Learning Standards

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Learning Standards

The Washington State Adult Learning Standards are used to:

  • Provide a common language that defines educational success for students, teachers, partners, funders, and others
  • Design local curricula, course outlines, and lesson plans
  • Engage departments in planning for outcomes and alignment between levels
  • Communicate to students the skills and strategies taught and performance expected in any particular class
  • Facilitate student goal-setting
  • Assess student progress
  • Encourage faculty professional development and collegial dialog
  • Articulate with other educational partners (i.e. WorkFirst, vocational/technical programs) and help students transition (i.e. to college classes, vocational training)


In 2006, after a two-year design process, the Washington State Learning Standards were approved by ABE directors in the Council for Basic Skills (CBS). The Washington Standards are adapted from the Equipped for the Future (EFF) Content Standards.

Learning Standards attempt to answer the real life outcomes question  “What do adults need to know and be able to do in order to carry out their roles and responsibilities as workers, parents, family members and citizens/community members?”   Learning standards set high expectations for learners, while providing support to teachers to help learners meet those expectations.

As you work with the Learning Standards, please notice the meanings embedded in their format. Each standard has three parts. The top consists of a set of descriptors that remains common to all levels of that standard. The indicators which follow are an elaboration of what performance of those skills looks like at the completion of the indicated level. Finally, a summary narrative describes how fluently and independently and in what range of settings a student can be expected to perform the skills. Please remember that the indicator descriptors describe what EXIT skills from that level look like.

Statewide standards professional development to support implementation, in the form of a cadre of standards trainers and various on-line tools, have been offered since 2007.

Learning Standards Documents (posted 2009)

After three years use in the field, the learning standards are benefiting from the input of practitioner wisdom. Suggested changes have been incorporated into updated 2009 versions of the Indicators of the WA Adult Learning Standards. The indicators play an important role in the standards system by describing the KEY knowledge, skills, and strategies that learners should be able to demonstrate at each level in performing the standard. Since they describe student performance, the indicators are a key tool for designing both instruction and assessment. The indicators show up in several Washington ABE documents on this web page: the Washington State Learning Standards, the WA Curriculum Frameworks in each content area, and the WA Indicator Continua in each content area. Below is a link listing the exact places in those documents where changes in language have been made.

Templates and Traning Tools

Standards-based Lesson Examples




Equipped for the Future (EFF) Toolkit and Sample Lessons

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Page Manager: clowder@sbctc.edu
Page Reviewed/Updated: January 02, 2015, 4:57 PM

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