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Preparing Oregonians for a Postsecondary Education


  • By 2025, 80 percent of Oregonians will receive postsecondary education.
  • Abt assisted with an adult basic skills transition initiative.
  • More than 4,500 adult learners have participated in OPABS courses.
The Challenge

In 2006, the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD) launched the Oregon Pathways for Adult Basic Skills Initiative (OPABS) to better help low-skilled adults transition from the state’s Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs to postsecondary education, training, and employment.  In 2011 the state senate set a goal for 2025: 40 percent of adult Oregonians will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent will have earned an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential, and 20 percent or fewer will have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. OPABS has been a key strategy as CCWD works toward this goal.  

The Approach

From OPABS’s inception, Abt worked with CCWD to assist with OPABS design, implementation, and data collection. We provided technical assistance with the design of an OPABS conceptual model and academic interventions, a professional development program, and a data collection system. From 2006-2013, Abt worked with the state’s community colleges to guide the development and revision of six accelerated basic skills courses aimed at preparing low-skilled adults to succeed in postsecondary education. We also helped design a professional development program to prepare faculty to teach these courses. 

The Results

More than 4,500 adult learners have participated in OPABS courses delivered in 12 of the state’s 17 community college basic skills programs. Abt provided guidance on the  implementation  of basic skills program services that facilitate learners’ transition to postsecondary education and the collection and use of longitudinal data.  


Promising Practices for ABS Student Persistence & Completion: Findings From Research on Oregon's ABS Students