California Adult Education Program: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is there a sharp increase in First-Time students between 2015-16 and 2016-17 and a sharp decrease displayed the next year on timelines?

Without 2015-16 data from the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) data system, TOPSpro Enterprise (TE), for the K12 providers and community colleges who submit data into TE, many students in the TE data set are counted as first time in 2016-17 unless that student was found in the Chancellor's Office MIS data set in 2015-16. Then in 2017-18, when two years of TE data are included, the number and percentage of first-time students tend to drop sharply. Conversely, Returning students are under counted in 2016-17 without prior year data since many are considered first-time. Then in 2017-18 there is a sharp rise to a more normalized trend.

2. Why don't values on the CASAS annual CAEP summary reports match values displayed on the Adult Education Pipeline for the same program or academic year?

There are four major reasons why there may be differences between the CASAS CAEP Summary report and the Adult Education Pipeline.

  1. AEP includes noncredit student data from the Management Information System (COMIS) data provided by the Chancellor's Office for community colleges while the CAEP summary reports do not.
  2. For every metric EXCEPT Employment and Earnings metrics, a derived key is used to track students found in the TOPSPro Enterprise data export provided by CASAS for the build of the Adult Education Pipeline (AEP) into data from COMIS. Student ID is not possible to use since the unique ID for a student in TOPSPro is not the same across Agencies and is not the same in COMIS. The derived key combines four provided data fields: last name, first name, date of birth, gender. If any of these fields is missing, then the student's data will not be included in the Adult Ed dashboard. CASAS estimates that just over 2% of the records in TOPSPro are missing one of these fields. Therefore, AEP counts are generally lower for the K12 Agencies only reporting into TOPSPro.
  3. In the TOPSPro Enterprise data set provided for the build of the AEP dashboard, CASAS is providing duplicated counts for the same student in a program year if that student is enrolled at more than one agency and has more than one unique student ID at each agency. These students are deduplicated in the AEP dashboard since a derived key is used and not the student ID to identify students. WestEd estimates that just over 4% of students may be enrolled at more than one agency and have multiple student IDs. Therefore, AEP counts are generally lower for the K12 Agencies only reporting into TOPSPro.
  4. There is a significant difference between Reportable Individuals or Adults Served displayed on AEP and Enrollees (column L in 2018-19) in the CAEP summary report. Adults Served displayed on AEP only includes students who have one or more program hours in the selected academic year for enrollment. No enrollment or program hours are required for inclusion if the student has been flagged as receiving services. However, the Enrollees (column L in 2018-19) in the CAEP summary report includes any enrollment. Therefore, students with program hours between zero and one who did not receive a service are not included in the AEP dashboard, but those students are included in the CASAS summary report as part of the total Enrollees number.

3. How should a college offering a GED preparation course that is not an approved course be coded in MIS?

Colleges should strongly try to convert such offerings into CDCP noncredit courses since it would both allow us to count that student as an enrollment in LaunchBoard and would provide noncredit apportionment to the college. In particular, because colleges all need more enrollment and apportionment.

4. If a college is not a WIOA Title II funded institution and doesn't pre and posttest their noncredit math, English or ESL students using CASAS or another NRS approved testing instrument, are they required to use SA07 to record EFL attainment for their students?

No, non-WIOA II colleges whose faculty have not approved the use of CASAS or any other NRS federally approved testing instrument   should NOT code SA07 for their students. Using CASAS and TopsPro Enterprise to report EFL's; CB21 course progression; or SA07 are all equally valid ways for us to capture an Educational Functioning Level gain for the LaunchBoard. It is an open question of whether a college using an NRS assessment is 'required' to report SA07 or allow their EFLs to be populated using CB21 course progression.

5. If a college is creating noncredit English, math or ESL support courses for students enrolled in college level math, English or ESL courses, are those inflating the numbers for CAEP student enrollment?

Currently the answer is yes; however, the creation of CB26 to identify support courses for AB705 students will allow us to exclude those courses for reporting program enrollments in the LaunchBoard.

6. What is your recommendation if my college’s ERP/MIS system has not added the new MIS data elements for CAEP?

The new data elements for CAEP have been available to the field for a year-and-a-half and colleges are required to patch and have the new elements added for their reporting requirements under CAEP. This only concerns a limited number of student characteristic, EFL, and other elements. Literally 95% or more of the data elements for CAEP reporting should be in the college’s MIS system even if they have not updated to include the new elements.

7. Should colleges reenter student barriers to employment every term for every student?

Within TE, barriers to employment are populated for each program year so while colleges reporting into TE don't need to repopulate status every term, they do need to repopulate barrier status every year. For MIS barriers are handled in two ways:  a. Barriers such as previous incarceration are longitudinal and reported for the student if they 'have ever' been populated for that student in the current or any previous year. Additional ‘if ever’ barriers include individuals facing substantial cultural barriers, individuals who are English language learners, youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system, individuals who are low-income, and individuals with low levels of literacy (WIOA sec. 3(24)).  b. Some barriers such as homelessness are counted only if they show up in the current program year. For the LaunchBoard AE Tab these barriers are displayed for that program year regardless of what term is populated, however for the purposes of data integrity at the college those data elements should be populated for every term that they apply. These barriers include displaced homemakers; Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities; older individuals; homeless individuals; eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers; individuals within 2 years of exhausting TANF; single parents (including single pregnant women); and long-term unemployed individuals (WIOA sec. 3(24)). 

8. Will LaunchBoard auto-populate barriers to employment for some students?

ABE students will be automatically included in the count for low literacy and ESL students included in the count for English language learners.

9. How should colleges be reporting students receiving services in MIS?

Students are counted as receiving services if they receive disability services (MIS element SB02) or Noncredit SSSP services (SG16, SG17, SG18, SG19, SG20). The SSSP services are roughly equivalent to the transition services elements in TopsPro Enterprise.

10. Until there are distinct MIS elements for high school diploma or high school equivalency, is there any workaround for colleges to report high school diploma or equivalency?

Yes, the LaunchBoard calculation for high school diploma or equivalency will capture attainment of a diploma using SB11–Student-Education-Status if the students status changes to high school diploma during the program year. Colleges would have to track that students are correctly coded as having no prior awards when they enter the college and then manually make the change to high school diploma during the program year.