Dev Ed/ABE Toolkit

A Toolkit for Forming and Sustaining Dev Ed and ABE Partnerships: Enhancing Student Success

This resource was created by the MDE-ABE Northwest Transitions Region with contributions by successful Minnesota State Developmental Education partnership practitioners from across Minnesota.

Publication Year: 2021

Target Audience: Adult Basic Education Educators, Campus Faculty, College and ABE Administrators, Regional Directors, and anyone with Developmental Education reporting responsibility


Nationwide, colleges are designing and piloting strategies to accelerate students’ progress through developmental education (Dev Ed, see Glossary) and into college-level coursework. And while many practices are gaining traction with practitioners and policymakers, there is still a long way to go to close the equity gap or to have more institutions adopt practices that overcome the current practices barriers.

Furthermore, in 2017, the Minnesota legislature passed legislation that required the Minnesota State Board of Trustees to prepare a plan to reform developmental education offerings at all 37 system campuses aimed at reducing the number of students placed into developmental education. The Developmental Education Strategic Roadmap (DESR) outlines Minnesota State’s plan for re-imagining and redesigning developmental education to significantly increase the success of all students in developmental education and college-level gateway courses towards an increase of overall college degree, certificate, or diploma completion. [Source: Developmental Education Strategic Roadmap]

Each campus in the Minnesota State system is uniquely responsible for implementing the changes needed in developmental education to meet the goals of the DESR listed above. One methodology has emerged at various Minnesota State institutions in the past several years demonstrating significant improvement in the success of students in dev ed and college-level gateway courses. The model utilizes collaborative teaching models involving development education faculty and adult basic education instructors.

However, until now, there has not been a readily accessible means for people across the state interested in learning how to implement such a model, to learn from others already experienced who are doing the collaborative work. These experienced individuals have brought their own unique talents to the dev ed process, in pursuit of improving student success in ways that help increase student confidence to complete the course, their program, and to gain the skills needed for college readiness and job searching.

Benefits and Uses

This Toolkit serves as a useful resource to help train and support campuses and Adult Education programs in a simplified, straightforward way, providing ideas and resources for beginning a Dev Ed/ABE partnership, even if it begins with just one course.

This toolkit has been developed specifically for practitioners within the Minnesota State system and Minnesota Adult Basic Education (ABE). However, the practices and information contained in this Toolkit should assist anyone regardless of their campus or Adult Education program location. Feel free to use the toolkit in whatever way works best for your environment.

The Dev Ed/ABE collaborative teaching model has emerged at various Minnesota State institutions in the past several years, demonstrating significant improvement in the success of students in dev ed and college-level gateway courses.

What’s in the Toolkit

Much of the content has been authored by subject matter experts throughout Minnesota and will reflect the voice of both campus faculty and/or administrators, and ABE instructors and/or ABE program managers. You will find descriptions of each chapter at the bottom of this page.

The Toolkit is currently being finalized, but you can access the draft document now:

Chapter 1

Context and Introduction to the Dev Ed/ABE Model

This chapter provides the context and an introduction to the Dev/ED ABE Model, discusses proven success to date of existing Minnesota partnerships, names the most prevalent barriers to forming partnerships, identifies best practices common to all successful partnerships, makes a distinction in roles between the college faculty member and the ABE instructor, and discusses the relationship of the Dev Ed/ABE model to equity.

Chapter 2

Creating a Dev Ed/ABE Partnership

This chapter includes such things as how to get started, finding administration support, which classes lend themselves best to partnering, selecting faculty and instructors to partner together, the need to define roles, the importance of advance planning, how partnerships evaluate themselves and tweak things over time, and the documenting of results.

Chapter 3

Types of Partnership Models/Levels of Collaboration

This chapter outlines the various forms of teaching in a partnership, listing what we are calling the levels of partner integration, from shallower, or a lighter touch ABE presence, to a deeper one, where ABE has a more integrated role with dev ed students, allowing for a greater amount of tailored and contextualized learning (see Glossary).

Chapter 4

Success Stories from the Field

The Stories from the Field chapter is where you can read how four of the existing Dev Ed/ABE Partnerships in Minnesota got started, which classes are involved, how they are funded, the level of integration between Dev Ed and ABE instructors, and read their thoughts on their success and ability to sustain the partnership over time.