Module 1: Data Collection and Management
This three-hour, self-paced course was designed for use by volunteers, teachers and program administrators in the field of ABE who are interested in learning to use data to improve program services.
Through this course, you will understand how accountability is a key support for program improvement. You will complete a self-assessment of your program's accountability needs, define what your program means by "active student", "dropped student", and other accountability-related terms, identify data quality standards and strong accountability practices for collecting and managing data, identify a minimum of one model program accountability practice you will adapt and implement, and describe how it will support your program’s improvement plan, and draft plans for improving accountability practices within your program that might address data collection, data management, creating a culture of program improvement.
This is a truly amazing resource, just packed with important information as well as useful resources and tools that elucidate the role of data and data management in promoting adult education program improvement. It is a primer that really does capture essential knowledge for program managers and utilizes multiple program-level illustrations to support it; and yet, while the range of that knowledge is (understandably) fairly narrow and well-defined, the authors still manage to “sneak in” some welcomed references to effective approaches to such practices as authentic assessment/student goal identification and quality professional development.
This training resource helps new program leaders, instructors and data staff get up to speed much sooner than if they had to figure out effective data collection, management integrity and the relationship to program improvement out on their own, like many adult educators and program administrators have had to do in the past. The learning curve can be fairly steep for new adult education providers. This training will speed up the learning curve and set the tone for standards!
My sense is that successful completion would require quite a bit of time (more than the course description suggests?), partly because close reading seems necessary yet exhausting! Add on to that completion of the extensive activities (very useful, no doubt), and we’re talking about many hours.
I have one note about content: the point is clearly and repeatedly made that it is critical that instructors and students be engaged in and understand the importance of data collection for improvement. Yet I really wanted to see (in the case studies?) some much more explicit illustration of how these folks might be involved in identifying critical data and clarifying how that data relate to some important aspect(s) of their experience/practice in the adult education context. What really “invests” them in data collection and management? Surely not just me telling my staff over and over how important it is, and surely not just telling students that our program’s funding depends on their test scores! A small complaint about an otherwise very fine product.
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