Program quality and accountability plans and procedures
WEST ABE is comprised of 17 school districts, all of which are subgrantees of the fiscal agent in Monticello. None of the three county jails, CareerForce nor the private businesses receive adult basic education state or federal funding dollars.
To ensure that the consortium is in compliance with state and federal law and policy, all business, related to implementation of the grant, runs through the fiscal office in Monticello and under direct supervision of the Fiscal Agent and Program Manager. The Program Manager, with input from the Management Team, oversees:
- Instructional programming throughout the consortium to include uniform guidelines and policies and procedures addressing student intake, orientation, assessment and all state and federal reporting of contact hours and student outcomes.
- Professional development, ensuring staff is well-trained and are active participants in state, local and regional trainings intended to hone effective adult learning and teaching methods.
- Collaboration with business and industry, higher education and employment training agencies. The WEST ABE program manager also represented Adult Basic Education on the Workforce Development Board (WDB) for seven years, as ABE representation is required per Board policy.
- Implementation of policies and procedures to ensure accurate and timely submission of WEST’s outcomes, fiscal reports and performance data.
- Organization, coordination and application of cooperative agreements with resources to address the needs adults have for services such as transportation, childcare, English language learning, services for the deaf and blind, students with disabilities, integrating technology and utilizing volunteers in the classroom. This is done mainly by using the state-approved supplemental service providers that provide resources for students success. WEST has two volunteer training sessions annually in the spring and fall and Literacy Minnesota provides trainings in professional development, volunteer training, distance learning, educational technology, disabilities, assessment, workforce collaborations and program quality.
- Development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the local workforce development center, now called CareerForce, that outlines how the adult basic education program and the CareerForce will collaborate and coordinate services to clients to assure programming in not duplicated.
Performance data is essential to program outcomes and it’s accurate collection and analysis ties directly to our financial sustainability. The foundation of quality performance data starts with well-trained teachers in the classroom. All staff is trained in the importance of keeping accurate data and knows how to assess the students using state-approved assessment tests. Staff is also trained in content standards to define the knowledge and skills adult students need to successfully transition to employment, post-secondary education or training, and/or increased engagement in the community. These content standards define the content and intention of instruction delivered in ABE classrooms and essentially how we design lesson plans. Great effort is made to ensure that the teachers are highly trained and informed. Teachers work independently in their local classrooms and maintain regular contact with the ABE Manger and support staff, including the database specialist. It is our practice to keep teachers trained and up to date on best practices, and policies and procedures related to student orientation, intake, assessment, use of the Student Information Database (SID) for collecting and reporting student contact hours, level changes, achievements and other accepted outcomes.
Upon intake, the teachers collect required information pertaining to student demographics, as outlined by the state, and includes employment status. WEST uses the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) to measure reading or math for academic students and reading for the English language learners. Entry forms are collected monthly or as requested by the Database Specialist. A student profile is created in the SID database and WEST maintains a paper file at the fiscal office. The Program Manager and Database Specialist have administrative access to this database with the teachers having limited access for checking accuracy of student contact hours and assuring correct testing scores.
Performance data is monitored and reported by the teacher and all data is input by the database specialist and a data-entry secretary. WEST has made the conscious decision to dedicate all entry into SID by the Database Specialist and the data entry secretary to avoid errors. The Database Specialist monitors each class and notifies teachers of missing information, attendance issues, pre- and post-testing reporting and timelines, measurable skills gains, outdated or invalid assessment scores and lets teachers know when their students are approaching the 40-hour mark for post-testing and all follow-up and outcome achievement.
Program data is submitted electronically to the Minnesota Department of Education by June 1st annually. A copy of the End of Year Program Report, complete with NRS outcomes and enrollment data is shared annually with instructional staff as well as other stakeholders. This includes the Management Team – who share it with superintendents, the Executive Director of CareerForce and county jail captains, giving them an overview of what ABE outcomes were achieved and the program data for their site from the year. Performance measures are shared with teachers, at minimum, bi-monthly, to assure we are on target to succeed.