Adult Education Programs and Services

How To

Instructional Programs
Sections 10-67 to 10-73(d), inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S) require that the adult education services described in this section be provided by local school districts, free of charge, to any adult 17 years of age or older who is not enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school program. 

Effective July 1, 2011, the age at which a parent or guardian may provide consent for a child to withdraw from school was raised from 16 to 17 in C.G.S. Section 10-184. Therefore, individuals 17 years of age seeking enrollment in adult education should have officially withdrawn from school prior to July 1, 2011.

Local school districts and other eligible agencies providing mandated adult education programs are reimbursed by the Connecticut State Department of Education on a cost-sharing, sliding scale based on the relative wealth of a district. The mandated instructional program areas are described below:

Elementary School Completion / Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Instruction is designed for adults seeking a high school diploma who are functioning below the secondary school level and lack the basic reading, writing and numeracy skills necessary to function effectively as workers, parents and citizens. Instruction can be individualized or offered in a classroom, or a learning lab. Persons completing ABE are prepared to benefit from secondary level instruction.

Secondary School Completion

Connecticut Adult Education offers three distinct pathways for adults to attain a high school diploma.

  1. Adult High School Credit Diploma (AHSCD):
    The Adult High School Credit Diploma program is a prescribed plan, process and structure for earning a required number of academic and elective credits. The provider must be a local education agency (LEA) or Regional Education Service Center (RESC).

    Credits toward a local diploma must be obtained through a prescribed plan that requires a minimum of 20 credits in academic and elective areas (C.G.S. Section 10-69(b)). Credits for work or military experience, independent study projects and online courses are additional ways to obtain credit. Each provider/town can enhance the basic AHSCD program but must adhere to the minimum state requirements: 1) use certified teachers and counselors; 2) adhere to State Department of Education requirements regarding assessment, enrollment, accountability and reporting; 3) meet required credit standards; and 4) ensure that a one credit course offers a minimum of 48 instructional hours.

    Credits are required to be distributed as follows:
    • 4 English
    • 3 Social Studies (including 1 credit in US/American History and half credit in Civics/Government)
    • 3 Math
    • 2 Science
    • 1 Arts/Vocational Education
    • 7 Electives

    An adult who successfully completes the required credits of the AHSCD program is awarded a high school diploma by the providing LEA or RESC.

  2. General Educational Development (GED):
    Adults who have not completed high school must demonstrate, through a four-part examination that includes a writing sample, the attainment of academic skills and concepts normally acquired through completion of a high school program. Applicants for this examination must be at least 17 years of age and officially withdrawn from school for at least six months. Individuals who pass the GED Tests are awarded a Connecticut State High School Diploma. GED instructional programs, provided throughout the state in local school districts and a variety of other instructional sites, help individuals to prepare for this rigorous examination.
  3. National External Diploma Program (NEDP):

    This program provides a secondary school credential designed for adults who have gained skills through life experiences and demonstrated competence in a particular job, talent or academic area. The NEDP is an online portfolio assessment program that offers no classroom instruction. An adult who successfully completes the portfolio assessment, as required, is awarded a high school diploma by the providing LEA or RESC.


Instruction is designed for foreign-born adults who wish to become United States citizens. Persons completing this program are prepared to pursue citizenship through the prescribed process of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

English as a Second Language (ESL)
Instruction is designed for adults who have limited proficiency in the English language or whose native language is not English. ESL programs assist individuals to improve their English skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in order to find or maintain employment, attain citizenship, become more involved with their children’s schooling and make greater use of community resources. Instruction is provided in English as a unifying means of serving the broad ethnic diversity of limited-English-speaking adults.