November 11, 2009
provide states with resources to make the necessary changes to align services and improve outcomes across workforce development, postsecondary education, and adult education/English as a Second Language in a career pathway framework.
Update the law to reflect the greatly increased need for English language services and the importance of helping English language learners to succeed in careers and postsecondary education and training by changing the funding formula to include those limited English proficient individuals with high school diplomas. These individuals are eligible for services and states are serving them, but the current formula only includes limited English proficient individuals who lack high school diplomas.
Reestablish an independent national adult education research center. The previous center provided valuable research that helped ensure the field was continually evolving to better meet learners’ needs.
Request an independent review of how Title II’s ―direct and equitable‖ provision has been implemented. The intent of this provision was to ensure that the full range of adult education and English language service providers—including community colleges and community-based organizations—are able to compete equally for funds provided to states under this Title. It appears that some states, however, are not using a fully open and competitive process to distribute federal adult education funds.
, Title II’s data and accountability system, to reflect Title II’s new focus on increasing the rate at which all students attain career and
The National Reporting System (NRS) has led the adult education system to focus more on outcomes, but it is not an effective tool for incenting and documenting continuous improvement, especially toward effective practices for helping students achieve career and postsecondary goals more quickly. Because the NRS strongly influences how states spend Title II funds, if a new goal is set for Title II of increasing the rate at which all students attain career and postsecondary success, then the NRS must also be revised to incent and support changes in state policy and local practice to reach that goal. Currently, the primary focus of the NRS is on academic learning gains, as this is the default measure for students who have not specified a goal; all other core measures are tracked only for students who report a goal related to the measure. Transitions from adult education into employment or postsecondary, for example, are only measured for those who report having such goals when they enter an adult education program. Since few students enter adult education seeing themselves as college material, the number of students for whom transitions are measured is quite small, which has the effect of making postsecondary enrollment rates look much higher than they actually are.
We recommend a phased approach to changing the NRS, starting with changes to the current performance accountability provisions in Title II and over the long run, revamping the system and embarking on an effort to develop common performance measures and standards for the federal programs authorized under the WIA and career and technical education programs authorized under the Perkins Act. (See CLASP’s Recommendations on Cross-Program Performance Accountability.ix)
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