COVID-19 Response Rapid Research

Our Work

In March 2020, efforts to slow the pace of the COVID-19 pandemic led to community-wide closures and a rapid pivot to emergency remote teaching and learning (ERTL) for students of all ages and settings, including adult basic skills programs. An urgent need to build capacity of programs and staff to serve their communities produced a groundswell of effort across the diverse landscape of adult education providers. While teachers, administrators, and local staff undertook that effort, state staff and national organizations recognized the need to capture the learnings from the spring of 2020 as a means to ready adult education for the challenges ahead.   

The EdTech Center @ World Education convened researchers leading studies on the field’s response to COVID-19 in a Technical Working Group (TWG), where they analyzed their collective research efforts.  The brief resulting from this effort captures shared high-level findings unearthed during a series of synthesis meetings and related activities, including:

  • the role of leadership; the quantity and quality of professional development;
  • strategies for engaging learners together with supporting access to devices, connectivity, and resources;
  • partnership opportunities;  policy and practice challenges; and
  • the learning that is guiding planning for fall 2020 and beyond.

On this page you can read the brief, access the slide deck with high-level findings, learn about the contributors, and access more information on the studies below. 

Rapid Response Technical Working Group Contributors

Organizations involved in the Technical Working Group

Click on each of the “+” symbols to expand the section.

American Institutes Research (AIR)

AIR provided technical support to the EdTech Center in construction of the survey items and conducted preliminary statistical analyses on the survey results.

Contact: Stephanie Cronen

Coalition for Adult Basic Education (COABE)

In April 2020, COABE launched a survey to its members and collected 1,419 responses from a diverse set of practitioners nationwide. 

Key contact: Sharon Bonney

Evidence-Based Adult Education System (E-BAES) - Open Door Collective, Rutgers University, Research Allies for Lifelong Learning

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Report from the Field is the result of two complementary inquiries: 49 practitioners (e.g., administrators, instructional leaders, and teachers) and state staff from 20 states participated in interviews conducted between late April and the third week in May. Findings from the interview data were corroborated by results from the EdTech Center COVID-19 instructional shifts survey; responses were collected from 773 teachers, tutors, and program administrators in June 2020.

Contacts: Alisa Belzer and Margaret Patterson

Newsome Associates

Newsome Associates led the “Adult Learner Survey: Transitioning to Remote/Virtual/Online Learning during the U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic” conducted in June 2020; the research used a convenience sample of 1,064 adult basic skills (including ESL)  learners from 43 states.

Contact: David Rosen

Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN)

OTAN used and continues to use a variety of methods to collect the needs of California educators; from surveys to research.

Contacts: Penny Pearson and Neda Anasseri


ProLiteracy’s “Adult Literacy Program COVID-19 Survey” surveyed 391 practitioners from organizations that provide adult education, literacy, and English language learning in May 2020. In addition to this survey, ProLiteracy held two meetings with approximately 25 member programs (each). Discussion feedback was congruent with survey findings.

Contact: Michele Diecuch

Texas Workforce Commission Adult Education & Literacy and TCALL

Texas Workforce Commission Adult Education & Literacy’s COVID-19 Impact Survey in March 2020 was issued to all Adult Education & Literacy Providers in Texas in an effort to gauge how to best assist ‘the field’ amidst the pandemic and received 177 responses.

Contact: Lori Slayton

Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning (TCALL)

The Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning at Texas A&M University (TCALL) provided hundreds of hours of professional development to Texas practitioners and participated in the construction of the TWC’s COVID-19 Impact Survey.

Contact: Dr. Debra Hargrove

Additional resources

Explore additional research materials and resources from our contributors here.

Share This