Meeting the Accountability Challenge
SABES Central Resource Center
/ World Education
In this issue of Adventures in Assessment,
practitioners and program directors write about their efforts to
meet the rising federal and state demands for accountability. The
field presently faces layers of challenges: How do we effectively
determine adult learners' capabilities? How do we capture learners'
progress? How can we use data to inform our practice? How do we
construct a system of accountability that examines efforts at the
In an article first written for the ALRI Newsletter,
Steve Reuys sets the stage for us with an overview of the NRS and
SMARTT reporting systems. He proceeds to outline three options regarding
assessment for the field to meet accountability demands.
I contributed an article that I wrote in my previous position
as director of a cluster of volunteer-based literacy programs in
Providence, Rhode Island. I was in the process of figuring out ways
to fit our very non-traditional programming into the federal and
state guidelines mandating certain performance and reporting around
assessment and accountability. This was particularly challenging
in light of the fact that my program was staffed by non-professional
Ten years ago, in the very first issue of Adventures in Assessment,
Janet Kelly wrote about the assessment process developed at the
Read/Write/Now Program in Springfield. Janet writes again, reflecting
on a decade of learning and reflection, and outlines her program's
efforts to involve adult students more fully in programming, and
to use assessment to inform learning and teaching, while still meeting
the demands of funders.
Sally Gabb examines whether setting goals with adult students
is conducted to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts reporting
system, SMARTT, or if goal-setting is engaged with students as a
process for learning.
Chris Hebert and her colleagues at Quinsigamond Community College
share the new ESL placement test they developed to meet the needs
of placing students in SPL levels 7 through 10. Both teachers and
adult learners were involved in this process.
Two articles look at how data collection can inform and improve
program practice, while still satisfying funders and other stakeholders.
Diane Rosenthal gives us an overview of the What Works Literacy
Partnership (WWLP), a nationwide program that brings together 12
adult education programs interested in building their capacity to
collect, manage and analyze data. Carol Gabler and Heidi Fisher
provide a case study of their program's participation in WWLP.
The questions raised in the first paragraph of this introduction
are questions that I have heard practitioners voice across the state.
And as they are asking these tough questions, they are engaging
in research, reflection, questioning, and innovation. It's a challenging,
but exciting time in our field: we must rise and meet that challenge.
Your thoughts and ideas are welcomed and encouraged. If you would
like to submit an article or have comments, please feel free to
contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in Adventures in Assessment,
Volume 13 (Spring 2001),
SABES/World Education, Boston, MA, Copyright 2001.
Funding support for the publication of this document
on the Web provided in part by the Ohio State Literacy Resource
Center as part of the LINCS
Assessment Special Collection.