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program design & management

Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools


Strategy h: Use program data to analyze patterns of persistence and to make program improvements.


Data Analysis for Decision-Making: Hawthorne Family Literacy Program
ProLiteracy Worldwide
When data analysis revealed a 55% attendance rate, and a comparable learning gains rate, this program implemented weekly staff meetings to review attendance and students’ reasons for leaving; had students sign in/out every day and taught them to track their attendance; instituted a 75% attendance requirement with a system for dismissals; formed a parent advisory committee; and increased their intensity of instruction. The result: attendance increased to 85%, enrollment increased necessitating a waiting list, and 85% of the students met the CASAS benchmark learning gains.

Pay Off: New River Finds Success with Retention
Jenny Bolte
This program’s analysis of their GED data led them to create a new position of Retention Specialist whose responsibility is to help GED non-completers to resume their studies and develop a study plan. The program created a flexible GED-on-Demand testing schedule and began offering it in varied locations and times to accommodate students.  They also began to offer multiple learning options, ranging from more intensity of instruction in classes to computer lab. They subsequently experienced a 47% increase in GED completions.


The Impact of Content-Based Instruction: Three Studies
Barbara A. McDonald
The second of three studies reported on in this short piece focuses on the question of whether closeness of learner purpose and course content impact persistence. Comparing three vocational ESL classes that ranged from a strong focus on one vocation (electronics assembly) to a broad focus on general pre-vocational skills, the study found that completion was strongest when focus was strongest. However, other factors, such as differing course lengths and intensity, may have also played a roll in completion rates.

Is Adult Basic Education Worth the Investment? (Chapter 6 from New Skills for a New Economy)
This study uses Massachusetts ABE statistics to correlate hours of instruction to learning gains by level and type of class (ESOL and ABE). One of the conclusions is that GED students make faster progress in more intensive programs (e.g. 12 hours per week or more) than attending for the same number of hours for a longer period of time in less intensive programs.