Data & Research EVALUATION OF PROGRAMS
Evaluation Standards and Performance Indicators for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program

Section 106 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to establish evaluation standards and performance indicators for the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program that include outcome and related measures of program performance. Two evaluation standards were published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 5, 2000 (34 CFR Part 361).

Each year, state VR agencies must report program performance data to RSA by December 1st (60 days after the end of the fiscal year). RSA has established minimum levels of performance for each performance indicator. State agencies that fail to meet these performance levels must develop a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) outlining specific actions to be taken to improve program performance. RSA also provides technical assistance to those state agencies that perform below the established performance levels.

For each Standard and Indicator, separate tables are provided for:

  • General/Combined Agencies (G/C), which are either agencies serving all individuals with disabilities in the state, or agencies serving all individuals with disabilities except those who are blind or visually impaired; and
  • State Agencies for the Blind (B), which are agencies that provide services only for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Due to the nature of the populations served, performance levels are usually different for general/combined agencies and for those agencies exclusively serving the blind or visually impaired. In addition, two fiscal years data are used to compute the six performance indicators of standard 1 for those agencies serving exclusively blind and visually impaired.

The two standards and their associated indicators follow as well as possible factors affecting poor performance. The factors are not meant to be all-inclusive because rarely is a single factor the cause of poor performance in one or all indicators.

Also, a particular factor could be helpful or detrimental depending upon the situation. For example, lengthy durations in the VR process could be considered a detriment to an efficient successful employment outcome, but there are instances when a lengthy VR process is appropriate and should be encouraged, such as when an individual is obtaining a post-secondary degree.

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Standards and Indicators Query Tool

Starting with Fiscal Year 2010, Standards and Indicators are stored on the RSA website. The site provides the capability of querying the data for multiple years (from 2004 to the most recent data), and downloading the entire dataset, or states of your choosing.

To run the interactive tool, visit https://rsa.ed.gov/ad-hoc-query.cfm?tbl=vw_standards_and_indicators.

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Prior Year Data

To view tables of agency performance for Fiscal Year 2009 and earlier, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.

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Evaluation Standard 1 Assesses VR's Impact on Employment

Standard 1 includes six performance indicators, three of which are primary indicators:

To achieve successful performance on standard 1, state VR agencies must meet or exceed four of the six performance indicators in the evaluation standard, including meeting or exceeding the performance levels for two of the three primary indicators. The three primary indicators are indicators 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5.

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Evaluation Standard 2 Assesses Equal Access Opportunity for Individuals of All Groups and Backgrounds

Standard 2 includes one performance indicator: Minority Background Service Rate

To achieve successful performance on standard 2, state VR agencies must meet or exceed the performance level established for performance indicator 2.1.

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Performance Indicators

Performance Indicator 1.1 — Change in Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.1 is the difference between the number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the current performance period and the number of individuals exiting the VR program who achieved an employment outcome during the previous performance period.

The performance level for indicator 1.1 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: Equal or Exceed Previous Performance
  • Agencies for the Blind: Equal or Exceed Previous Performance

Factors affecting performance of this indicator might be the State economy, an increase or decrease in the number of applicants, a change in the make up of the agency's caseload, e.g. the significance of disability of individuals served, a change in the number of counselors, and others discussed in indicator 1.2.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 1.2 — Percent of Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.2 is the percentage of individuals exiting the program during the performance period who have achieved an employment outcome after receiving services.

The performance level for indicator 1.2 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: 55.8%
  • Agencies for the Blind: 68.9%

Since the denominator in the calculation is the sum of all individuals who received services including those who did not achieve an employment outcome at program exit, factors, such as counselor/consumer contact, appropriateness of employment plans, and the quality of job development come into play as well as those discussed for indicator 1.1.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 1.3 — Competitive Employment Outcomes

Indicator 1.3 measures the percentage who exit the VR program in employment in integrated settings with or without ongoing support services, self-employment, or BEP (Business Enterprise Program) employment with hourly rate of earnings equivalent to at least the federal or state minimum wage rate, whichever is higher, based on all the individuals exiting the program who have achieved an employment outcome after receiving services.

The performance level for indicator 1.3 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: 72.6%
  • Agencies for the Blind: 35.4%

The number of individuals with competitive employment outcomes is used for the remaining three indicators.

As in indicator 1.1 and 1.2, the state economy has an effect on the results of these indicators. Providing adequate training to individuals served to achieve competitive employment at the state minimum wage or higher is an important contributor for VR agencies to succeed in this indicator. Another important factor is an emphasis of VR agencies in placing individuals in appropriate positions meeting their needs and desires that compensate the individual at or above the state minimum wage.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 1.4 — Significance of Disability

Indicator 1.4 is the percentage of those individuals identified in Indicator 1.3 who have significant disabilities.

The performance level for indicator 1.4 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: 62.4%
  • Agencies for the Blind: 89.0%

This indicator's results reflect the level of significance of disability served by VR agencies. Agencies at risk of failing this indicator may need to target those individuals with higher levels of significance of disabilities. Because individuals receiving Social Security benefits as a result of their disabilities are presumed to be significantly disabled, VR agencies serving a higher proportion of those individuals are less likely to experience problems with achieving the performance level of this indicator.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 1.5 — Earnings Ratio

Indicator 1.5 is the ratio of the average hourly earnings of all individuals in competitive employment to the average hourly earnings of all employed individuals in the state.

The performance level for indicator 1.5 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: .52
  • Agencies for the Blind: .59

This ratio means that VR consumers served by general/combined agencies who achieved competitive outcomes are earning, on the average, at least 52 cents for every dollar earned hourly by all employed individuals in the state and blind agency consumers earn at least 59 cents for every dollar.

In most instances, VR agencies in states with high average wage rates have more difficulty passing this indicator than do those in states with lower average wage rates. Training services to individuals be they vocational or post-secondary contribute significantly to improving the results of this indicator. The RSA VR longitudinal study confirmed the fact that better-trained consumers obtain better-paying positions.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 1.6 — Self-Support

Indicator 1.6 is measured as follows: for those identified in Performance Indicator 1.3, the difference in the percentage of individuals who at program entry reported their income as the largest single source of support, and the percentage that reported their personal income as the largest single source of support at program exit.

The performance level for indicator 1.6 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: 53.0
  • Agencies for the Blind: 30.4

A consumer mix including a high proportion of individuals employed at application would make it harder to pass this indicator. Conversely, an agency with a high proportion of supported employment outcomes would also be challenged to pass this indicator because supported employment jobs rarely pay enough for self-support.

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.


Performance Indicator 2.1 — Minority Background Service Rate

The ratio of the percent of individuals with a minority background to the percent of individuals without a minority background exiting the program who received VR services.

The performance level for indicator 2.1 is:

  • General and Combined Agencies: .80
  • Agencies for the Blind: .80

To view tables of agency performance, click on one of the Fiscal Years listed below.

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Last Modified: 01/16/2014