AEL Definitions

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Excerpted from Texas Adult Education and Literacy Guide
Published by Texas Workforce Commission
July 2017
[Read the entire AEL Guide]


Academy - A new objective-based organizational principle that AEL Grantees must start using in 2018 to arrange services. The Academy model organizes services to match students’ areas of interest with programs of study and other services. Programs may organize recruitment, assessment, Orientation, instructional, and other services within an Academy to give students a clear path toward their educational and employment goals. Examples include Academies structured around career training in specific sectors (for example, health services, construction, and manufacturing) or around life goals (for example, Family Literacy and life skills).

Accelerate Texas - A brand shared by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that describes an integrated career pathways model for lower-skilled adults and youth who score at the high-intermediate ESL level (literacy/reading) or low-intermediate basic education level (reading/numeracy). Accelerate Texas includes adult education and literacy integrated with career and technical training that allows students to acquire skills leading to credentials of value in their regional labor markets.

Adult Basic Education (ABE) - Activities and instruction provided across a continuum, from pre-literacy and basic literacy through elementary levels, culminating with competencies equivalent to the end of eighth grade. Instruction includes reading, mathematics, communication skills, social studies, physical sciences, health, Digital Literacy, and career and college readiness competencies. Assessment and performance guidance define ABE into four levels, as follows: 

  • Level 1 (grade level 0–1.9)
  • Level 2 (grade level 2–3.9)
  • Level 3 (grade level 4–5.9)
  • Level 4 (grade level 6–8.9)

Adult Education - Academic instruction and education services below the postsecondary level that increase an individual’s ability to do the following:

  • Read, write, and speak in English and perform mathematics or other activities necessary for the attainment of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent
  • Transition to postsecondary education and training
  • Obtain employment

Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) - The Texas Workforce Commission program that administers grants to provide adults with sufficient basic education to enable them to:

  • acquire the basic educational skills necessary for literate functioning;
  • participate in job training and retraining programs;
  • obtain and retain employment; and
  • continue their education to at least the level of completion of secondary school.

AEL Activities - One of the Core Components of the AEL program, including programs, activities, and services that include adult education, literacy, Workplace Adult Education and Literacy Activities, Family Literacy activities, English language acquisition activities, Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education, Workforce Preparation Activities, or Integrated Education and Training.

AEL Grant Recipient - See AEL Grantee.

AEL Grantee (Grantee) - An eligible grant recipient within a Workforce Area that is awarded AEL funds by TWC. The AEL Grantee also may act as an AEL lead organization of a consortium, AEL fiscal agent, or AEL service provider as designated in an agreement with an AEL consortium.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) - Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA).

Adult Secondary Education (ASE) - Activities and instruction comparable to the competencies developed in secondary high school and college developmental education.

Assessment and performance guidance define ASE into two levels, as follows:

  • Level 5 (grade level 9–10.9)
  • Level 6 (grade level 11–12)

Agency - The Texas Workforce Commission is referred to as the Agency in TWC rules. 

Assessment - An inclusive process of collecting information about individuals, groups, or systems that relies on a number of strategies, inputs, and instruments, one of which may be a test. Therefore, assessment is more comprehensive than a test.



Barriers to Employment - Describes challenges faced by individuals who are members of one or more of the following populations: 

  • Displaced homemakers
  • Low-income individuals
  • Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians
  • Individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities
  • Older individuals
  • Ex-offenders
  • Homeless individuals (as defined in §41403(6) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 USC 14043e–2(6))), or homeless children and youth (as defined in §725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC 11434a(2))). 
  • Youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system
  • Individuals who are English Language Learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers 
  • Eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers, as defined in WIOA §167(i)
  • Individuals within two years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 USC 601 et seq.) 
  • Single parents (including single pregnant women) 
  • Long-term unemployed individuals 
  • Such other groups as the governor involved determines to have barriers to employment.

Baseline - The placement of a participant into an Educational Functioning Level each new program year.

Basic Skills Deficient - Unable to compute or solve problems, or read, write, or speak English, at a level necessary to function on the job, in the individual’s family, or in society.

Bilingual Education - Instruction to students who do not function satisfactorily in English; offered when it is appropriate for the students’ optimum development.



Career and College Planning - The development of employment and postsecondary education and training awareness, readiness, and transition opportunities for students throughout service delivery, starting at intake. 

Career Navigator - A position hired by an AEL provider to fulfill duties that may include workforce case management in conjunction with college and career advising, the reduction of barriers to customer success, and working with the Board to identify local employers in indemand occupations. This position is sometimes referred to as the Career Pathways Navigator.

Career Pathways - In WIOA, Career Pathway is defined as a combination of rigorous and high-quality education, training, and other services that:

  • aligns with the skill needs of industries in the economy of the state or regional economy involved;
  • prepares an individual to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options, including apprenticeships registered under the National Apprenticeship Act of August 16, 1937;
  • includes counseling to support an individual in achieving the individual’s education and career goals;
  • includes, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with and in the same context (concurrently and contextually) as IET Workforce Preparation Activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster;
  • organizes education, training, and other services to meet the needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable;
  • enables an individual to attain a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least one Recognized Postsecondary Credential; and 
  • helps an individual enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster.

In adult education and literacy programs, Career Pathways models include IET services, including Integrated EL Civics in combination with IET, and Intensive Services. Career Pathways models are often referred as Career Pathways.

Cash Draw and Expenditure Reporting (CDER) - TWC’s system that authorized Grantees and vendors use to process cash draws, adjustments, refunds, and expenditure reports on grants and contracts. The CDER system automatically validates all requests before submission to promote swift, accurate processing and payment.

Clock Time - The clock time model, which assigns proxy hours based on the time that a participant is connected to or engaged in an online or stand-alone software program that tracks time.

Combined WIOA State Plan - TWC’s 2015–2019 Strategic Plan for programs under WIOA (

Co-enrollment (also Co-enrolled) - Enrollment of an eligible individual in two or more of the six Core Programs administered under WIOA. In adult education and literacy programs, the term has a wider meaning, such as Co-enrollment between AEL and Workforce Training, regardless of the funding source. It also is referred to as concurrent enrollment.

Collaborating Organization - An entity that provides services for the AEL Grantee’s staff or AEL students without financial compensation or contractual obligations. Collaborating organizations do not have to be consortium members, although they may be. Examples of collaborating organizations are organizations that:

  • make or accept referrals for student services;
  • make nonfinancial contributions (for example, facilities) to the grant program; and
  • assist in the delivery of comprehensive services, including TWC’s Workforce Solutions Offices and the Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards), and other agencies as appropriate. 

College Knowledge - The body of knowledge that includes, but is not limited to, the purposes, types, costs, and admissions requirements of colleges as well as the academic and behavioral expectations of college culture.

Commission - The Texas Workforce Commission’s three-member Commission, composed of members appointed by the governor as established under Texas Labor Code §301.002 that includes one representative of labor, one representative of employers, and one representative of the public.

Comprehensive Assessment - The entry phase of service delivery that consists of collecting information from participants that relies on a number of strategies, inputs, and instruments, one of which may be a test. Therefore, assessment is more comprehensive than a test. The process consists of required eligibility testing; collection of required reporting elements; signed release of information; identification of goals; educational and employment background; disability accommodation needs, if applicable; and potential barriers that may need support to ensure retention and completion. 

Concurrent and Contextual (also concurrently and contextually) - IET service delivery in which IET Components: 

  • are provided simultaneously at points within the overall scope of the program; 
  • are of sufficient intensity and quality and based on the most rigorous research available to support the advancement of education and career development; 
  • use occupationally relevant instructional materials; 
  • have a single set of learning objectives that identify specific competencies across the IET Components, which may include established learning objectives and/or trade-related benchmarks or competencies for an existing or emerging in-demand or targeted occupation or occupational cluster required for attaining a Recognized Postsecondary Credential; and
  • are organized to function cooperatively.

Contextual (also contextualized) - Teaching and learning strategies designed to link the learning of basic skills with academic or occupational content by focusing teaching and learning on applications in a career in which students are interested. Many forms of contextualization exist, including Financial Literacy, Family Literacy, health literacy, and contextualization around occupational training. When the emphasis is on career preparation and higher-level workforce training and credential attainment, teaching and learning basic skills is tied to career or occupational clusters. The following elements are often present:

  • Occupationally relevant instruction, including the use of materials, tools, equipment and items (signs, manuals, procedures) from the workplace (called “realia”) that the learner will use after training
  • Use of the learner’s content, workplace, or professional knowledge
  • Assessment that includes context- and content-specific measurement and application of skills 

Consortium Member - Any entity in a consortium.

Contact Hour - The hours of instruction or instructional activity a participant receives within a program. Instructional activity includes any program-sponsored activity that is designed to promote participant learning in the program curriculum, including classroom instruction, tutoring, or participation in a learning lab. A contact hour is the cumulative sum of minutes during which an eligible adult participant receives instructional, counseling, and/or assessment services from staff that is supported by federal and state adult education funds as documented by local attendance and reporting records.

Core Components of an IET (IET Components) - The three required instructional and service activities of an IET program, including the following:

  • AEL Activities contextualized for Workforce Training
  • Workforce Preparation Activities
  • Workforce Training for a specific in-demand or targeted occupation or occupational cluster, as determined by the Board

Core Program - A program that operates under one of the following:

  • Title I Adult program
  • Title I Dislocated Worker program
  • Title I Youth program
  • Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act program
  • Employment Service program, authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act, as amended by Title III of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation program, authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by WIOA Title I

Correctional Institution - A correctional institution is any: 

  • prison; 
  • jail;
  • reformatory; 
  • work farm; 
  • detention center; or
  • halfway house, community-based rehabilitation center, or any other similar institution designed for the confinement or rehabilitation of criminal offenders.

Corrections Education and Other Institutionalized Individuals - Required under WIOA
Title II, services that states must provide to criminal offenders (any individual who is charged with or convicted of any criminal offense) who reside in correctional institutions.

Credential (also Recognized Postsecondary Credential) - A credential consisting of an industry-recognized certificate or certification, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, a license recognized by the State involved or Federal government, or an associate or baccalaureate degree, as well as graduate degrees for purposes of the VR program as required by section 103(a)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of WIOA. A Recognized Postsecondary Credential is awarded in recognition of an individual’s attainment of measurable technical or industry/occupational skills necessary to obtain employment or advance within an industry/occupation. These technical or industry/occupational skills generally are based on standards developed or endorsed by employers or industry associations. 

Neither certificates awarded by Boards, nor work readiness certificates, are included in this definition because neither type of certificate documents the measurable technical or industry/occupational skills necessary to gain employment or advance within an occupation. Likewise, such certificates must recognize technology or industry/occupational skills for the specific industry/occupation rather than general skills related to safety, hygiene, etc., even if such general skills certificates are broadly required to qualify for entry-level employment or advancement in employment.

A variety of different public and private entities issue Recognized Postsecondary Credentials.

Below is a list of the types of organizations and institutions that award Recognized Postsecondary Credentials (Not all Credentials by these entities meet the definition of Recognized Postsecondary Credential.). 

  • A State educational agency or a State agency responsible for administering vocational and technical education within a State; 
  • An institution of higher education described in §102 of the Higher Education Act (20 USC 1002) that is qualified to participate in the student financial assistance programs authorized by title IV of that Act. This includes community colleges, proprietary schools, and all other institutions of higher education that are eligible to participate in Federal student financial aid programs; 
  • An institution of higher education that is formally controlled or has been formally sanctioned or chartered by the governing body of an Indian tribe or tribes. 
  • A professional, industry, or employer organization (for example, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification; National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Inc.; Machining Level I credential) or product manufacturer or developer (for example, recognized Microsoft Information Technology certificates, such as Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Certified Novell Engineer, and a Sun Certified Java Programmer) using a valid and reliable assessment of an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities; 
  • Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency;
  • A public regulatory agency that awards a credential upon an individual’s fulfillment of educational, work experience, or skill requirements that are legally necessary for an individual to use an occupational or professional title or to practice an occupation or profession (for example, a Federal Aviation Administration aviation mechanic license, or a State-licensed asbestos inspector); 
  • A program that has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer education benefits to veterans and other eligible persons. 
  • Job Corps, which issues certificates for completing career training programs that are based on industry skills standards and certification requirements.



Data Sign-off (DSO) - A report that Grantees are required to submit quarterly to TWC that certifies the validity of data noted in TEAMS. Grantee directors must certify the validity of the data. DSO reports are due 15 days after the end of each quarter (October 15th, January 15th, April 15th, and July 15th). A final DSO report is due July 15th that represents the Program Year data.

Digital Literacy - The skills associated with using technology to enable users to find, evaluate, organize, create, and communicate information.

Direct Contact Hour - A direct contact hour is a contact hour that consists of instruction or instructional activity in reading, writing, mathematics, and English as a second language (ESL), which includes classroom instruction, tutoring, or participation in a learning lab. Hours accumulated through Orientation or Workforce Training do not count as direct   contact hours. Hours accumulated through Workforce Preparation Activities count as direct contact hours only when the activities are delivered in the context of reading, writing, mathematics, and ESL. Direct-contact hours are entered on the daily class contact hour page in the Texas Educating Adults Management System (TEAMS).

Discretionary Innovation Projects - Capacity-building projects that are directed toward developing and enhancing the adult education system to position the system for continuous improvement across program outcomes and for innovation related to system integration with core WIOA programs and postsecondary education and training.

Distance Learning - A formal learning activity in which participants and instructors are separated by geography, time, or both for most of the instructional period.

Distance Learning Curriculum Model - One of the following TWC-approved learning curriculum models used to track a Distance Learning participant’s proxy hours: clock time model, teacher certification model, learner mastery model.

Distance Learning Participant - A participant who has more proxy hours than direct hours.

Distance Learning Plan - A plan written by programs offering Distance Learning which outlines the delivery of Distance Learning education. 



Educational Functioning Level - The ABE, ASE, and ESL literacy levels, as provided in this guide, that describe a set of skills and competencies that students demonstrate in the National Reporting System (NRS) skill areas.

Educational Technology - The technology tools, techniques, or processes that facilitate, expand, or enhance learning and assessment, or that support teaching practices to improve learning outcomes including, but not limited to, Distance Learning or distance education and Digital Literacy.

English Language Acquisition - See English as a Second Language.

English Language Learner (ELL) - An eligible individual who has limited ability in reading, writing, speaking, or comprehending the English language, and whose native language is a language other than English; or who lives in a family or community environment where a language other than English is the dominant language.

English Literacy and Civics (EL Civics) - Education services provided to adult ELLs, including professionals with degrees or credentials in their native countries, to enable them to achieve competency in the English language and acquire the basic and more advanced skills needed to function effectively as parents, workers, and citizens in the United States. EL Civics services must include instruction in literacy, English as a Second Language, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation, and may include Workforce Training. 

English as a Second language (ESL) - ESL instruction helps eligible individuals who are
English Language learners achieve competence in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension of English. The program must lead to attainment of a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent and transition to postsecondary education and training or employment. To achieve this, the program may do the following:

  • Align the curricula, lesson plans, or instructional materials to the Texas AEL Content Standards 
  • Offer educational and career-counseling services that assist an eligible individual to transition to postsecondary education or employment; or
  • Be part of Career Pathways program.

In WIOA, English as a Second Language is referred to as English Language Acquisition.

Exiter - A participant which exits AEL services after he or she has not received any qualifying service for more than 90 days. An exit is retroactively calculated to the last day of service after 90 days of inactivity.



Family Literacy - Literacy activities that are of sufficient intensity and quality to 

  • make sustainable improvements in the economic prospects for of a family; 
  • better enable parents or family members to support their children’s learning needs; and 
  • integrate all the following activities:
    • Parent or family adult education and literacy activities that lead to readiness for postsecondary education or training, career advancement, and economic selfsufficiency
    • Interactive literacy activities between parents or family members and their children
    • Training for parents or family members regarding how to be the primary teachers for their children and full partners in their children’s education
    • An age-appropriate education that prepares children for success in school and life experiences
Financial Literacy - Instruction in how to make informed decisions and take effective action with respect to money management.



General Service Provider Grant (Provider Grant) - The statewide system of AEL Grantees in each workforce area that deliver a variety of AEL Activities under multiyear grants as defined in TWC rule (TAC) §805. 



High-quality Information Management System - In Texas, the Texas Educating Adults Management System (TEAMS). 

High School Drop-out Recovery Program - A program that identifies and recruits students who dropped out of Texas public schools and provides them services designed to enable them to earn a high school diploma or complete an alternative path to college by demonstrating college readiness. Attributes of the model include a wide array of academic and social supports, including child care and transportation, open entry to and open exit from program, a variety of instructional programming, including online courses, and multiple scheduling options, including weekend and evening classes.

Hold Harmless and Stop Gain - A procedure that ensures that a relative proportion of an allocation to a workforce area is not below 90 percent of the corresponding proportion for the past two years or that the current year proportion is not above 125 percent of the past twoyear relative proportion.



In-demand - refers to:

an industry sector that has a substantial current or potential impact (including through jobs that lead to economic self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement) on the state, regional, or local economy, as appropriate, and that contributes to the growth or stability of other supporting businesses or to the growth of other industry sectors; or an occupation that currently has or is projected to have several positions (including positions that lead to economic self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement) in an industry sector that will have a significant impact on the state, regional, or local economy, as appropriate. 

Individual Training, Education, and Career Plan (ITEC Plan) - A plan for the student to meet educational and career goals, designed to promote a discussion and set forth a strategy. The plan delineates short- and long-term goals and their implementation steps.  Intake—The holistic process in which a provider, before enrolling a student in AEL services, determines the eligibility of the student, identifies the student’s goals and barriers, collects required information for federal reporting purposes, and refers the student to other services, as needed. 

Integrated Education and Training (IET) - An overall scope of services designed for a specific occupation or occupational cluster for educational and career advancement. which includes the three IET Components: AEL Activities, Workforce Preparation Activities, and Workforce Training, delivered through Integrated Services. IET programs ensure that participants gain the skills needed to succeed in workforce training program by attaining a Recognized Postsecondary Credential, entering or advancing in employment, or advancing in postsecondary education and training.

Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (Integrated EL Civics) - A program funded under WIOA §243 for adult English Language Learners, including professionals with degrees and credentials in their native countries. WIOA §243 Integrated EL Civics funds require that the program’s service approach include EL Civics services in combination with IET for participants for whom IET services are appropriate. Additionally, the Integrated EL Civics program must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be designed to prepare adult English Language Learners for, and place them in, unsubsidized employment in existing and emerging in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency
  • Integrate with Board and Workforce Solutions Office functions to carry out the activities of the program 

Integrated Services - Delivery of IET Components which are provided concurrently and contextually—that is, IET Components are provided simultaneously at points within the overall scope of the program; are of sufficient intensity and quality and are based on the most rigorous research available to support the advancement of education and career development; and use occupationally relevant instructional materials. Integrated Services also means an IET program has program activities organized to function cooperatively so that specific adult education content, Workforce Preparation Activities, and Workforce Training competencies are aligned to a single set of learning objectives that identify specific competencies across the IET Components. The competencies may include established learning objectives and/or trade-related benchmarks or competencies for an emerging or existing in-demand or targeted occupation or occupational cluster required for attaining a recognized postsecondary credential.

Intensive Services - A Career Pathways service model, which includes one or more of the following:

  • Workplace AEL Activities 
  • Services for Internationally-trained English Language Learner Professionals
  • Transition to Re-entry and Post-Release Services
Internationally-trained English Language Learner Professional - An English Language Learner who is a professional with a degree or credential from his or her native country.



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Limited English Proficient (LEP) - An individual who does not speak English as his or her primary language and who has a limited ability to read, speak, write, and/or understand English.

Literacy - An individual’s ability to read, write, and speak in English and to compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual, and in society. 

Local Board Plan - A plan required under WIOA, in which each Board develops a comprehensive four-year local plan that analyzes Workforce Area and lays out each Board’s strategy to meet the economic and employment needs of the area’s job seekers and employers. Local Board Plans may be located on the TWC website

Local Workforce Development Area - See Workforce Area

Local Workforce Development Board (Board) - Created pursuant to Texas Government Code §2308.253 and certified by the governor pursuant to Texas Government Code §2308.261. There are 28 Boards in Texas.



Managed Enrollment - A system for enrollment in which student entry points are set at logical break points in the curriculum or at the beginning of short classes or modules (typically three to six weeks or up to 10 weeks long). Class terms in Managed Enrollment scheduling are usually shorter than in open enrollment or fixed enrollment, determined by examining program data to identify how long students attend a class before attrition begins. Group intake, Orientation, and pretesting sessions occur outside of class before each entry point. Instructors receive information about new students before they arrive in class on designated dates.

Measurable Skill Gains (MSG) - The WIOA term for the percentage of program participants who, during a program year, are in an education or training program that leads to a Recognized Postsecondary Credential or employment and who are achieving MSG, defined as documented academic, technical, occupational, or other forms of progress, toward such a credential or employment. The US Department of Education has not implemented all the MSG options available to other WIOA Core Programs. The following options are currently available to providers for reporting:  

  • Type 1a: EFL Gain- Pre/post-test
  • Type 1b: Exit then entry into postsecondary education
  • Type 2: Obtainment of a high school equivalency
  • Type 3: Secondary or Postsecondary Transcript
  • Type 4: Progress towards milestones
  • Type 5: Passing Technical/Occupational Knowledge Based Exam

Providers should defer to the Texas AEL Assessment Guide and associated AEL letters for official policy and guidance related to MSG.



National Reporting System (NRS) Implementation Guidelines—The federal accountability requirements of AEFLA, which describe measures to allow assessment of the effect of adult education instruction, methodologies for collecting the measures, reporting forms and procedures, and training and technical assistance activities to assist states in collecting the measures.



Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) - The office of the US Department of Education that administers and coordinates programs related to AEL, career and technical education, and community colleges. OCTAE was formerly referred to as the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

On-Ramp to Postsecondary Education or Training (On-ramp Program) - A service, also referred to as a bridge or transition class, that prepares adults with basic skills needs or limited English to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and training that leads to career advancement in in-demand, middle-, and high-skilled occupations. On-ramp programs can run several days, weeks, or longer, as postsecondary college readiness programs, depending on the type of program that students are preparing to enter (for example, community college and other Workforce Training) and can address the following topics, content, and activities:  

  • Preparation for college or Workforce Training, including the development of college knowledge in the areas of note-taking, academic advising, time management, study habits, and Digital Literacy; 
  • Career development that includes career exploration, career planning, and employment expectations and work culture for an occupation or sector;  
  • Meeting with Career Navigators or others to expand and customize an Individual Training, Education and Career Plan; 
  • Guest lectures from employers, former students, and faculty;
  • Referrals to individual Supportive Services (for example, transportation, child care, housing assistance); and
  • Intensive academic readiness and remediation for student success to support transition to postsecondary education and training. 

The On-Ramp Program often supports program success by ensuring that students understand and are committed to the duration and intensity of the training program, have developed arrangements to mitigate work and personal obligations that might impede program completion, and are well informed about resulting employment options and expectations to support employment success.

Open Enrollment - A system that allows participants to enter and exit a class at nearly any point throughout its term. Students are free to come to class when they can, miss when they must, drop out for a while, and return without any waiting period. Typically, teachers receive no notice of or information about new learners before the learners arrive in class. 

Orientation - Part of the assessment process in which a provider provides information to participants about program and collaborating organization services, attendance policy, class participation policy, participant support services, emergency evacuation procedures, grievance procedures, rights and responsibilities of participants, and program code of conduct in a written participant handbook or syllabus. Orientation establishes a student’s short- and long-term goals and sets the basis for the Individual Training, Education, and Career (ITEC) plan.



Participant Served Targets - Enrollment targets established by the Commission and corresponding cost-per amounts. Participant Served Targets for PY’17-18 are (amounts under consideration now):

  • Basic AEL;
  • Intensive AEL, which includes one of the following service approaches:
    • Workplace AEL Activities;
    • Services for Internationally-trained English Language Learner Professionals; and
    • Transition to Re-entry and Post-Release services; and
  • Integrated Education and Training AEL.

Performance Funding - Funding earned by an AEL Grantee upon achievement of Performance Funding benchmarks that coincide with other state or federal performance measures as determined by the Commission.

Period of Participation (POP) - An interval of measurement that begins each time an individual is found eligible for the AEL program through a pretest and accrues 12 direct-contact hours and ends each time and individual has not received a participator service for 90 days.  POPs can span across program years, and a participant can have multiple POPs in one program year.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) - Information that identifies an individual, as set forth in TWC’s WD Letter 13-08, issued April 1, 2008, and entitled “Security of Personal Identity Data” and requirements in WD Letter 13-13, issued April 2, 2013, and entitled “Handling and Protection of Personally Identifiable Information and Other Sensitive Information.” Not all PII is sensitive and/or confidential by law. 

Post-assessment - A progress or subsequent test administered after the learner has received at least the minimum hours of instruction recommended in an assessment publisher’s guidelines; also called a “post-test.” 

Post-release services - Services provided to a formerly incarcerated individual upon or shortly after release from a correctional institution. These services are designed to promote successful adjustment to the community and prevent recidivism. Examples include education, employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing support, mental and physical health care, and family reunification services; also called “re-entry services.” 

Post-test - See Post-assessment

Pre-assessment - A test administered to place a participant into an educational functioning level, generally before instruction takes place; also “pre-test” or “initial assessment.” 

Pre-test - See Pre-assessment

Principles of Adult Learning - A wide variety of research-based Professional Development topics that include the instructional and advising characteristics specific to adults and that are concerned with the range of knowledge, skills, and abilities that adults bring to education and that define their needs to:

  • understand and use information;
  • express themselves;
  • act independently;
  • manage a changing world effectively; and 
  • meet goals and objectives related to career, family, and community participation.

Instructional principles include, but are not limited to:

  • engaging adults and customizing instruction on subjects that have immediate relevance to their career and personal goals and objectives;
  • building on their prior knowledge and experience; and 
  • supporting them in taking responsibility for their learning.

Professional Development (PD) - A wide variety of facilitated learning activities for instructors and staff of AEL programs and organizations that participate in AEL programs and services. PD refers to the acquisition of skills and knowledge for career advancement and encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, including workshops, conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice.

Professional Development Center (PD Center) - The statewide AEL Professional Development and Support Center contractor that serves as a central dissemination point for information, networking, and Professional Development for AEL professionals working in Texas to create opportunities in education and the workforce for their students. The current contractor, located at Texas A&M University, is the TRAIN PD Consortium (Texas Research-based Adult Instruction Network Professional Development). 

Professional Development Coordinators (PD Coordinator) - Staff employed by AEL
providers to deliver or facilitate delivery of Tier 1 PD services and training as well as a comprehensive plan for local PD efforts in coordination with the PD Center and as directed by TWC.

Professional Development Plan for Continuous Improvement - A set of goals, objectives and activities designed by a team of local practitioners to bring ongoing improvement to AEL services through periodic review, measurement and action.

Program Year (PY) - The AEL program year, which runs from July 1–June 30. 

Proxy Hours - Hours of instruction for which the identity of the participant and/or the exact amount of time spent on a learning activity may not be verified directly.  

Provider - An organization that has demonstrated effectiveness in providing AEL Activities and is eligible to apply for a grant or contract. Providers may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • A local educational agency
  • A community-based organization or faith-based organization
  • A volunteer literacy organization
  • An institution of higher education
  • A public or private nonprofit agency
  • A library
  • A public-housing authority
  • A nonprofit institution that is not described in any of the items above and that can provide adult education and literacy activities to eligible individuals
  • A consortium or coalition of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries, or authorities described in any of the bullets above
A partnership between an employer and an entity described in any of the bullets above



No entries for "Q".



Recognized Postsecondary Credential - See Credential.

Re-entry and Post-Release Services - Services provided to a formerly incarcerated individual upon or shortly after release from a correctional institution. These services are designed to promote successful adjustment to the community and prevent recidivism. Examples include education, employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing support, mental and physical health care, and family reunification services. Federal adulteducation funds may be used only for activities that promote transition to such services and not for costs for participation in post-release programs or services. See Transition to Re-entry and Post-Release Services.

Re-entry Initiatives - Services provided to a formerly incarcerated individual upon or shortly after release from a correctional institution that are designed to promote successful adjustment to the community and prevent recidivism. Examples include education, employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing support, mental and physical health care, and family reunification services; also, “re-entry services.”



Section 225 Funding - Funds granted to AEL providers for the cost of educational programs for criminal offenders in correctional institutions and for other institutionalized individuals. The programs include academic programs for AEL services; special education, as determined by the eligible agency; secondary school credit; IET; Career Pathways; concurrent enrollment; peer tutoring; and transition to re-entry initiatives and other post-release services with the goal of reducing recidivism.

Section 231 Funding - Funds granted to AEL providers to establish or operate programs that provide AEL activities, including programs that provide such activities concurrently with other program activities.

Section 243 Funding - Funding that supports Integrated Education and Training English Literacy and Civics Education (Integrated EL Civics) under WIOA §243 for adult ELLs, including professionals with degrees and credentials in their native countries. WIOA §243 requires that the program service approach include EL Civics services in combination with IET for participants for whom IET services are appropriate. 
Additionally, programs funded with WIOA §243 funds must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be designed to prepare adult English Language Learners for and place them in unsubsidized employment in existing and emerging in-demand industry sectors or targeted occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency
  • Integrate with Board and Workforce Solutions Office functions to carry out the activities of the program

Services for Internationally-trained English Language Learner Professionals (Services for Internationally-trained ELL Professionals) - Services for Internationally-trained ELL Professionals include, but are not limited to, skills preparation for professional credentialing exams, specialized career advising, ESL services contextualized for targeted occupations with enough intensity to allow for rapid progress with the use of proper English language assessment to determine whether a participant’s academic or professional English is sufficient to enough to pursue academic coursework, credentialing exams, or professional opportunities. Services for Internationally-trained ELL Professionals are offered as part of the Intensive Services for Career Pathways.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) - Procedures that AEL providers are required to have and maintain for grant execution in areas that include, but are not limited to, recruitment and advertising, intake, assessment, testing, placement, and customer profile data collection.

State Fiscal Year - The 12-month period used for accounting, budgeting, and reporting purposes, during which funding disbursement or other financial transactions occurred. For the State of Texas, the State Fiscal Year begins September 1 of each year and ends the following August 31. For example, State Fiscal Year 2016 (SFY’16) began September 1, 2016, and ended August 31, 2016.

State Leadership Activities - TWC-directed leadership activities in support of AEL that are authorized by WIOA §222(a) and described in WIOA §223(a) (29 USC §3303). TWC is authorized to use not more than 12.5 percent of its federal grant to carry out State Leadership Activities, which include PD, technical assistance, technology assistance, support of literacy resource centers, monitoring and evaluation of the quality of and improvement in AEL programs, incentives, curriculum development, and other activities of statewide importance.

State Performance Measures - State performance measures are those negotiated between TWC and the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) each biennium as a part of TWC’s Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR).

Statewide Management Information System - The official database for Texas adult education and literacy program data is currently the Texas Educating Adults Management System (TEAMS).  

Subrecipient - An entity or individual that contracts with an AEL provider to provide a service that supports the delivery of AEL services. The AEL provider must determine whether a Subrecipient is a vendor or a Subrecipient as defined by Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR, Part 200. The provider develops contracts based on the determined relationship.

Supportive Services - Services include providing the transportation, child care, dependent care, housing, and needs-related payments necessary to enable an individual to participate in AEL Activities.



Technical Assistance Plan - The first step in implementing a corrective action. A technical assistance plan (TAP) for performance improvement may be jointly developed by TWC with Boards, AEL Grantees, or TWC Grantees. A TAP includes, but is not limited to:

  • identification of one or more specific performance improvement issues; 
  • assessment of specific technical assistance or training needs; 
  • selection of one or more specific technical assistance or training activities to be implemented; 
  • identification of the appropriate entities to provide the technical assistance or training, including the Board, AEL Grantee, TWC, other Boards, or other entities; 
  • identification of a timeline for completion of the technical assistance or training; and 
  • specific dates for reassessment of technical assistance or training needs and completion of the specific technical assistance or training.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - A federal program that, in addition to providing temporary financial assistance to needy families who meet certain eligibility requirements, provides financial support to many initiatives that meet one or more of the four purposes of TANF, as follows: 

  1. Provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for in their own homes 
  2. Reduce the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage
  3. Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies 
  4. Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families. 

For more information, refer to AEL Letter 01-15, Change 1, issued May 14, 2015, and entitled “Adult Education and Literacy Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Eligibility—Update,” including any subsequent issuances, or the Texas State Plan for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families on the Health and Human Services website at

Test - A measuring device or instrument and its associated procedures. Educational tests are typically composed of questions or tasks designed to elicit predetermined behavioral responses or to measure academic content standards.

Texas Adult Education and Literacy Assessment Guide (Assessment Guide) - A guide based on the NRS Implementation Guidelines (February 2016 and subsequent issuances), as well as on TWC AEL and WD Letters. The Assessment Guide standardizes the process of determining participant placement, progress toward outcomes, and collection and reporting of data. Grantees are responsible for following the Assessment Guide.

Texas Adult Education and Literacy Content Standards (Texas AEL Content Standards) - The Texas-adopted academic content standards that specify the content that adult learners should know and be able to do in the areas of reading and language arts, mathematics, and ESL, including how this content aligns to the occupational and industry skill standards widely used by business and industry in Texas.

Texas Educating Adults Management System (TEAMS) - The official database for Texas AEL data.

Texas Workforce System - Provides workforce development, employment and training, and educational services through a seamless customer-focused service-delivery network that enhances access to all program services and improves long-term employment outcomes for individuals receiving assistance. Workforce Partners administer separately funded programs as a set of integrated streamlined services to customers. TWC’s AEL program and
Vocational Rehabilitation Services, in partnership with the 28 Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) and their contractors, offices, and service providers form the Texas Workforce System.

Tier One Training (Tier 1 Training) - Core training that an AEL provider must deliver to its employees as part of its TWC grant contract, to include, but not be limited to, test administration, goal setting, integrating career awareness, basic TEAMS usage, and programspecific policies regarding student recruitment, orientation, and documentation.

Tier Two Training (Tier 2 Training) - Diverse adult-learning training, including the Principles of Adult-Learning courses offered through the Professional Development Center to assist AEL providers in improving instructional and performance outcomes.

Title I Services - WIOA Title I–funded services for adults and dislocated workers, including core services available for job seekers. Core services include skills assessments, self-service access to job listings, information about careers and local labor market conditions, and limited staff assistance with job search activities. Intensive services are available only to individuals who have not obtained employment through core services, or who are employed but require intensive services to retain or obtain employment allowing for self-sufficiency. Intensive services can include skills assessments, career counseling, development of individual employment plans, and short-term prevocational services. Training services are available to individuals who have been unable to find or keep employment through core and intensive services. These services can include such activities as occupational skills training, on-the-job training, job readiness training, and AEL Activities, if they are provided in conjunction with other job training activities.

Transitions - Preparatory course models designed to increase the transitional success of participants at NRS Levels 4–6 who are enrolling in initial postsecondary education and training courses. 

Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxCHSE) - The certificate of high school equivalency issued by the Texas Education Agency, which is the only agency authorized to issue high school equivalency certificates in Texas. See

Transition to Re-entry and Post-Release Services - Such services as educational counseling or case work that support incarcerated individuals transition to re-entry and other post-release services. Examples include:

  • assisting incarcerated individuals to develop plans for post-release education program participation;
  • assisting students in identifying and applying for participation in post-release programs; and 
  • performing direct outreach to community-based program providers on behalf of reentering students.
Such funds may not be used to pay for participation in post-release programs or services. Transition to Re-entry and Post-Release Services is an Intensive Services model for Career Pathways.



No entries for "U".



Vocational Rehabilitation Services - Also called “Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services.” Vocational Rehabilitation Services helps individuals with disabilities prepare for, find, or retain employment and helps youth and students prepare for postsecondary opportunities. It also helps businesses and employers recruit, retain, and accommodate employees with disabilities. Services include vocational evaluations, counseling and guidance, training and education assistance, and assistive technology.



Workforce Area - An area designated by the governor and functioning as a local workforce investment area by which integrated AEL and workforce services are organized. Workforce areas must consist of more than one contiguous unit of general local government, including at least one county, and must be of sufficient size to have the administrative resources necessary to plan, manage, and deliver workforce development services. Other factors used in developing the workforce areas in Texas are the economic development needs of each area, analyses of local labor markets, commuting patterns of residents, and community needs, including those of employers seeking skilled workers and individuals seeking jobs and skills training.

Workforce Partners in Texas differ from those listed in WIOA because Texas may operate certain aspects of WIOA under prior consistent state law. The required Workforce Partners in Texas are the: 

  • WIOA adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs (also a WIOA Core Program);
  • Wagner-Peyser Employment Service (ES) program (also a WIOA Core Program);
  • Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) programs (also a WIOA Core Program);
  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) WIOA Title IV programs (also a WIOA Core Program);
  • Unemployment Insurance program;
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program;
  • Choices, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) employment and training program;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T);
  • Subsidized Child Care program;
  • Apprenticeship programs (Chapter 133 of the Texas Education Code);
  • National and Community Services Act program;
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program; and
  • Non-Certificate Postsecondary Career and Technology Training programs.

Workforce Preparation Activities - One of the three core IET Components, encompassing activities, programs, or services designed to help an individual acquire a combination of basic academic skills, critical thinking skills, Digital Literacy skills, and self-management skills, including competencies in the following: 

  • Using resources; 
  • Using information; 
  • Working with others; 
  • Understanding systems; 
  • Skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of postsecondary education, training, or employment; and 
  • Other employability skills that increase an individual’s preparation for the workforce.

Workforce Solutions Offices - Referred to in federal guidance as one-stops, offer an array of services that include job placement services, training programs, and child care assistance for eligible customers as well as such employer services as job posting and placement and labor market research.  

Workforce Training—One of the three core IET Components, including the following training services authorized under WIOA Title I: 

  • On-the-Job Training as described in WIOA §3(44)
  • Skills upgrading (for example, training delivered in an IET by an employer)
  • Entrepreneurial Training
  • Customized training, as described in WIOA §3(14)
  • Other occupational skills training (for example, training delivered in an IET by a community or technical college)  
  • Prerequisite training
  • Registered Apprenticeship training
  • Youth occupational skills training

Workplace Adult Education and Literacy Activities (Workplace AEL Activities) - AEL activities offered by an eligible provider in collaboration with an employer or employee organization at a workplace or an off-site location that are designed to improve the productivity of the workforce. Workplace AEL is one of the Intensive Services models for Career Pathways. This is sometimes referred to as Workplace AEL.



No entries for "X".



Year-Round Service Delivery - Refers to instances when AEL services are provided by an AEL provider using a Managed Enrollment model that includes flexible schedules, which allows customers to begin Orientation or Workforce Preparation Activities at no less than two-week intervals and instructional services no fewer than four times a year.



No entries for "Z".