ERIC Identifier: ED329807
Publication Date: 1991-00-00
Author: Imel, Susan
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education
ERIC and the Adult Education Act: 25 Years of Collaboration.
ERIC Digest No. 107.
In 1966, two events of significance for the field of adult education
occurred: Congress approved the first adult education act in the Nation's
history and the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) system
was established. Although these were independent events, it was fortuitous
that the passage of the Adult Education Act and the launching of a national
education information network occurred during the same year. It meant that
at the same time monies to support adult education research and delivery
systems became available, there was a mechanism in place to collect and
disseminate the results of these activities. This ERIC Digest highlights
the 25-year collaboration between the Adult Education Act (AEA) and the
Brief descriptions of both the AEA and the ERIC system begin the Digest.
Next, using ERIC to locate AEA-related resources is discussed. Information
about making contact with appropriate ERIC components and the U.S. Department
of Education's Division of Adult Education and Literacy concludes the DIGEST.
THE ADULT EDUCATION ACT
The Adult Education Act is the major piece of federal legislation providing
funding for adult education programs serving educationally disadvantaged
adults. Currently administered by the U.S. Department of Education's Division
of Adult Education and Literacy, this act distributes funds to the states
for adult basic education programs offered in a variety of institutions--local
education agencies, community colleges, community-based organizations,
workplaces, and correctional institutions (Crandall and Imel 1991).
Although it has its origin in the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964,
adult basic education was established as a distinctive program with the
passage of the Adult Education Act of 1966 (Parker 1990). This historical
piece of legislation established the authorization for the Adult Education
program in the Office of Education, expanded the program to include adults
with limited English proficiency, and authorized grants for special experimental
demonstration projects and for teacher training. Since 1966, the AEA has
been amended many times, most recently in 1988. These amendments have expanded
the scope of the act to include adult school completion, a competency-based
approach to assessment and programming, and workplace literacy programs
(Division of Adult Education and Literacy ). When reauthorized in
1991, it is expected that the Adult Education Act will provide greater
support for and coordination of adult basic education and adult literacy
initiatives at local and state levels (Crandall and Imel 1991).
The enlarged scope of the act has been accompanied by an increase in
both enrollees and financial support. The number of persons served by the
act has grown from a half million adults in 1968 to more than 3 million
in 1988. Although the amount of federal funding for the act has increased--from
$30.6 million in 1968 to $238.8 million in 1991--it has been the increase
in state and local support--from $9.6 million in 1968 to $510.5 million
in 1988--that is an indication of widespread support for the act and its
purposes (Division of Adult Education and Literacy ).
ERIC--THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER
ERIC--the Educational Resources Information Center--is a federally supported
educational database that currently receives its funding from the Office
of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
Designed to put the results of educational research and development in
the hands of researchers, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers,
ERIC consists of a central unit in Washington, DC, and 16 clearinghouses
located throughout the country, each focusing on a specific area of education.
Each clearinghouse is responsible for acquiring and processing information
in its assigned area in order to build the ERIC database. The database,
which can be accessed through printed index, by computer, or in CD-ROM
format, consists of two types of literature. The first is the document
literature, sometimes known as "fugitive material" since it would not be
readily available unless selected and included in ERIC. Recently completed
research reports, curriculum and instructional materials, teaching guides,
descriptions and evaluations of exemplary programs, and other documents
are examples of the types of materials that are announced in ERIC's monthly
document index, "Resources in Education" (RIE). ERIC also includes journal
literature. Each month articles from more than 700 education-related journals
are annotated and included in "Current Index to Journals in Education"
In addition to building the database, ERIC Clearinghouses provide reference
services to their client groups by answering questions, making referrals
to other agencies, and providing searches of the ERIC database. They also
develop and disseminate products--such as this ERIC Digest--that provide
information on high-interest areas within education and that review and
synthesize material in the database.
USING ERIC TO LOCATE AEA-RELATED RESOURCES
For the past 25 years, the ERIC system has been collecting and disseminating
materials related to the Adult Education Act. These materials can be classified
into two categories: those that are about the act and those that are results
(i.e., curricula, project reports) of projects and research funded by the
act. Each of these categories is described, including information on terms
(ERIC descriptors or identifiers) to provide access to the materials.
MATERIALS ABOUT THE ACT
Over the years, there have been a number of items written about the
act itself. Some of these pieces are analyses of the act, some are evaluations,
and some recommend changes in the legislation. The earliest ERIC report
about the Adult Education Act is "Adult Basic Education. Program Summary"
(Office of Education 1967) that provides a brief description of the federal
adult basic education program for fiscal years 1965, 1966 and estimates
for 1967. Other examples of materials in this category are "An Assessment
of the State-Administered Program of the Adult Education Act. Final Report"
(Young and others 1980), "The Adult Education Act: Issues and Perspectives
on Reauthorization" (Taylor 1983), "State of the Art in Adult Basic Education"
(Delker 1984), and "Promoting Innovation and Controversy in Adult Basic
Education: Section 309 of the Adult Education Act (Radwin 1984). Materials
about the act can be retrieved using the identifier "Adult Education Act."
INFORMATION ABOUT PROJECTS FUNDED UNDER THE ACT
Reports and products produced by projects funded with AEA monies constitute
most of the AEA-related information in ERIC. The majority of these resulted
from special research and demonstration projects funded through Sections
309, 310, and, most recently, 353 of the act. Although there is a large
collection of materials in this category, it is not complete because many
reports were never submitted to ERIC and some that were did not meet the
ERIC selection criteria. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to retrieve materials
in this category from the database. Since 1983, projects funded under either
Section 310 or Section 353 of the act have been cataloged with the identifiers
"310 Project" or "353 Project." To retrieve materials prior to that, it
is helpful to know the institution where the project was conducted or some
other identifying information such as the name of the project director.
Catalogs of AEA-funded projects included in the ERIC database can be
used to locate information about specific projects. Examples of these include
"Clearinghouse ADELL'S Catalog of Adult Education Projects, Fiscal Year
1978," funded under the Adult Education Act Sections 306 (A) (4) and 309
(1) and (2) (Clearinghouse ADELL 1978); and "Catalog of Adult Education
Projects, Fiscal Year 1982" (Office of Vocational and Adult Education 1982).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Further information about ERIC and AEA-related materials in the ERIC
database can be acquired by contacting the ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult,
Career, and Vocational Education (ERIC/ACVE) 1900 Kenny Road, Columbus,
OH 43210-1090 or the National Clearinghouse on Literacy Education (NCLE),
Center for Applied Linguistics, 1118 22nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
NCLE is an adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse that collects literacy materials
for adults and out-of-school youth with limited-English proficiency. Both
ERIC/ACVE and NCLE produce Digests and other free or low-cost materials
on topics related to adult literacy and basic education.
Further information about the AEA can be obtained from the Division
of Adult Education and Literacy (DAEL), Office of Vocational and Adult
Education, USDE, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20036.
Clearinghouse ADELL. Clearinghouse ADELL'S Catalog of Adult Education
Projects, Fiscal Year 1978, Funded under the Adult Education Act Sections
306 (A) (4) and 309 (1) and (2). Rockville, MD: Clearinghouse ADELL, 1978.
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 158 017).
Crandall, J., and Imel, S. "Issues in Adult Literacy Education." The
ERIC Review 1, no. 2, (March 1991): 2-8.
Delker, P. V. "State of the Art in Adult Basic Education." Paper presented
at the National Adult Literacy Conference, Washington, DC, January 1984.
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 241 698).
Division of Adult Education and Literacy. "Adult Education Act. Silver
Anniversary 1966-1991." Washington, DC: DAEL, U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Education. Adult Basic Education. Program Summary. Washington,
DC: OE, DHEW, March 1967. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 015
Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Catalog of Adult Education
Projects, Fiscal Year 1982. Washington, DC: OVAE, U.S. Department of Education,
1982. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 228 379).
Parker, J. T. "Modeling a Future for Adult Basic Education." Adult Learning
1, no.4 (January 1990): 16-18, 28.
Radwin, E. Promoting Innovation and Controversy in Adult Basic Education:
Section 309 of the Adult Basic Education Act. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory
for Educational Research and Development; Andover, MA: Network of Innovative
Schools, December 1984. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 253
Taylor, P. C. "The Adult Education Act: Issues and Perspectives on Reauthorization."
Lifelong Learning 7, no. 1 (September 1983): 10-11, 26-27.
Young, M. B., and Others. An Assessment of the State-Administered Program
of the Adult Education Act. Final Report. Arlington, VA: Development Associates,
July 1980. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 195 700).