Why Focus on Writing Skills?

Adult education programs fill a critical gap in our education system, ensuring that those who are 16+ have access to instruction in basic reading, writing and numeracy skills. Beyond improving knowledge in core academic areas, adult education programs equip learners with career readiness competencies and the confidence to engage in their community. Learners in Adult Secondary Education (ASE) programs–those individuals at a secondary level working towards a high school diploma or a recognized equivalency—have a variety of goals: passing high school equivalency tests, gaining skills and knowledge needed to transition into post-secondary educational opportunities, finding and improving employment opportunities, retaining employment, and increasing their engagement within their families, social network, and larger communities. Writing is an important skill for achieving these goals.

The pervasiveness of writing in all aspects of daily life underscores the need for the Adult Secondary Education (ASE) learning community to better support adults in becoming flexible, fluent, and confident writers. Considerable research has focused on writing theory and pedagogy in K-12 and postsecondary settings. Yet little research has focused on the literacy and writing skills of learners in ASE. Writing instruction for ASE students is hindered not only by the limited research available to practitioners, but also by limited teacher knowledge, preparation, and available tools to assist learners in improving their writing skills and increasing confidence in their ability to write