Using Data for Program Improvement April 16 - 20, 2007

Discussion Announcement

Dear Colleagues,
I'm pleased to announce the following Panel Guest Discussion, which will be held during the week of April 16 - 20.

Topic: Using Data for Program Improvement

Guests will discuss the work they have done in using data to improve the quality of adult literacy programming. We will hear about the use of data in small and large programs, as well as at the state and national levels. Panelists are interested in your questions and eager to hear about your use of data, as well as share their own experiences, so please ask questions and share your stories.

Toni Borge is the director of the Adult Education & Transitions Program at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a master's degree in educational administration. Toni is a member of the TESOL task force that is advising the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship, on redesigning the citizenship test that is being piloted in 2007. In May, Toni will present a TESOL Virtual Seminar entitled "Assessment and Learning: Balancing Program Performance and Instruction" in which she will discuss effective ways to manage and balance instruction to meet state and national performance standards.

Dr. Larry Condelli is a managing director of the Adult Education and Literacy Program in the Education and Human Development Division at the American Institutes for Research. His work includes research on adult ESL students, accountability, and conducting professional development and technical assistance for adult educators. He recently directed the What Works Study for Adult ESL Literacy Students, the first large-scale empirical study of the effectiveness of instructional practices for adult ESL
students, and is currently directing a study of the impact of explicit literacy instruction on low-literate adult ESOL learners for the U.S. Department of Education. He is also the project director for the National Reporting System and was instrumental in developing this national accountability system for federally funded adult education and literacy program. Dr. Condelli's other projects include development of a performance-based reading assessment for low-literate adults for the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, funded by the National Center for Educational Statistics. He is a staff development and data consultant for the states of Alabama, California, Georgia and Utah and provides training and technical assistance to adult education staff in several states. Dr. Condelli holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California.

Donna Cornellier is the Project Manager for the student level data system in Massachusetts. In this role, her responsibilities include managing the System for Managing Accountability and Results Through Technology (SMARTT) development team; designing NRS training materials, and providing training and technical assistance to the local programs on using NRS data for program improvement. Presentations included how assessment data is tracked in the student level database and what reports are available to help programs implement the NRS policies. Formerly she was the Director of a local ABE program in Massachusetts. She holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Management.

Ajit Gopalakrishnan is an Education Consultant with the Connecticut State Department of Education's Bureau of Early Childhood, Career and Adult Education. He manages adult education projects in the areas of statewide assessment, data management, program accountability, and technology.

Rosemary I. Matt has recently been appointed to the newly developed position of NRS Liaison for New York State. In this role, her responsibilities include NRS training, data management, and desk monitoring of all New York State programs. Prior to this position, Rosemary has been in education throughout her career, first as a secondary education mathematics teacher for fifteen years and then as the director of the New York State staff development consortium in the mid state.

Karen Mundie has been an adult education professional for over thirty years. She is the associate director of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, a large community-based education organization (42 professional staff members, 550 volunteers, and 2000 students). She is also the director of the Southwest Professional Development Center, where she was the lead trainer in the area of using data for decision-making for three years. Karen is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Adult and Continuing Education (PAACE) and was Pennsylvania's Outstanding Adult Educator for 2005. She holds two masters' degrees from the University of Virginia.

Joanie Rethlake, native Texan, is the state director for adult education for Texas LEARNS, the state office for adult education in Houston, Texas and has responsibility for administering the state's adult education program and directing the technical assistance and professional development offered to adult education and family literacy programs across Texas. Formerly, she was the director of adult education at Harris County Department of Education and past president of the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE).

Sandy Strunk is Program Director for Community Education at Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13. In this role, she provides leadership for several educational programs including Adult Basic Education, the Adult Education Southeast Professional Development Center, Early Reading First, English as a Second Language, Family Literacy, Head Start, Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Education and Workforce Education. Sandy has been an adult education practitioner for over twenty years. She is a past president of the PA Association for Adult Continuing Education, provided leadership to Pennsylvania's adult education program improvement training system for six years (1997 - 2003) and continues to provide leadership for Pennsylvania's family literacy program improvement initiative (SEQUAL). She serves on the advisory board of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and is particularly interested in educational interventions that focus on the family unit. Sandy has a B.S. in education from Lock Haven University and a M.Ed. in Training and Development from Penn State University.

Luanne Teller is the Director of Massasoit Community College's Stoughton ABE (ESOL) and Transitions to College Programs. She was involved in establishing and developing of both programs. Prior to these positions, she was the Coordinator of an Office Skills Job Training Program, which provided employment skills training to empower women to transition off of public assistance into full-time careers. She holds a degree in secondary education (French and Spanish). She has served on a variety of board and committees, as both a volunteer and elected official. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Plymouth County United Way. She has extensive experience using research data and communicating with a wide range of constituencies to develop effective program plans, and to promote the commitment to continuous improvement.

Recommended preparations for this discussion

Please use the following guiding questions to help you share how you use data in your program (or classroom), or how you would like to:

  • Do you use data in your program? What type? How? What have been the results?
  • What information (data) would you like to track and why?
  • What data would you like to learn how to use?

Resources of interest:
Using Data Effectively by Donna Cornellier (Power Point Presentation)
This PowerPoint outlines a basic framework for identifying, using, and monitoring data; excellent guiding questions are provided as well as a case study for practicing the application of the framework.

NRS Publications on data

This site has a wealth of resources including the NRS Implementation Guidelines; NRS Tips offering information on building data systems, and setting goals and standards; and Training Guides that provide practical information and tools that can be used to build and use data systems effectively.

Learning to be an NRS Data Detective

This training explores how an effective data detective:

  • Understands the process and psychology of data collection;
  • Examines data including assessment, goal setting, and follow-up data;
  • Asks further questions of the data; and
  • Makes changes in processes and policies to improve data quality and program services.

NRS State and Local Report Cards

Report cards can be a powerful and effective tool for accountability and program improvement if properly used and implemented. There are many types of report cards, but for the purposes of NRS, our focus is on report cards that assess performance. Report cards that allow meaningful evaluation have the following characteristics:

  • Include outcome and other data,
  • Provide a basis for evaluation of that data, and
  • Present contextual data or interpretive information that aid interpretation and promote understanding.

Report cards can be used in several different ways to

  • Evaluate program quality,
  • Promote program improvement, and
  • Inform and advocate for the program.

Marie Cora
NIFL Assessment Discussion List Moderator

Coordinator, LINCS Assessment Special Collection

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