Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) - SkillBlox Research Team

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, as Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, funds over 1,600 programs each year to provide adults with foundational skills development to improve their literacy, numeracy, and English proficiency, with the goal of strengthening their educational attainment and employment outcomes. As part of foundational skills instruction, the law encourages programs to include instruction that improves adults’ critical thinking, digital literacy and self-management, including competencies in using information, working with others, understanding systems and obtaining skills necessary for successful transition into and completion of postsecondary education, training, or employment.

To support programs in making this shift in instruction, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) of the U.S. Department of Education funded the Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) initiative. OCTAE has been supporting the rollout of TSTM instruction by providing training to master teachers in each state, in coordination with state professional development coordinators. However, it is not clear what elements of the rollout improve outcomes, and educators need additional digital resources to sustain and scale their use of TSTM. The TSTM-SkillBlox research project is designed to address these knowledge gaps.

The TSTM-SkillBlox research team will begin with an exploratory study to understand the context of TSTM implementation to date. They will leverage this information to guide the development of digital educational resources by refining the online SkillBlox platform and working with instructors to increase its content and usability while also aligning content to TSTM. The team will then pilot test the fully developed platform and conduct a cost analysis of TSTM-aligned SkillBlox.