Saturday, September 7, 2013

Transforming Adult Basic Education in Arizona

RSC Northern Student
Amanda Qualls
RSC Associate Dean
Blair Liddicoat
As the largest provider of adult basic education in the state, serving 10,000 students each year, Rio Salado College is leading the way for preparing Arizonans for career and educational success.

Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways offers several programs that give adults access to educational opportunities through STAR-PATH (Successful Talented Adults at Rio-Practice, Analytics, Technology, and Help), a five-tiered college and career student support model that acts as a bridge to post-secondary education.
  • Adult Basic and Secondary Education - In-person classes for students who did not complete high school and high school graduates who need to review basic academic skills.
  • Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) - A scholarship-based college and career preparation program for adults, 16-years-of-age or older who are ready to commit to completing a degree, certificate, or workforce training program.
  • English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) – In-person classes for legal residents who are 16 years or older. Classes focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing the English language.
  • GED Preparation – In-person and online classes designed to help students prepare for their General Educational Development (GED) high school diploma equivalency exam.
  • Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST) – A program offering students skills needed in various career paths while also providing instruction for the GED exam.
“Rio Salado College’s Adult Basic Education program has made drastic and deliberate changes this past year to ensure continued student success,” said Blair Liddicoat, associate dean of adult basic education.

The major change was restructuring College Bridge Pathways as a way to serve the entire pre-college community.

“The program has expanded its focus on GED completion to include post-secondary enrollment and career attainment,” Liddicoat said. “We introduce students to college and career pathways the first time they walk through the doors and reinforce it as they make progress toward attaining their GED.”

Other changes include implementing the STAR-PATH model at all Rio Salado College locations and aligning College Bridge Pathways programs to follow best practices already implemented for other college services.

“STAR-PATH helped me see where I was and how much work I needed to do to get my GED,” said student Amanda Qualls. “I wasn’t having any luck finding a job and I knew that not finishing high school was holding me back.

Qualls earned her GED in May, and is currently enrolled in community college classes to pursue her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

“Rio Salado is an awesome choice to receive help in getting your GED,” Qualls said. “The Student Success Seminar helps you understand the program and once in class, the teachers are a big help in your success.”

Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways programs are offered in-person and through hybrid classroom instruction at locations valleywide.

Classes are provided using multiple resources including the Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education Services, Arizona Department of Corrections and through multiple profit and non-profit organizations.

For more information visit