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Performance Accountability in Adult Basic Education

This NCSALL Study Circle addresses the measurement of program performance in adult education programs. The primary readings from Contested Ground: Performance Accountability in Adult Basic Education by Juliet Merrifield lay out key issues in performance accountability and present recommendations for policy and action. This topic is particularly relevant as the states and programs make plans and policy decisions regarding the new Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that will govern federal adult basic education spending after July 1, 1999 . The WIA includes strong mandates for performance accountability that will impact all who are involved in adult basic education. This paper examines performance accountability and what kind of system would meet the needs of everyone involved in adult basic education.

In the first session, the Study Circle group will examine the concept of performance accountability in the context of their own adult basic education programs and look more closely at the meanings of accountability and performance accountability in the Workforce Investment Act.

The second session includes discussion of literacy performances in terms of New Literacy Studies and then reviews the capacity of adult basic education programs to measure their performance.

In the final session, the group will look at the recommendations in Contested Ground and consider the relevance of Merrifield’s recommendations for their own work. The group will develop a final “product,” perhaps a recommendation for their local or state system on accountability.

Updated 7/27/07 :: Copyright © 2005 NCSALL