high school equivalency. The review process confirmed alignment of the assessment with the existing challenging academic standards. The current contract period for using the assessment is through December 2020. A new procurement process (Invitation to Negotiate) will take place in 2020 in view of alignment to Florida’s new B.E.S.T. Standards.

The four-year State Plan communicates Florida’s commitment to the continuous improvement of adult education programs and to equitable access to quality adult education programs to all students, including special populations. It aims to not just align its adult basic education and secondary adult education programs to the state’s new B.E.S.T. Standards, but proposes aggressive and innovative ways to reengage Florida’s adults in the completion of their high school diploma, while also connecting them to a credential of value and/or a postsecondary credential.