OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Performance Measures and Accountability

Performance measures are used to quantitatively assess the implementation and outcomes of educational systems. When properly defined, they can provide useful information on how well schools and programs are performing and whether educators are meeting their instructional goals. Performance measures also can be used to determine if and where program improvements are needed.

All federal legislation relies on performance measures to hold educators accountable for their results. The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins) includes four core indicators to assess state and local progress in improving the secondary and postsecondary outcomes of students who pursue vocational education:

  • Attainment of challenging state established academic and vocational and technical skill proficiencies.

  • Attainment of a secondary school diploma or its equivalent, or a postsecondary degree or credential.

  • Placement in, retention in, and completion of postsecondary education or advanced training, placement in military service, or placement and retention in employment.

  • Participation in and completion of vocational and technical education programs leading to nontraditional training and employment.

To assist states in developing and implementing these measures, OVAE has several initiatives underway. Among the initiatives:

  • Partnering with states to establish the Peer Collaborative Resource Network as an electronic forum for states to share their state accountability results and highlight promising practices for using data to improve program performance.

  • Launching the Performance Measurement Initiative to design and pilot test new secondary and postsecondary assessment and accountability measures, covering both academic and career and technical education programs.

Research and Evaluation

  • Accountability Systems: Performance Standards and Assessments. Provides a status report on issues related to accountability, including standards and assessment, data systems, and the role of incentives for schools, teachers, and students in improving student achievement.

  • Perkins III Peer Review & Continuous Improvement: Work In Progress at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities download filesPowerPoint. PowerPoint presentation of efforts within Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to use the Perkins III performance data for continuous improvement. This document also outlines Minnesota's Peer Review Process, designed to assist practitioners in using performance data for continuous improvement.

  • Research on Causes and Improvement Strategies for Perkins III Core Indicators: Example Models and Research Results download filesMSWord(395K). These tables and references provide summaries of research related to the Perkins performance measures. They can be used to develop and evaluate root causes and solutions as described in the Five-Step Improvement Process guidebook.

Noteworthy Practices

  • Improving Performance: A Five Step Process (A Quick Reference Guide) download filesPDF. Summarizes the major steps designed to help state education agencies, schools and colleges use data to improve performance on the Perkins III core indicators.

  • Improving Performance: A Five-Step Process (Version 2, August 2002) download filesMSWord. Designed to help state education agencies, schools, and colleges use data to improve performance on the Perkins III core indicators. It describes a generic five-step process for incorporation into existing improvement processes.

  • Roadmap to Perkins III download filesPDF(6.5MB). A guide to Perkins resources in Illinois.

Additional Links

  • Minnesota: Using Data for Decision Making Project in Search of Continuous Improvement download filesMSWord. Describes a two-phased technical assistance effort underway in Minnesota to assist community colleges in using data for program improvement efforts and local planning efforts.

  • Perkins III Postsecondary Performance: Best Practices from Missouri download filesMSWord. Missouri educators present their best practices for improving performance at the postsecondary level. Best practices are presented for academic attainment, skill attainment, completion, placement and retention, and nontraditional participation and completion.

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Last Modified: 08/13/2008