Missouri News: Missouri Adult Education Tops the Nation in Student Academic Achievement

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) – Adult education program participants in Missouri lead the nation in achieving academic gain.  For the period July 2017 to June 2018, 63 percent of the state’s adult learners advanced at least one educational level while enrolled in the program.  Missouri was the top state in 2016-2017 and 2014-15 as well, and ranked second in 2015-16.

“Missouri is committed to preparing all students for success, and this program is changing lives,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven.  “We are pleased that these educational opportunities result in improved success for our adult learners.”

Missouri far exceeds the national average of 46 percent for adult education students making academic gain.  The numbers are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education National Reporting System.

Through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Missouri funds 28 adult education programs offering instruction in more than 250 class sites around the state.  One of the 28 programs is located in the Department of Corrections, where Christopher Musica earned his high school equivalency and U.S. Department of Labor certification in electrical wiring technology.

Christopher said, “(This program) has changed me completely.  By applying myself, I can be successful.  I believed that failure can be defeating or failure can be defeated.  I chose to defeat it.”

“A high school diploma or equivalency is the single best investment in a person’s lifetime; this achievement is what opens doors for many opportunities.  Missourians who earn their high school equivalency make an average of $7,500 more per year than those without a high school education,” said Elaine Bryan, director of DESE’s Office of Adult Education.  “The success of our students and helping them to achieve self-sufficiency is our program’s top priority.”

Missouri adult education served more than 17,000 students in 2017-18.  Of those, approximately 10,000 were enrolled in adult basic education, 1,600 in adult secondary education, and nearly 5,600 were enrolled in English literacy. Ninety-seven percent of Missouri’s adult education students were reported as having a barrier to employment before entering the program.  Providing adult education services is at no cost to the individual.