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f. Assessing Quality

Describe how the eligible agency will assess the quality of providers of adult education and literacy activities under title II and take actions to improve such quality, including providing the activities described in section 223(a)(1)(B) of WIOA.

Current Narrative:

WIOA common measures along with other measures established by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Community, Technical and Adult Education will be used to assess the quality and performance of the providers. In addition to these measures, the programs will also be evaluated on state established goals for enrollment, overall academic level completions, attainment of high school equivalencies and/or the attainment of a credential deemed valuable by industries in local regional areas and throughout the state of Alabama. Local eligible programs are responsible to meet all programmatic goals and outcomes that are set by the state. Performance outcomes for each provider will meet or exceed the levels of performance for the common measures set forth under WIOA and the measures established by the National Reporting System performance indicators for Title II Adult Education. The effectiveness of grantees in achieving continuous improvement toward meeting the measures will be continuously evaluated. The performance outcome measures shall consist of the following core indicators:

(1) The percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program;

(2) The percentage of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exit from the program;

(3) The median earnings of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exit from the program;

(4) The percentage of program participants who, during a program year, are in an education or training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential or employment and who are achieving measurable skill gains toward such a credential or employment; and

(5) The indicators of effectiveness in serving employers.

Performance Accountability: In addition to the above outcome measures, the ACCS Adult Education Division has established goals for enrollment, academic performance, high school equivalency, and for the number of stackable, industry-recognized certificates and credentials earned by students. Each provider receives their portion of the state goal based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimate of the population 18 and over without a high school diploma and other specialized populations as suggested by the Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation (GOEWT). All aspects of performance goals and expectations for adult education can be visualized and analyzed through the detailed data dashboards and reports in the Alabama Adult Education System for Accountability & Performance (AAESAP) which is Alabama’s version of the federal Management Information System.  Continuous improvement in the implementation of research-based, evidence-based best practices in the field of adult education is an enduring process within the state.

The monitoring and program evaluation process is defined as follows:

Monitoring is the annual, systematic tracking of adult education program implementation. It consists of examining the progress made in the program against the agreed upon goals set forth in the application for funds. Monitoring also provides the opportunity to make constructive suggestions or recommendations. It employs systematic collection of data and on–site observations by providing stakeholders the extent of progress and achievement of objectives, proper and lawful use of funds, and compliance with federal and state level policies and guidelines.  The ACCS, Adult Education Division, is responsible for the development and updating of the monitoring instruments.  A copy of the instruments is provided to local programs annually, and prior to a monitoring visit, so programs can complete self-evaluations. Effective monitoring strategies will involve an observation of program scheduling and creation as it relates to the ever-changing needs of an adult education population group as well as the wrap around services anticipated to help adult learners make workforce-ready progress through these programs.  

Risk Assessment: Review the AAESAP MIS Dashboard provides a real time picture of each grantee in all performance measures.  All grantees are reviewed, at a minimum, annually, either by desktop/virtual or on-site monitoring. Each local program will receive an on-site monitoring review at least once within the grant period.  The order of the monitoring is based on a program performance ranking.  The ranking identifies programs at greatest risk of not meeting program goals, which establishes the monitoring order.

The various methods of evaluation and monitoring can be performance independently and/or a combination thereof, to include:

Desk–top/Virtual Monitoring: Through continuous, routine data collection, review of the MIS performance dashboard, and reports from providers, desk-top monitoring informs state staff how a grantee is performing against expected results.  Structured desk-top reviews are conducted with each local program.  The review is followed by the local program developing a plan for continuous improvement, as a result of observations made during the review.  A follow-up to the improvement plan is made via conference call.  Once the improvement plan has been implemented, the state gauges progression of the plan with a follow-up desk-top/virtual monitoring.

On-Site Monitoring:  Program Management; Recruitment, Orientation and Intake; Retention, Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction; Transition and Support Services; Professional Development; and Program Performance shall be assessed using an ACCS-approved monitoring instrument.

The scope and depth of the evaluation and monitoring visit will be decided and be implemented in a way that allows ACCS/AE to determine the provider’s ability and willingness to meet the intents and purposes of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the requirements of the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS), and this plan. On-site program monitoring will be conducted by ACCS state staff who may be accompanied by a local provider. 

The program’s performance in each area or module of the monitoring tool (which can be found on the “Help/Resources” page of AAESAP) will be rated using the following scale:  

5    Exemplary: Consistently present and could be shared as a model.
4    Accomplished: Present the majority of the time and of generally high quality.
3    Needs Improvement: Present to some degree but lacks quality and consistency.
2    Not Evident: Unable to identify evidence of compliance.  
1    Not Applicable: The question does not apply.

The ACCS shall provide a copy of the documented monitoring report within fourteen (14) business days following the conclusion of the visit.  The local provider shall respond within fourteen (14) business days of receiving ACCS’s written report. The written evaluation and monitoring report will address specific findings and observations.

⦁    Findings:  Discoveries that are deviations from, or non-accomplishment of, those details or stipulations that impair the accomplishment of the intent and purposes of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, this plan, or initiatives directed by the Chancellor.  Findings require a response and a remedy.

⦁    Observations: Discoveries that may help improve those details or stipulations that may help achieve the intent and purposes of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and this plan, thus enhancing continual program improvement.

In some cases, agencies/organizations/institutions may be required to submit a program improvement plan or require additional monitoring such as:

⦁    Targeted Monitoring:  Targeted monitoring is performed to follow-up and verifies the satisfactory completion of findings identified during the performance of on-site monitoring.  ACCS officials shall conduct a targeted monitoring visit after receipt of the provider’s response addressing findings.  The targeted visit shall be at a time when the provider has had time to implement and evaluate the remedy.  Described measures, such as indicators of program quality, ensure that program services and activities take into account the findings of program reviews and evaluations.
Technical Assistance: A relationship between the ACCS/AE, contracted expert, or a local adult education director/teacher that posessesses specific technical/content knowledge and who provides information to address an identified need of a local adult education provider.  
⦁    Technical Assistance goals are designed to utilize recognized ‘best practices” by adult education programs or individuals seeking answers to specific questions or problems identified during monitoring or evaluation visits. 

⦁    Technical Assistance relationships are program-focused, and may use an interactive, on-site/hands-on approach as well as telephone or email assistance. 

⦁    Technical Assistance delivery is generally short in duration and usually takes place as result of findings during monitoring or evaluation, or a request from a local provider, or as a result of policy changes.     

The State of Alabama has assigned a professional development team with the task of preparing a professional development plan. This plan will address the following needs of the State of Alabama Adult Education Program:

* Assimilate relevant common core and career pathway curriculum

* Create a compendium of best instructional practices to increase student learning and retention

*Create an online learning program that can be utilized throughout the State

*Train local programs in relevant curriculum, best instructional practices and online learning programs

* Create an in-house tracking program for local professional development activities

* Create a state-wide tracking program for State led professional development activities

* Continue to assist with the yearly State led conference

* Provide an online resource to LINCS and other relevant Adult Education instructional offerings

Alabama Adult Education will use five critical levels of assessment to evaluate professional development at the local and State level: Participant reaction, Participant’s learning, Organization Support and Change, Participants use of new knowledge and skills, and Student learning outcomes. A critical assessment tool will be created that highlights and defines more in detail these five critical levels of assessment. This tool will be utilized after every local and state held professional development session.