Adult education

Preparing people for education, work and life

If you're an adult or family education program, Excel Together West Virginia can help your organization and the people that you serve.

Our CSM Course is short-term, practical, supportive, and leads to the CSM Certificate, which earns college math credit, certifies employability skills, and is recognized by employers. CSM includes deep remediation, so even those who have struggled academically all their lives are able to complete the course.

If your program already provides CSM to clients, you may want to visit the Adult Education Resources page, which provides information on:

  • how to interest students in CSM
  • how to start students on CSM
  • how to help students obtain college credit and hiring preferences from employers
  • how to handle students who are unemployment insurance claimants
  • how to join the adult education CSM Community of Practice held monthly
  • learn how to become a Certified CSM Coach
  • how to find resources for creating flyers and other marketing material for CSM
  • how to work with employers interested in providing CSM to their workers

CSM builds High Performance skills

Excel Together West Virginia brings the state together around an online, self-paced training program called the CSM Course that teaches High Performance skills that form the basis for success in school, college, work, and life:

  • college-level quantitative reasoning and professional literacy
  • problem-solving mindsets and strategies
  • learning agility
  • intention to excel, supported by attention to detail and persistence
  • and, most importantly, self-efficacy -- a person's belief in their ability to succeed at whatever they put their mind to.

Self-efficacy enjoys a consensus in educational psychology and organizational development as the most important factor in performance in both work and academic contexts -- knowing you can succeed leads to persistence, and persistence to learning and performance.

CSM is different

Inside CSM is a next-generation personalized learning engine that focuses on a person's learning strategies and mindsets, their behaviors, and how they feel about themselves. As these personal factors develop, participants build the ability to learn the math, literacy and problem solving on their own.

Some aspects of CSM give a sense of its difference from conventional courses:

  • CSM builds attention to detail by requiring 100% as the only passing score on mainly fill-in-the-blank questions -- this also develops a belief in participants that they are capable of A-level work.
  • CSM develops persistence by monitoring student frustration levels and collaborating with coaches to transform it into persistence.
  • CSM improves learning strategies and mindsets by observing participant learning to devise personalized interventions.
  • CSM enhances students' numerical intuitions and way of interacting with the world by focusing on mental math and estimation skills that the large majority of 4-year college graduates lack.
  • CSM builds robust problem solving with problems involving complex multi-step problems, often with information that is incomplete or hidden in memos written at the college level.

The CSM Certificate has concrete benefits for college and career building

College Credit

The CSM Certificate earns college credit that satisfies the general education math credit for associate degrees across the state and a bachelor's degree at WVU and many colleges across the country, so students can enter college with their math requirement in the rearview mirror. College math is the major academic cause for stopping-out in college, and one of the major concerns for people considering college, so earning a CSM Certificate improves both college access and completion.

Adult education analog to dual/concurrent enrollment

Dual and concurrent enrollment programs (earning college credit while in high school) are one of the most successful strategies for college access, but their cost and the logistics of hiring college-level instructors make them inaccessible to community programs, and most program require students to have placed into college programs. None of these issues applies to CSM.

CSM opens the opportunity for community programs to provide this critical college credit inexpensively and with our own instructors.

Career Readiness

Excel Together West Virginia has partnered with Workforce West Virginia, the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, and other business and industry associations to gain employer recognition of the CSM Certificate for use in hiring. Unlike Industry-Recognized Credentials, which by definition are for a limited number of positions in a single sector, the CSM Certificate will gain preferences for many jobs across a wide range of industries -- the High Performance skills are "transferable" employability skills.

The skills certified by the CSM Certificate are the ones that West Virginia employers are most excited about - the most important skills (and the ones hardest to assess in hiring) are learning agility, attention to detail, and problem solving, which all rank higher than job-specific skills and algebra (survey of West Virginia Manufacturers Association, 2023).

CSM improves math and literacy

CSM's focus on High Performance competencies including independent learning, persistence, attention to detail, and self-efficacy does NOT mean that it stints on academic learning.

A national study of educational technology with adult learners (and mainly opportunity youth) found that CSM had the largest math and literacy gains compared to gold-standard programs like ALEKS from McGraw-Hill and MyFoundationsLab from Pearson,

Most educational technology increases the skills gap, because it allows advanced students to accelerate while struggling students fall further behind (see, for example, the Pearson results). With CSM, the opportunity youth did far better than classroom instruction. Furthermore, the effect size in math was 0.5, which translates to roughly 2 grade levels of improvement over classroom instruction!

A streamlined pathway to college

Few make it thorugh the conventional path

The road to a college degree is daunting for many West Virginians, and one of the scariest pieces is the general education college math requirement. Looking at the diagram, to fulfill the requirement, a high school dropout with 4th to 6th grade math skills would need to:

  • take a HiSET (high school equivalency) course, and then take the HiSET test -- most will fail the first time and have to take the course multiple times,
  • then take the ACCUPLACER or ACT college placement test -- most will place into developmental education,
  • then take multiple semesters of developmental education,  
  • then take the required college math course - about half would fail, and need to retake the course

Only after all of this would they be ready to take the healthcare or IT courses that they came to college for! Just a few percent of students ever will complete these hurdles.

Note that nearly half of high school graduates have 4th to 6th grade math skills, who then have to face all of these hurdles except for the HISET test.

CSM's streamlined path eliminates these hurdles

With Excel Together West Virginia, anyone can fulfill their college math requirement at many colleges simply by taking CSM! All colleges in the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and West Virginia University (WVU) accept the CSM Certificate as math credit that satisfies the general education math requirement for an associate or bachelor's degree. CSM is designed with built-in deep remediation and is extraordinarily supportive. This transforms college access and completion for both students and adults across the state.

And while dual credit is a powerful means of opening college for high school students, it is unavailable where schools/parents can't afford the cost for college credits, where there is no instructor who is college-qualified instructor, or where the students haven't placed into college -- this encompasses more adult education programs and students. CSM circumvents these issues, opening to adult education programs the opportunity of offering a college math course.


Time and technology

Most students take 25-70 hours to complete CSM, though some may take longer (e.g. if they start with 4th to 5th grade math skills, are English language learners, or have modest learning disabilities). Depending on your program, most of a student's time on CSM can be at home or in an in-person class, and hybrid situations are very effective.

CSM can be taken on any internet-connected device, including smartphones, with modest bandwidth and data plans.


CSM costs $39 per user, but for adults in West Virginia it is free through the Office of Adult Education in the WV Department of Education and through Workforce West Virginia. Look on the How to Take CSM page for information on contacting WV adult education. Note that local adult education sites may not be fully aware of the options for CSM, and if you are having troubles there, call the statewide Adult Education hotline at 800-642-2670.


Coaches help students complete CSM more quickly and happily. If your program clients are adults, coaches are available at no charge through the Office of Adult Education. However, if your clients are still in high school or you would rather use your own coaches, Excel Together West Virginia will arrange for free training of coaches through an online, self-paced course that takes 4-6 hours, and will provide coaches with both support and online tools, also at no charge.

CSM coaches do NOT need to be professional instructors (or have any math instructional background). Coaches are mentors, problem-solvers, and cheerleaders, while students independently learn the math and literacy skills. The best coaches are empathetic and positive people -- many of the volunteers in community organizations can train to become CSM coaches.

Excel Together West Virginia is your partner

We provide extensive free assistance:

  • Planning tools for a well-structured, intentional implementation with a high fidelity of implementation
  • Professional development for your teachers, as well as free next-generation coaching tools and support. For more information on coaching, click here
  • Communications with local employers about the value of CSM, and coordination in organizing internships and other benefits for your students

Career Strategies

The path-breaking Career Strategies course is included with CSM at no additional cost. Instead of focusing just on career choice, the Career Strategies builds an "internal career coach", available throughout a person's life, by teaching career decision-making as a skill.

For more information, click here.

Student at BridgeValley Community and Technical College
CSM was key in changing her life trajectory...

" now I don't have to take any math for my associate’s. Now looking back, I felt like I wasn't deserving of a college degree, because I couldn't get through basic math. I had kinda given up, really. To me, CSM saved me!”  

Click here to read all of Brittany's story...
Past student at Eastern WV Community and Technical College

"And since completing CSM, math is no longer frightening to me... You don’t know how much more comfortable I feel with the knowledge that I learned with CSM."

Click here to learn more about Jon's story...
Coordinators at a YouthBuild charter high school

"How could you ask for a better outcome? So many programs out there promise improved learning outcomes and rarely deliver results. From our point of view as educators and administrators, the CSM program not only delivers excellent outcomes, it gives us the opportunity to have these ongoing small teachable moments with students to help strengthen their basis skills and reasoning abilities."

Click here to learn more about Kim and Sara's experience with CSM

Let's talk!

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