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Adult Education


Adult education and literacy have never been more valued in Iowa than it is now. Iowa Workforce Development acknowledges that Iowa families face multiple responsibilities as they address their children’s educational needs as well as their own. Iowa’s adult education and literacy programs build skills for success by providing adults with the opportunity to acquire and to improve functional skills necessary to enhance the quality of their lives as workers, family members and citizens.

The Adult Education and Literacy Coordinator Handbook provides information regarding adult education and literacy legislation, policies and practices, including the implementation of federal guidelines outlined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 for program providers.


Federal and state laws govern Adult Education and Literacy programs. This section includes links to applicable laws and standards funded programs are expected to follow and Iowa's Unified State Plan under WIOA.






The following video and audio recordings provide information on various topics relative to the implementation if the federal WIOA legislation:

The following resources educate program staff on various aspects of WIOA:


Programs funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) must assess students using standardized assessments to report educational gain measures for the National Reporting System (NRS). This section includes Iowa's assessment policy and technical assistance materials.

Programs funded by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) must assess students using standardized assessments to report educational gain measures for the National Reporting System (NRS). To ensure the validity and reliability of assessment data, the Iowa Workforce Development is required to provide and implement an assessment policy and monitor local adult education providers' assessment practices and results.

The Iowa Assessment Policy is based on State Assessment Policy Guidance issued by the U.S. Dept. of Education's Division of Adult Education and Literacy, test publishers' guidelines and recommendations, and NRS Implementation Guidelines. AEFLA-funded programs are required to establish local implementation of the state assessment policy.

Assessment Policy (Including annual benchmark targets)

Technical Assistance


Iowa receives its funding for adult education from the federal government. Funds are dedicated to providing the adult basic education and English literacy/civics education programs. The basic program, commonly referred to as the “Adult Education and Literacy program,” is the foundation of the services delivered by approved providers.

The purpose of this section is to provide a reference to Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IEL/CE), State Adult Education and Literacy (AEL), and State English as a Second Language (ESL) recipients regarding grants fiscal parameters, processes, and procedures. This section will assist grantees in ensuring they are meeting the fiscal expectations of the grant and funds are being spent appropriately. When there is content that applies only to AEFLA or only to State AEL/ESL, that content will be explicitly called out.

AEFLA is located under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Chapter 23 - Adult Education and Literacy Programs administrative rules became effective January 14, 2015.

Iowa Workforce Development is required adhere to the requirements outlined in WIOA Title II, WIOA Title II, and Joint Rule, Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Grant Guidance. See the Laws, Policies, and State Plan section for more information and links to these documents.

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called "Uniform Guidance") was officially implemented in December 2014 and is included in the Code of Federal Regulations. The Uniform Guidance, a "government-wide framework for grants management," synthesizes and supersedes guidance from earlier OMB circulars. The reforms that comprise the Uniform Guidance aim to reduce the administrative burden on award recipients and, at the same time, guard against the risk of waste and misuse of Federal funds.

The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) are also part of the Code of Federal Regulations and they govern grants that come specifically from the U.S. Department of Education. EDGAR’s purpose is to ensure that Federal funds are spent according to USDE’s mission and that you meet your commitments.

Below are important regulations relevant to AEFLA:

A few key guidance documents for AEFLA include:



The purpose of monitoring program performance is to promote program improvement in two ways. First, the team reviews local adult education programs to ensure that federal and state requirements are being met and to assess how Department staff can provide the local program with technical assistance. Second, the team is interested in promoting program improvement through identification of potentially noteworthy practices.

The purpose of monitoring is to promote program improvement. Annually benchmarks are set by agreement with the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. These benchmarks are reviewed and monitored quarterly. In addition to Educational Functioning Level gains, the state has set a pre-and post-test match rate of 60 percent and an enrollment goal for PY17 of 12,378 participants within the program year. A monthly snapshot on progress toward enrollment will be provided. This snapshot will be taken on the 15th of each month showing actual federally reported enrollment (all students with a pre-test and at least twelve (12) hours of instruction) and the goal for each program.

Enrollment Progress
Use visualization to interact with data. Track performance year-to-date. Filter, sort, aggregate, and download for immediate presentation or further analysis.

AEL Results
Use data visualization to view Adult Education and Literacy summarized data.


Iowa Workforce Development, as the designated state agency, is required to monitor federally‐funded Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), for performance, fiscal management, and policy compliance. This monitoring tool has been developed based on Program, Instructor and Professional Development Standards for Adult Education and Literacy in Iowa aligned with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Section 231(e).

The goal of the standards based monitoring is to generate useful information for program improvement. The self-review/monitoring should be conducted from an objective point of view, with accuracy as the guiding principle. Accuracy is assured only if the standards and indictors are impartially evaluated and recorded. An honest appraisal and reflection process allows the monitoring process to do its job: provide a baseline measurement of the degree to which the program meets each standard so that program leadership can identify and prioritize actual program needs. The resulting continuous quality improvement plans, aimed at enhancing program services or improving program operations, have the ultimate objective of increasing program effectiveness and learner achievement.

Program Monitoring Progress

Monitoring Documents

On-Site Monitoring Documents