Missouri ranks first in adult student advancement

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COLUMBIA – The U.S. Department of Education says Missouri is the top state in the nation for academic gains among adult education students.

State director of Adult Education Elaine Bryan said while the numbers are gaining the state recognition, its not her priority.

“It’s not really about numbers to me,” Bryan said. “It’s about what we do for our students and the fact that we do such a good job of serving our students in Missouri. It’s all about our programs.”

65 percent of the state’s adult education students advanced at least one educational level in the program between July 2016 to June 2017.

“We are proud of our adult education programs, students and teachers for improved academic achievement,” said Interim Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Roger Dorson in a press release. “Missouri is committed to ensuring that all students are ready to succeed.”

Within the Missouri Department of Secondary Education, DESE, there are 28 adult learning programs.

From 2016-17 18,000 adults in Missouri enrolled in adult education programs ranging from basic education to English literacy. The majority of those students, about 11,000, were enrolled in basic learning programs.

Bryan said it's what the programs are doing at the local level that is breeding success. She said programs look at the data they have collected to assess areas it needs to work on. 

“Our programs have become pretty savvy, looking at those data reports to see what’s going on in their program, so that they can continually improve,” Bryan said.

Bryan said the most important thing for the adult programs is that there is constant improvements.

“It’s always about continually improving and not staying where we are to make sure we are doing the best job we can for our students,” Bryan said.

Ann McCauley is the director of adult learning and literacy at Moberly Area Community College as says with Missouri at the top of the list yet again, there is even greater chances of success for people in Missouri.

“A lot of times if they’ve had multiple failures like out students have, they just are too afraid to try again,” McCauley said. “The knowledge that the programs in Missouri are first in the United States, that’s a lot of states, that’s a lot of achievement.”

McCauley said students come to the program because of conversations they’ve had with others who have gone through the program.

“The best recruitment agent we have for students is the success of other students. When a student can say, ‘hey I did it and if I overcame these barriers… you can do it too,’” McCauley said. 

She said there are a number of factors that can deter someone from continuing their education.

“There are students that haven’t made it in a traditional classroom setting in the past, maybe they have learning disabilities, maybe they’ve had bad experiences at home that have kept them out of the classroom,” McCauley said. “That comes into play when they make a decision on whether or not they’re going to be able to make it in our program.”  

To enroll in an adult learning course at MACC all you have to do is call its adult education office and ask to speak with the adult education secretary at (660)263-4100.