Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical EducationReport as inadecuate

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National Institute for Literacy

Policymakers and educators are paying increased attention to determining how best to prepare those in adult education programs not only for immediate employment, but also for career advancement and further training or postsecondary education. This focus echoes current efforts among secondary educators, particularly those in career and technical education (CTE), to ensure that high school graduates are ready for both college and a career--not one or the other. Are there strategies currently in use in high schools that could inform efforts in adult education to prepare adults for both work and further education? The authors examine one strategy--the integrated curriculum--now being implemented in various forms in high schools to see if adult education might benefit from a similar approach. The integrated curriculum combines academic and technical content in programs that focus on problem solving, active engagement in projects and real-world applications of the knowledge and skills taught. This paper reviews several types of curriculum integration and examines research on its effects, primarily in K-12 education, since research in adult education is sparse. After discussing two curriculum integration models in detail--the multiple pathways approach promoted by ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, and the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) program--the authors describe several efforts to incorporate integrated curricula in adult education. They conclude that three approaches have promising prospects for expanding integrated curriculum efforts already under way in adult education: (1) course integration; (2) cross-curriculum integration; and (3) program integration. (Contains 15 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Integrated Curriculum, Adult Education, Vocational Education, Academic Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Research, Interdisciplinary Approach, Models, Outcomes of Education, Program Effectiveness, High Schools

National Institute for Literacy. 1775 I Street NW Suite 730, Washington, DC 20006-2401. Tel: 800-228-8813; Tel: 202-233-2025; Fax: 301-470-1244; e-mail: edpubs[at]; Web site:

Author: Chernus, Kathleen; Fowler, Donna


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