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Check out the Certificate FLYER!

Interested in working with adults or out-of-school youth who struggle with reading, writing, numeracy, and/or English language proficiency?  If so, the online post-baccalaureate ABE Certificate is perfect for you!


The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Certificate is offered via distance learning through the Penn State World Campus. The certificate is a 12-credit certificate that includes three required courses and one elective, which allows you to tailor the program to your specific interests. With the certificate, you can enhance your ability to provide high-quality, research-based instruction in adult basic education, especially literacy and numeracy instruction.


Credits earned through the ABE Certificate program are applicable toward Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education. Further, Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Post-baccalaureate in family literacy may count toward professional development hours.

Required courses:

~ ADTED 460: Introduction to Adult Education: History, methods, agencies, program areas, and problems of adult education in the United States.
~ ADTED 480: Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults: Examines issues of learning math as an adult and explores effective strategies for teaching math and numeracy to adults.
~ ADTED 560: Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults: Reading literacy for adults, including college reading, Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Educational Development (GED) programs.

Elective Courses (choose one):

~ ADTED 470: Introduction to Distance Education
~ ADTED 505: The Teaching of Adults
~ ADTED 506: Program Planning in Adult Education
~ ADTED 507: Research and Evaluation in Adult Education
~ ADTED 531: Course Design and Development in Distance Education
~ ADTED 542: Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory
~ ADTED 575: Administration of Adult Education
~ LDT 415A: Systematic Instructional Development


Recipients of this scholarship will receive a $1200 off tuition that can be used within the academic year.


  • The scholarship will be awarded to an individual in the field of adult basic education and family literacy.

  • The student must be enrolled in one or more of the Goodling Institute’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) Certificate or the Family Literacy (FL) Certificate courses.

  • Preference will be given to an individual enrolled in the ABE Certificate.

  • An individual may apply each year for the scholarship, but preference will be given to an individual who has not received the ABE scholarship previously.

  • An individual is ineligible to reapply for a scholarship if they do not receive the grade of a B or higher in the previous class.

Application Instructions:

  • Complete a Statement of Financial Need: In 500 words or less, explain why you need a scholarship.

  • Email the completed application to Dr. Beth McLean at [email protected].


The Co-Directors of the Goodling Institute and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy shall identify the recipient of this scholarship and award it annually.


Please contact Dr. Beth McLean at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Literacy is critical to obtaining success in life, and the path to literacy must start during a child's early learning and developmental years. Through Family Literacy, families can be guided to enhance children's language and literacy development, become knowledgeable about how support and partner with schools to be their child's first teacher, and also to become successful adult learners.

The Goodling Institute's Family Literacy Certificate is intended to provide students with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, skills, and credentials in the discipline of family literacy, with a focus on effective program planning and implementation and research-based practice. The 12-credit Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Family Literacy integrates research findings and best practice identified through research efforts.


The certificate is offered via distance learning through the Penn State World Campus.


The courses are intended for early childhood educators; elementary and middle school teachers; counselors; parents of home school children; family literacy teachers, staff and administrators; family service professionals; reading specialists; librarians; and adult educators.


Credits earned through the Certificate Program are applicable toward a family-literacy-focused Penn State's Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education. Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Post-baccalaureate in family literacy may count toward professional development hours.

Four Required Courses

ADTED 456: Introduction to Family Literacy (3 credits; fall semester).

ADTED 457: Adult Literacy (3 credits; summer semester).

ADTED 458: Early Literacy Development (3 credits; fall semester).

ADTED 459: Interactive Literacy and Parent Involvement: Supporting Academic Success (3 credits; spring semester). This course focuses on how parents and other caregivers actively engage in home- and school-based activities to support children's language and literacy development and academic success. The course addresses parental involvement in education, educator and parent perspectives of what parent engagement means, interactive parent-child literacy activities, and some of the socio-cultural issues that are implicated in family engagement in language and literacy development.This course is offered during the spring semester.

Graduate School Admission:

  • An applicant must have received, from an accredited institution, a baccalaureate degree substantially equivalent to one awarded by Penn State.
  • The Graduate School reviews the application for academic admissibility and the certificate program determines acceptance into its program.  An admission letter from the Graduate School does not guarantee admission into a certificate program.

To enroll in 400-level courses you must have completed 60 credits of undergraduate work or the equivalent.

Adult Basic Education Certificate

~I think the highlight of this course was having the opportunity to learn from our peers, through group discussions and group projects.
~The class has made me more aware of how numeracy fits into adult education and literacy and has already influenced the way I approach math when planning curriculum.

Family Literacy Certificate

~This course has given me a new perspective on how, as an educator, I need to be more attentive to the needs of the family, not just my students.
~There were so many aspects of literacy and language development that I had no idea how to teach or foster prior to this course.

For additional information about the Certificates, please contact:


Dr. Beth Grinder McLean
[email protected]
(717) 432-3498


To learn more about applying for the Certificate, contact World Campus admissions at 800-252-3592.


Adult Education Certificate

Go to World Campus to Learn More!

Family Literacy Certificate

Go to World Campus to Learn More!