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This paper explores the theoretical basis and past research exploring what helps adults to learn effectively in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) setting. Information on eleven ABE-to-college transition programs was compiled through the Adult Transitions Longitudinal Study (ATLAS) data collection. Statistical analyses of the resulting program-level variables were conducted to examine their effect on transition course participants’ college outcomes. Four of the twelve variables analyzed were found to significantly impact the likelihood of participants enrolling in college and successfully earning at least three credits: 1) whether the program uses grades versus pass/fail marks; 2) whether the program has a documented student life skills course component; 3) whether the program assigns participants a mentor (either a staff member or past transition program graduate) and; 4) whether the transition course teacher(s) provide(s) students with high or low levels of written feedback on their homework and essays. This evidence may help transitions programs and educators to understand and emphasize the components of ABE-to-college courses that have the most impact on student persistence in higher education.