The Department's FY 2016-17 Priority Performance Goals
March 2015

The Department of Education has identified a limited number of priority goals to especially focus on over the next two years. These goals, which will help measure the success of the Department's cradle-to-career education strategy, reflect the importance of teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. These goals are also aligned with the Department's five-year Strategic Plan and will be used to regularly monitor and report progress. The goals will be helpful too, as we respond to and consider signature legislation that impacts our work, such as the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). To view information on all Department programs, please visit www.ed.gov.

Guiding Principle: Using Evidence to Drive Improvements in Policies and Programs

The effective implementation of the Department's priority and strategic goals will depend, in part, on the effective use of high-quality and timely data, including evaluations and performance measures, throughout the lifecycle of policies and programs. The Department is committed to increasing the number of programs and initiatives that are evaluated using methods that include those consistent with the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards, and incorporating cost-effectiveness measures into evaluations and program improvement systems.

Priority Goals

  • Increase college degree attainment in America
    Increase attainment of college degrees by improving affordability, access, and student outcomes. By September 30, 2017, 48.4 percent of adults ages 25–34 will have an associate degree or higher.

  • Federal student aid transparency
    Increase and enhance transparency of information about the student loan portfolio for taxpayers, researchers, and the public. The Department will publish on Federal Student Aid’s Data Center at least 15 new releases of data points or other information reports in 2016 and 2017, resulting in 30 new releases by September 30, 2017.

  • Support implementation of college- and career-ready standards and assessments
    Support implementation of college- and career-ready standards and assessments. By September 30, 2017, all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will be implementing high-quality assessments, aligned with college- and career-ready standards.

  • Increase enrollment in high-quality state preschool programs
    Increase the percentage of children, especially children from low-income families, enrolled in high-quality preschool programs. By September 30, 2017, the percentage of four-year old children enrolled in state preschool programs will increase to 33 percent (representing the 2015–16 school year, increasing from 29.1 percent in the 2013–14 school year). By September 30, 2017, the number of state preschool programs meeting high-quality benchmarks will increase to 19 states (representing the 2015–16 school year, increasing from 15 in the 2013–14 school year).

  • Ensure equitable educational opportunities
    Improve high school graduation rates and decrease gaps in graduation rates between all students and students from low-income families, through comprehensive school and instructional improvement strategies such as the equitable distribution of effective teachers and rigorous coursework in low-income schools. By September 30, 2017, the national high school graduation rate will increase to 85 percent, and the gap in the graduation rate between all students and students from low-income families will decrease to 7.4 percent. By September 30, 2017, the number of high schools with persistently low graduation rates will decrease by 10 percent and the number of schools that do not have a gap or have decreased the gap between all students and students from low-income families by 5 percent or more will increase by 3 percent.

  • Enable evidence-based decision making
    Increase use and generation of credible evidence on what works and what does not work in education. By September 30, 2017, the Department will increase to 20 percent the percentage of new competitive grant dollars that support evidence-based strategies. By September 30, 2017, the Department will increase by 20 the number of Department-funded project evaluations that provide credible evidence about what works in education.

For more information on the Department's FY 2016-17 Priority Goals, please go to www.Performance.gov.

Last Modified: 03/30/2016