Adult Basic Education (ABE)
For more than twenty years, the CNMI Adult Basic Education (ABE) Program has been a federally funded program focused on meeting the educational needs of adult-learners.
The mission of the Adult Education Programs of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is to provide the educationally disadvantaged adults of the community the opportunities to acquire basic skills necessary to function more effectively and productively, to gain upward mobility, and to provide the opportunities that will enable them to pursue further education.
The goals of the ABE Program have been set at various levels in accordance with the needs of the adult learners:
1. To improve competency levels in reading, writing and mathematics to empower adult learners to participate more fully in community life.
2. To develop competency levels in reading, writing and mathematics to enable adult learners to assist their children and serve as their first teachers.
3. To strengthen competency levels in reading, writing and mathematics to equip adult learners with needed skills to pass the General Education Development (GED) test and earn a high school equivalency diploma.
The five components of the NMC ABE Program are:
I. Adult Basic Education (ABE) for individual adults seeking literacy according to the
1. Beginning Literacy (ABE) for adults who read below the fourth grade level and who cannot acquire information through print. These adult learners are offered the Beginning Literacy Course with a focus on reading.
2. Beginning ABE for adults who read between the fourth and sixth grade level and are able to perform routine or uncomplicated tasks, but lack the basic skills needed to cope well in society. These adult learners are offered the Basic Integrated Course that incorporates reading and beginning writing in various content areas of literature, mathematics, science and social studies.
3. Intermediate ABE (low and high) for adults who read between the sixth and eighth grade level, but who lack the twelfth grade equivalence needed in a competitive and technological society. These students are placed in courses in reading, writing, and mathematics before taking GED preparation classes (Pre-GED and GED level classes).
II. English as a Second Language (ESL) Program for those with limited English proficiency according to six (6) levels:
1. Literacy ESL for adult learners who are absolute beginners in the study and acquisition of English as a Second Language.
2. Beginning ESL (Low) for adult learners who may have some knowledge of English, but have not acquired fluency to converse with the other speakers of English.
3. Beginning ESL (High) for adult learners who are conversant in English, but are not able to read and write in the language.
4. Intermediate English (Low) for adult learners who are conversant in English and are able to decode words with some comprehension, but need to improve vocabulary for more fluency and proficiency to be able to write simple sentences.
5. Intermediate ESL (High) for adult learners who may be conversant in English and are able to read according to rules, but need to learn the grammar and structure of the English language and the rules of spelling to be able to write simple, coherent sentences to form paragraphs.
6. Advanced ESL for adult learners who have acquired remarkable fluency in the English language and are able to read with comprehension and write simple letters/compositions according to specific needs.
III. Adult Secondary Education (ASE) for individuals seeking to earn a high school diploma either through:
1. The General Education Diploma (GED) Program, or
2. The Adult School. This school offers life skill competencies and workforce literacy to adults who elect not to prepare for the GED tests, but instead work to receive the Adult School Diploma. This is recognized by island employers for job entry, retention and/or promotion, and by the Northern Marianas College as an alternative prerequisite for post-secondary education.
IV. The Family Literacy Program
This component has been gathering momentum towards implementation. DanDan Elementary School has implemented the program in coordination with the NMC ABE Program. The program has been patterned after the Hawaii model, with components such as Adult Education, Early Childhood Education, Parent Education, and Parent and Child Time. The school initiated the Family Literacy Program by first choosing one or two components such as Early Childhood Education, Adult Education, and/or Parent Education, and then scheduling the Parent and Child Time during the second semester of the following year.
V. The GED Diploma/Adult School Diploma
The GED Diploma or the Adult School Diploma is generally set as the tangible goals for adult learners participating in the program. This is to help ensure they will be able to further their education on- or off-island, find better employment, and continue to develop needed skills for job promotion.
The GED Program offers five (5) core subjects: writing, social studies, science, mathematics, and literature and arts. Each course makes use of pre- and post-testing. Cognizant of the need to develop computer literacy for job entry and mobility, GED students are also offered introductory computer courses to help them develop marketable skills in the work place.
The Adult School offers life-skills oriented, competency-based courses on occupational knowledge, consumer economics, government and law, community resources, and health. Upon satisfactory completion of the five (5) courses as measured by modular tests, an adult learner has to exhibit a vocational skill by taking a vocational course at NMC or by documenting successful employment.