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–Susan Lytle Gilmore, Ph.D., Director of Adult Education, Sacramento City Unified School District
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AEP Questions and Answers

This is a collection of questions that are most frequently asked of the AEP Office. They are organized by topic area and will be updated as needed.

Management Information Systems (MIS)

AEP has multiple methods for capturing measurable skills gains in basic skills or ESL.
These include:

• For K12 adult schools or colleges that receive WIOA Title II funding through the California
Department of Education, AEP captures information on students that attained an increase
in their Educational Functioning Level from data reported to CASAS through TOPSpro®
Enterprise. CASAS provides annual updates to the Chancellor’s Office for the purpose of
populating the LaunchBoard AE Pipeline dashboard and for the annual report to the
legislature. This data is based on pre and post testing protocols using the CASAS
standardized assessment.

• For colleges that do not receive WIOA Title II funding and do not use a standardized
assessment for pre and post testing their adult learners, AEP captures skills gains by
capturing course progression using the CB21 rubric and course flags for course level prior
to college level. The calculation for this method is based on subsequent enrollment in a
higher-level course in the sequence. For example, if a student is enrolled in an ESL course
flagged as CB21 level D and subsequently enrolls into a course flagged as CB21 level C,
they are automatically captured as having achieved a measurable skills gain. There is no
separate reporting for these students, however colleges should review the CB21 coding of
their basic skills and ESL courses to ensure that data captured using this methodology is
accurate.

• For colleges that do not receive WIOA Title II funding but who do conduct pre and post
testing of students using a federally approved testing instrument such as CASAS or TABE,
the Chancellor’s Office has created new student data element SA07. SA07 allows the
college to identify the educational functioning level of the student based on the cut scores
for that instrument (available from the testing provider). SA07 should be entered for the
student upon their initial assessment and every time the student is reassessed using the
same instrument. SA07 creates a new date stamped record every time it is updated for the
student. AEP uses the updated records to identify when a student has been assessed at a
higher educational functioning level and captures that as a measurable skills gain in the
LaunchBoard and for reporting to the legislature.

Practitioners have asked if it is possible to enter CASAS or TABE scores directly into MIS. It is not
possible to enter test scores directly. Colleges who use these instruments are responsible for
using the EFL cut scores from the test provider to identify the EFL level of their students and enter
the EFL level using SA07.

The three methods for capturing measurable skills gains for students are designed to account for
the different ways in which colleges are capturing skills progression in basic skills or ESL noncredit
programs. The use of any standardized assessment as a diagnostic instrument for capturing skills
gains is a local control decision by colleges and is not required for the receipt of AEP funding, but
the use of CASAS as an assessment is required for any college receiving WIOA Title II funding.
Colleges are expected to rigorously follow all testing and reporting requirements by the California
Department of Education related to the WIOA Title II funded programs and students.

Practitioners have asked if there are priorities for which methodology colleges should use to
capture and report their data related to measurable skills gains. For the purpose of displaying data
in the LaunchBoard and end of year reporting to the legislature, the CASAS TOPSpro® Enterprise
and MIS data sets are matched and analyzed to identify if a student has achieved a skills gain in
either data set, which is then recorded as a positive result. TE and MIS both show a positive result
for the student; the result is de-duplicated to avoid a duplicate count.

However, in 2018-2019, the Chancellor’s Office is implementing the new Student Success Metrics.
These metrics incorporate many of the AEP data elements to ensure that colleges are including
how they serve noncredit adult education students as a measure of institutional effectiveness.
The data calculations for the student success metrics rely only on MIS for capturing skills
progression and measurable skills gains for adult education students. For this reason, the AEP
office recommends that all colleges, including colleges receiving WIOA Title II funds, review their
CB21 course codes for accuracy and use SA07 for capturing student EFL attainment. This is aligned
to the general guidance that colleges should be entering all their student data into MIS regardless
of their participation in WIOA Title II and should ensure that all student records for their noncredit
students are complete.

All colleges have the ability to create student records manually for students who did
not enter the colleges through the regular application process. There are specific data elements
for noncredit student support activities in MIS that can be used to capture the work you are doing
with students for transition support. You should talk to your research, IT, and counseling
departments at the college to identify the preferred process for your institution.
The AEP Data and Accountability committee is in the process of developing recommendations to
the field for what student support activities are important for colleges and adult education
practitioners to track and record in TOPSpro® Enterprise and MIS.

Colleges should collect and maintain complete student records including all data
elements required by the Chancellor’s Office in their MIS system regardless of what other
reporting requirements they may have related to other funding they receive. Colleges who receive
any other funding source, such as WIOA Title II or Perkins, are subject to all the reporting
requirements of those other sources as well as the general mandate as colleges to maintain
complete student records and data in their MIS systems. By choosing to receive WIOA Title II
funding and having to report data to CDE for those funds, it in no way lessens the burden to
maintain complete data records of students in MIS.

There is no separate reporting process for collecting AEP noncredit student data through MIS.
Virtually all the student data pulled from MIS is based on the student’s enrollment record and
uses existing course codes and other data elements to help identify student characteristics,
enrollment, completion and other outcomes. Practitioners have expressed confusion regarding
this process. Here are some important things to understand about the college MIS submission
process:

• All community colleges upload their MIS records approximately 30 days after the end of
the term. Because colleges have different term dates, the actual submissions may vary.

• Every college has its own timeline for when they pull their data from their local system and
prepare it for submission to the Chancellor’s Office. You should communicate with your
research or IT office to find out if your college has internal deadlines for updating data for
submission

• Because of the variation in submissions by institutions, we strongly recommend that
practitioners review and update their data at the end of every term to ensure that data
uploads for your institution are complete.

Practitioners should review and validate their data in MIS just as they would for any other student
and should work with their research office or IT department for the best way to review that data.
Practitioners should be working closely with their research or IT departments on any questions
about data entry, data validation, or the process for data cleanup for submission to the
Chancellor’s Office. These should be existing, well established processes at your college.

While the majority of student, course, and program data elements should be captured in MIS
through the process of enrollment and registration, there are some student characteristics data
elements which colleges should review on a regular basis to ensure that their data is complete.
These are flags which are not attached to a course and therefore must be entered by the college
for the individual student. These include:

• Student Barriers to Employment data elements (there are multiple SG data elements that
correspond to the AEP and WIOA Special Populations)

• SB23 - Student apprenticeship status (used for preapprenticeship students)

• SA07 - Student Educational Functioning Level

• SG10 - Student participation in Integrated Education and Training status

• SG21 - Student Work Based Learning Status

Of these flags, the Student Educational Functioning Level (SA07) is the most sensitive as it can be
updated every time the student is assessed to identify the student has attained a new educational
functioning level (EFL). Practitioners using SA07 are strongly urged to review this data for their
students at the end of every term to ensure that it is up to date in their local MIS system. For
colleges that are also WIOA Title II funded, the LaunchBoard extracts from both MIS and your
TopsPro Enterprise Data for the display of your EFL attainment data, however the new Student
Success metrics rely only on MIS data, which is the reason we are encouraging the population of
data in both places.

Detailed descriptions of each of these flags are available in the CCCCO Data Element Dictionary on
the chancellor’s office web site:
http://extranet.cccco.edu/Divisions/TechResearchInfoSys/MIS/DED.aspx.

Practitioners have asked if they can choose to use TOPSpro® Enterprise instead of MIS to report
their student data. The answer is no. The majority of student information used in the
LaunchBoard and for reporting to the legislature is based on information collected and stored in
MIS. In very limited circumstances, such as EFL attainment or occupational skills gains, the
LaunchBoard calculations look at both the CASAS data and MIS as a part of the calculation. The
enrollment and student records in MIS are a much more accurate and validated source of
information for student data than data extracted from MIS and reported through a third party
reporting tool.

When SA07 was created, we were unaware that it included an internal logic check for a
value in SA01. This is an issue identified by many colleges affecting their data entry. Because the
assessments for EFL attainment are not being used for placement, we believe this logic check
should not be in place and are working within the Chancellor’s Office for a fix to this issue. There
have also been questions regarding this element, which we are also working on.

There is a complete Data Element Dictionary posted to the caladulted.org website that
identifies every data element in every calculation for data displayed in the LaunchBoard. As of this
moment, we do not have a single list of every MIS data element identified in the dictionary, but
based on the request we will ask for one to be compiled.

Beginning in the 2018-2019 program year college data will be collected through the MIS data
collected and populated by the colleges. This is also true for colleges, which receive WIOA Title II
funding and will continue to report through TOPSpro® Enterprise for Title II reporting. All but one
or to data elements in the LaunchBoard rely exclusively on MIS for student enrollment, student
characteristics, and outcome data. The exceptions to this are primarily Educational Functioning
Level Attainment and Occupational Skills Gains. Many metrics in the Launchboard rely on
matching of TOPSpro® Enterprise student records with student records in the MIS system,
including transition to postsecondary education, completion of postsecondary credentials, and
employment and earnings data.