Adult Education and Literacy
Purpose and Goals
The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIA, Pub. L. 113-128), seeks to increase opportunity in the educational and workforce development of adults as workers, parents, and citizens. While playing a critical role in adult attainment of a secondary school diploma, the program also aims to assist in the transition to postsecondary education and training through the use of career pathways. The goals of OCTAE 's monitoring visits are to:
- Ensure that states meet AEFLA requirements
- Improve the quality of Federally funded activities
- Provide assistance in identifying and resolving accountability problems
- Ensure the accuracy, validity, and reliability of data collection and data reporting as well as policies and procedures for program accountability
States are identified for AEFLA monitoring through a comprehensive risk analysis based on the following factors:
- A lack of monitoring review under AEFLA
- A need for verification of data quality
- Consistent low performance on NRS indicators in several categories
- Prospective noncompliance with grant requirements identified through review of reports or ongoing communications with State offices
- Unresolved audit findings
- Ongoing lack of progress in resolving required actions from prior monitoring visit
- Significant staff turnover in state offices
- Receipt of significant allotment of AEFLA funds
- Recent or imminent State transfer of program governance
The Division of Adult Education's (DAEL's) Monitoring and Administration Team (MAT) plans and implements monitoring visits, leads monitoring teams, prepares monitoring reports for the states, and ensures that Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) are closed in a timely way. MAT's goals are to support the states in implementing a variety of programs and policies that improve access to, and quality of, adult education services; increase adult learner achievement; promote a variety of learning opportunities for students; and assist students in transitioning to postsecondary education, training, or employment.
DAEL staff conduct both full and targeted AEFLA monitoring visits. Full visits are week-long, on-site reviews that address states' AEFLA compliance and technical assistance in eight areas:
- NRS implementation
- State leadership
- Funding of local grants
- Evaluation of local programs
- Financial considerations
- Organization status
- Collaboration with Workforce Investment Act partners
- EL/Civics education
The specific items that will be addressed in each of these areas are provided in the OCTAE AEFLA Monitoring Tool. Coordination of activities under AEFLA, particularly with regard to the accountability for results, is discussed with state staff during monitoring visits.
Week-long full visits examine every aspect of the AEFLA statewide system at both the state and local levels using the AEFLA Monitoring Tool. Full visits also are likely to include concerns identified by the state being monitored. State directors of adult education selected by OCTAE from similar states participate in full monitoring visits as state peer reviewers. Peer reviewers provide an additional resource for offering technical assistance in the eight areas described on the AEFLA Monitoring Tool and conducting on-site visits. The targeted monitoring strategy was developed to better serve the states and meet OCTAE's AEFLA oversight responsibilities through a more focused and expedited process. Targeted visits are guided by the portion of the AEFLA Monitoring Tool that addresses each issue or issues to be examined. Targeted visits conducted only by OCTAE staff involve two- to three-day reviews. States having only one or two issues that need to be addressed do not require a full system-wide review. Issues for targeted reviews typically involve quality of AEFLA performance data, MIS implementation, or fiscal accountability. Targeted visits also are used to follow the progress of states that already have received a full review and are implementing aspects of a CAP.
Three Federal team meetings that include peer reviewers are held to prepare for the AEFLA monitoring review. At least two conference calls between the federal team and state contacts also are conducted. Federal team meetings are designed to clarify issues to be addressed during the visit, make assignments of issues to participants, ensure that peer reviewers are familiar with the monitoring process, and discuss the agendas for state conference calls. Conference calls with state contacts introduce the state to the AEFLA monitoring process, familiarize state staff with the monitoring instruments, gather and cross-check information on issues, develop the review agenda and establish the logistics of hotel, transportation, and facilities required for the review.
OCTAE/DAEL uses the State Review Protocol portion of the OCTAE AEFLA Monitoring Tool to guide the on-site monitoring process. A Local Protocol is also included within the instrument as a resource for state agencies in developing monitoring instruments to use with local providers.