Achieving Adult Education Program Quality: A Review of Systematic Approaches to Program Improvement
The authors provide a background of how quality efforts in adult education evolved and discuss the significance of the National Literacy Act of 1991 and the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Case studies and systematic program practices of three state-level initiatives in Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont are provided. Oregon utilizes a change process known as ‘AIDDE’, which includes Analyzing, Identifying, Developing, Documenting, and Evaluating. Tennessee’s approach is based on the systematic program improvement framework of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Vermont has implemented the Equipped for the Future (EFF) model which uses a standards-based approach to program improvement. Commonalities across these three studies are highlighted. Ziegler and Bingman also discuss implications for practice, policy, and research in adult education.
Achieving Adult Education Program Quality is a useful resource for understanding the history behind program accountability for the federally-funded Adult Education and Literacy System, and for understanding the shift from Program Quality Indicators (PQI) to performance outcome measures. The resource presents three case studies of states that use program improvement processes for improving quality in adult education programs. These case studies are useful for anyone seeking to understand some of the similarities and differences of these efforts among states.
The authors draw upon seminal works in the field to base their discussions, including works based on the Baldrige National Quality Program, Equipped for the Future, the National Reporting System, as well as founding legislation.
While the authors give very rich, useful information and comparisons throughout the resource, the implications for research and policy seem rushed. However, this resource should be used as a beginning, a springboard to continue conversations on improving program quality and accountability in adult education, including ways to improve the NRS.