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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Jan Heying, Heying & Associates

Adult schools, college join to align 100+ courses to smooth college transition

The Challenge

The Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) was created to address the challenge of ensuring a smooth transition between the adult schools, Palomar College and the workplace to the benefit of students in the Education to Career Network of North San Diego County consortium. This project allowed adult education teachers and college faculty to come together and analyze each other’s curriculum to not only find similarities between them, but to also discover any gaps that would prevent or hinder students’ success in transitioning from an adult school to college. Some of the initial challenges of this project dealt with scheduling of the meetings to fit everyone’s needs and in getting all faculty to understand the need for alignment, especially between the adult schools and college.

The Solution

Nearly 40 faculty members from the adult schools and Palomar College were divided into their discipline teams to examine courses in detail. Using uniform templates, they were able to document which of their courses were similar enough in content and skills learned to be declared aligned. This allows for easier transitions for students, from one adult school to another, and from adult school to college. This time was used to build trust between faculty, which was accomplished through the establishment of common goals developed together. A matrix was created displaying which courses were aligned, thus preventing students from having to retake classes after transitioning, and allowing them more geographical choices within the consortium.


More than 106 individual courses from eight separate disciplines achieved alignment with one or more similar courses from other schools, or with Palomar College. This created 40 multi-course alignments (2 or more courses aligned) across the consortium. Furthermore, Escondido Adult School, Poway Adult School and Vista Adult School have been able to articulate 14 courses with Palomar College, and have 13 other courses in the queue currently seeking an articulation agreement. The Curriculum Alignment Project helps strengthen the bonds between the adult schools and Palomar College, increasing the likelihood that adult school students will continue their education and proceed even further within their career path, and become life-long learners.

The Data

To further measure the impact of this project, the consortium is collecting and analyzing data to narrow in on what works and what areas can be improved upon. Data pieces, such as comparing test scores and grades across participating schools, collecting student and educator feedback, following up with transfer students on the ease of transition, and monitoring career and postsecondary outcomes at each site will be collected.

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