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To Help More Adult Learners Earn High School Equivalency Certificates, McGraw-Hill Releases New Version of EMPower Plus for Math

By improving numeracy in adult learners, EMPower Plus helps address a critical area of need in the U.S., where only one out of 12 adults scores at the highest numeracy level

NEW YORK - November 10, 2015 - For many people seeking to improve their career prospects, a high school diploma is the first stop on the pathway to prosperity. But an increasing number of adults and adolescents without a high school diploma are struggling to obtain one, according to the latest high school equivalency test data, which shows that fewer and fewer adults taking these assessments pass them. For these individuals, math is proving to be the biggest roadblock of all, with the math portion of most high school equivalency assessments having the lowest pass rate of all subjects.

This issue reflects a larger numeracy gap among Americans. According to research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), approximately 36 million U.S. adults are not proficient in literacy or numeracy, and the U.S. ranks 22 out of 24 countries in numeracy. OECD researchers found links between basic skills in literacy and numeracy and improved employment outcomes, as well as physical and emotional well being.

To address this issue, McGraw-Hill today announced the release of several products that help adult and adolescent learners develop foundational skills and conceptual understanding for literacy and numeracy. This includes its new version of EMPower Plus(, a mathematics program aligned with Career and College Readiness Standards for adult education.

"Low numeracy rates hold U.S. adults back and leave them financially vulnerable," said Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill's School group. "With EMPower Plus, we're recognizing a need for stronger math content and instructional materials that help adult learners earn a high school equivalency credential and obtain family-sustaining careers."

EMPower Plus builds the conceptual foundation necessary for students to succeed on the mathematics portion of high school equivalency exams, and teaches the math skills needed to excel in 21st century careers. To individualize the learning experience, educators can combine EMPower Plus with ALEKS, McGraw-Hill's adaptive learning platform for math, to meet each learner where he or she needs to be met in order to develop their skills efficiently and effectively.

The updated EMPower Plus includes:

  • Three enhanced titles (Everyday Number Sense, Split It Up, and Using Benchmarks) that focus on developing higher-order thinking skills and mathematics application
  • Four titles that include hands-on learning activities to improve foundational understanding of mathematics concepts
  • An easy-to-follow instructional plan based on the three new titles
  • An online professional development platform for instructors featuring a step-by-step implementation plan and a live discussion board that fosters collaboration and sharing of best practices for users of EMPower

"When adults take the courageous step to return to the classroom, they deserve the highest quality experience possible, one that respects their styles, intuitions, and experiences and one that acknowledges the roles they play as community members, workers and parents," wrote the late Mary Jane Schmitt, co-author of EMPower Plus and co-founder of the Adult Numeracy Network at TERC.

"EMPower has helped thousands of non-traditional adult learners study the mathematics people need to become more successful in their personal, professional, and civic lives," adds Donna Curry, another of EMPower's co-authors at TERC.

In addition to EMPower Plus, McGraw-Hill offers several comprehensive education products specifically designed for adult learners and instructors at every level.

McGraw-Hill is dedicated to improving numeracy among learners. To learn more about how to solve our numeracy crisis and improve mathematics performance, attend our free webinar on Thursday, Nov. 12 by registering at

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK-12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

About TERC

For more than forty years, TERC has been introducing millions of students throughout the United States to the exciting and rewarding worlds of math and science learning. Led by a group of experienced, forward-thinking math and science professionals, TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities. Learn more at

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853