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Exploring Persistence Factors for Adult Learners’ Return to Basic Education


  • Conor Barker Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Grace Madden St. Francis Xavier University
  • Bonnie Petersen Mount Saint Vincent University




Adult Basic Education, Persistence, Rural Education, Inclusive Practices


Returning to education to complete Grade 12 or improve high school grades after a period away can be an overwhelming and or anxiety inducing event for many students. Upon their return to education, many factors contribute to student persistence relating to completion in Adult Basic Education (ABE). It is essential to understand these factors to ensure student success in these types of programs, particularly in rural areas. The current study samples 12 ABE students through attending a regional college in Southwest Saskatchewan. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and reviewed through thematic analysis to identify barriers and supports in ABE programing. The study found that several supports—including flexibility, class size, and educators—were seen by students as contributing to persistence. Barriers to persistence with ABE centered around three themes: external factors, educational experiences, and personal experiences. The study finds that students in ABE programing are looking for positive relationships with educators and flexible program schedules to accommodate their adult life commitments.

Author Biographies

Grace Madden, St. Francis Xavier University

Bachelor of Education Student

Bonnie Petersen, Mount Saint Vincent University

Doctoral Candidate




How to Cite

Barker, C., Madden, G., & Petersen, B. (2023). Welcome Back: Exploring Persistence Factors for Adult Learners’ Return to Basic Education. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 35(02). https://doi.org/10.56105/cjsae.v35i02.5726