Oregon Family Literacy Logo

Features of the Landscape   Overview

Section Tab 1
Development of the Icon
Section Tab 2
What is Outcomes-Based Instruction?
Section Tab 3
What Initiatives Have Influenced an Outcomes-Based Design?
Section Tab 4
What Adults Do: Constructing Role Maps  
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Development of the Icon    Triangle and circle symbol

One of the tasks early in the process of developing this curriculum was to find a way to express what we are doing in a graphical form.

The purpose of this wasn’t just to come up with a snazzy logo, but also to assist in our thinking about ways to express our intended outcomes. We had already determined that the primary areas were roles of Family Member, Community Member and Worker, with strong themes of Personal Development and Cultural Awareness running through all of those three roles.  

We brought several ideas to the table. The tree image was a strong contender. We had apples on a tree, fish swimming in an ocean, and other possibilities. My idea was unfinished and geometric. I saw a triangle representing the three roles superimposed on a circle that would represent Personal Development and 

Cultural Awareness. The Family role would be at the top of the triangle, because that’s the main emphasis of our program.    

Triangle and circle symbol

We worked with and discussed various images for a while, and then Kathleen suggested that the triangle could be a road inside of the circle. Aha! The circle then became the world, with the family walking down the road toward the horizon. I curved the road so we could see it moving across and around the world, and added continents, so that we could represent Personal Development and Cultural Awareness as land and sea, or features of the landscape, as we move forward together. The three primary roles then became lanes, aspects, or areas on the road itself.  

As we worked, we found that we all wanted to show forward motion, growth and learning. For me personally, the vision of moving forward down the road is a powerful one. Showing the family moving together is important to show the special emphasis and strength of a family literacy program. The various elements of the icon show how the themes and roles are integrated into a coherent whole, resulting in forward movement for the families we work with.

Sylvan Rainwater  

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What is Outcomes-Based Instruction?  

Have you heard of such terms as “performance-based,” “learner-centered instruction” and other related terms? Sometimes synonymous with performance-based is the term “outcomes-based instruction.” In this section, we will define “outcomes-based instruction” and explain what it is not and what it is. We hope this helps you understand the uniqueness of this family literacy curriculum design.


Outcomes-based instruction is a contemporary type of curriculum design that focuses on the relevant, real-life and functional activities and processes of the learner resulting from content knowledge that is taught. It is the result of the much needed curriculum reform movement that is taking place in our schools today.

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What it is NOT!

Outcomes-based instruction moves beyond the traditional approaches of curriculum design. Historically, curriculum design has followed along one of two frameworks:  

Content-based Curriculum

Emphasis is on topics to be covered, textbooks read, and memorization of facts, with mastery shown exclusively through tests.


Competency-based Curriculum

Emphasis is on the demonstration of small, minute tasks or competencies by the learner that converts to a grade or educational promotion. Such tasks are often disconnected and lack any relation to real-life activities.






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What Outcomes-Based Instruction IS!  

Often referred to as the “learner-centered” approach to curriculum design, an outcomes-based approach poses questions about where the learner “ends” as the result of instruction, rather than where the learner “begins” as in the case of content and competency-based designs. The traditional approaches tend to be highly teacher-directed, whereas the outcomes-based design is more learner-centered. 

Outcomes-based instruction poses four basic questions to the teacher.  

What do the learners need to DO in real-life situations that we as teachers are responsible for in the class?

The design of all instruction centers on learners engaging in meaningful tasks, projects, and products that require synthesis of understanding and skill development.


What can students do to DEMONSTRATE a level of proficiency in the outcome?

Assessment of content is demonstrated, not through tests, but rather through projects and products that are meaningful to the learner or that have application to real life.

What skills must be LEARNED by the student to demonstrate proficiency in the outcome?

Emphasis is on the process of learning over the content. What processes and activities will the teacher design and what skills will the learner need to develop to demonstrate proficiency that will result in the mastery of the intended outcome?

What concepts, themes, and issues must be UNDERSTOOD to meet the intended outcomes?

What concepts, themes, and issues must be learned in order to do the things described above?

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What Initiatives Have Influenced an Outcomes-Based Design?

From the early 1990’s to the present, there has evolved a set of initiatives and studies that have emphasized the important relationship of literacy education in the context of family, community and work. These initiatives have had a profound influence on the design of the curriculum contained within this Guide.


SCANS (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (1991)


This report was a study conducted to determine what proficiencies and skills need to be learned in order to be successful as a worker. The report states that a core set of foundational skills are necessary: basic skills (reading, writing, math, speaking, listening), thinking skills (decision making, problem-solving), and personal qualities (self-esteem, accountability, integrity). In addition, other factors were found to be critical: knowing how to allocate time, money, resources; interpersonal skills (working in teams, negotiating, communicating effectively); information (acquiring, evaluating data, interpreting and processing information); systems (understanding social, organizational, and technological systems; and using a wide array of technology to process information.



Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act

This Act specifies family literacy as a viable option to meet adult education and literacy needs. One purpose of this act is to “assist adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children.”



Equipped For the Future (EFF*) (1994)









EFF is an initiative of the National Institute for Family Literacy (NIFL). Through the guidance and research efforts of NIFL, EFF has been charged to answer the following question: What is it that adults need to know and be able to do in order to be literate, compete in the global economy, and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?  

EFF sets out to map the terrain of knowing and doing across the three roles of parent and family member, citizen, and worker. Integrated across these three roles are 4 categories of standards focusing on specific skills to carry out the core of activities embedded under these roles: lifelong learning, communication, interpersonal, and decision-making skills.  

These same three roles and standards have been adopted and established as a core framework for the family literacy curriculum contained in this Guidebook.

* See EFF Wheel in Resources Section (p. R-15).  

What Adults Do: Constructing Role Maps

The basic question when redesigning curricula that focuses on the outcomes of the learner is quite simply:

What do adults need to know and be able to “do”?

Similar to the EFF design, the outcomes-based design described in this guide identifies three contexts or terrains within which teaching and learning takes place. A fourth terrain has been added, individual and family Goal Setting, which is to be integrated across all three roles.

It is easier to see the bigger picture of this type of curriculum design when it is presented visually. Maps are an ideal way to show the big picture. On the next page, you will find a visual schematic of what adults need to know and be able to do to fulfill their roles as:

·        parents and family members

·        community members

·        workers


The Family Literacy curriculum designed in this Guide consists of three primary contexts as shown on the next page. Notice also the small ovals connected to each of the three roles. Goal setting is considered to cross all content and discipline roles for adults to succeed in our world today. Drawing it this way helps you to see the over-arching importance of goal setting as a part of the content to be integrated under each role.

Expanded role maps found on the first page of the Program Outcomes section depict the key activities and skills that need to be performed within each respective role. Examine carefully the breadth and depth of such a curriculum design.  

Overview Graphic of Role Map

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