New Data Management System
Within the next two weeks, ACLS will provide information regarding the new vendor for the adult education data management system.
Next Data Lock-Out Date
May's attendance must be entered on or before June 30. The full schedule can be found on the Dashboard.
Entering Assessment Data
Just a reminder to post-test all students who are eligible for one and to enter the data into SMARTT.
Reminder and Explanation of the FY18 Attendance Data Entry Schedule
Please read last month's update regarding the FY18 Attendance Data Entry Schedule for a detailed explanation of the change from 60 days to 30 days for entering attendance.
Next Data Lock-Out Date
April's attendance must be entered on or before May 31. The full schedule can be found on the Dashboard.
New Data Management System
Best and Final Offers (BAFO) were solicited and received from the two vendors under consideration. As of this writing, a final decision has not yet been made.
SMARTT Updates to be Posted on Dashboard and Monthly Mailings
In response to feedback from the field, beginning this month all SMARTT updates will be placed in the ACLS Monthly Mailing as well as the Dashboard.
Reminder and Explanation of the FY18 Attendance Data Entry Schedule
On July 14, 2017 ACLS posted the FY18 Attendance Data Entry Schedule on the Dashboard. This schedule was also included in the FY19 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions. In retrospect however, the July posting could have been more explicit in drawing the field's attention to two important facts: 1) the new schedule reflected a change in policy from the previous year, and 2) the change was effective immediately, beginning in FY18. In addition, directors who don't have occasion to work with SMARTT on a frequent basis may not have been aware that the policy had changed. In any case, future updates will be posted in the ACLS Monthly Mailing as well as on the Dashboard. This particular update serves as a reminder that the schedule has indeed changed and provides an explanation for the change that was made.
Previously, programs had 60 days to enter attendance into SMARTT, starting from the end of the current month. Thus, last year's April attendance was due at the end of June. However, as stated above, that 60-day policy was changed to thirty days (with the exception of July and September) to the effect that April's attendance for this year is now due at the end of May. The change was made in order to make the Cohort Follow Up screens in SMARTT as up-to-date as possible. Follow up is based on student exit date, and under NRS rules a student cannot be exited until 90 days have passed since the last day of attendance. So, if a student left his or her program in September 2017 for example, that student could not be exited until December 2017. However, under the previous policy, December's attendance would not have been entered until the end of February 2018. Therefore, the student in this example would not have shown up in the Cohort Follow Up screens until March 2018, some six months after the exit date. In short, the change from 60 days to thirty days aimed at shortening the time lag for follow up.
New Data Management System
In late March, the ACLS Reader Team, which included representatives from the field as well as from the Executive Office of Education Information Technology (EOE IT), concluded its review of vendor proposals and in-person presentations. As of this writing, the procurement process is nearly complete, and we look forward to making an announcement soon.
RFR for New Data Management System Released
The Executive Office of Education issued an RFR on January 26, 2017 to solicit bids to replace SMARTT. Bids are due March 7, 2018.
Cohort Follow Up Video Tutorial
Don't forget to follow up with students who have exited your program to monitor progress on their exit-based performance measures. At smartthelp.zendesk.com, a video tutorial will be posted on Friday, February 16 titled "Introduction to the Cohort Follow Up." On February 23, from 2-3pm, Charlie Herbert from SABES will conduct a one-hour Q&A session via webinar also title "Introduction to the Cohort Follow Up." Once registration is open, you can register via the calendar at sabes.org. In the meantime, you can read the event description below:
This is primarily an online meeting serving as a Q&A for the tutorial "Introduction to Cohort Follow Up." Participants are asked to view that tutorial and do some follow up in SMARTT before attending this.
This professional development activity/course is designed for:
Intermediate to advanced users of SMARTT who have completed at least the SMARTT New User course.
The Cohort Follow Up screen is a relatively new area of SMARTT and one that is critical for MA ABE's success. It is important to regularly update it. This one-hour Q&A session will address user questions about using that page.
Participants are asked view the tutorial at smartthelp.zendesk.com and get their hands dirty in the Cohort Follow Screen first. Preferably, send questions prior to this session to email@example.com.
Part 1 (February 16, 2018): is when the video tutorial covering the Cohort Follow Up screen in SMARTT will be available on smartthelp.zendesk.com. Participants are asked to view the tutorial, and then try doing some data entry and follow up in the actual SMARTT screen. If you have questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 2 (Feb 23, 2018 2-3p.m.): is a live webinar that will focus on specific questions
Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:
Do regular cohort follow up in SMARTT.
HSE Goal/Report Screen
The SMARTT IT team is working to create a High School Equivalency (HSE) module to replace the old Goals module. When complete, programs will be able to see at any current student who is part of the either the HSE cohort, Adult Diploma Program cohort, or Industry-Recognized Credential cohort. These outcomes can be realized during a program year and are thus exclusively exit-based like the cohorts in the Cohort Follow Up module. Programs would have to manually enter the "goal" of secondary education, adult diploma program or industry-recognized credential through the student screen in order to utilize the HSE module/report. Instructions on how to do so will be provided once the module is complete.
Intake Form FAQ's
This is just a reminder that programs are required to solicit all the information found in the SMARTT Student Intake Form FY18 upon intake of new students. Please review the FAQ Guide to the SMARTT Intake Form FY18 if you have any questions.
If you haven't already done so, please submit your program's Waitlist Verification checklist in SMARTT.
Continued Support for SMARTT/Cognos in FY19
We anticipate that the RFR for a new data management system will be released shortly, but until a vendor is secured we won't know the timeline for when the new system can be fully implemented. Anticipating that there might still be a need for SMARTT/Cognos support in FY19, ACLS is prepared, if necessary, to release a separate RFR in the spring to secure a contractor able to provide those support services. Once more details are known, we will update you accordingly as to whether and when the SMARTT/Cognos continuing support RFR will be released.
FY18 MAPT Reports
The MAPT reports for FY2018 are now available to users.
New Data Quality Checklist
To assist you in process of keeping track of data collection requirements and timelines, ACLS is drafting a Data Quality Checklist that will list important program policies, procedures and timelines that should be in place in order to ensure the quality and integrity of each program's data. Once the checklist is complete, it will be sent to you in a Special Mailing and will include instructions for how to complete it and the timeline for sending it in.
Vendor RFR for SMARTT Successor
Work on the RFR is progressing, but the timeline for release has been pushed back. ACLS will post a notice on the SMARTT Dashboard as soon as it goes out.
FY17 Performance Reports Available on Cognos
The Tables have been updated in Cognos, so programs can now run reports on FY17 data.
Vendor RFR for SMARTT Successor
Last year, ACLS began "repainting" SMARTT in order to bring the system into alignment with new NRS requirements under WIOA and to enhance functionality and ease of use for users in the field. By the end of this month, the repainted SMARTT 3 format will be complete, and users will be able to access and enter data in all internet browsers.
However, as necessary as those changes were just to meet the WIOA requirements already in effect, ACLS has determined that to have a student information system that can better support programs, a new solution is required. To that end, an RFR is being drafted to secure a vendor who can supply a product that meets the increased needs of the field. The RFR will be released in October, and an award for SMARTT's successor is expected to be announced by early spring.
FAQ Guide Being Drafted for FY18 Student Intake Form
We've received some great questions regarding the FY18 Student Intake form. In response, ACLS has posted an FAQ guide on its website and will update it periodically if/when further questions arise. You can find the guide under SMARTT Forms.
FY18 Student Intake Form
In response to feedback from the field, the student intake form has been revised to align more closely with the fields in SMARTT that are still required to complete a student intake. Programs may continue to use the FY17 intake form, but it is hoped that the new form will make data entry more efficient. You can find the form on the ACLS website.
Data Verification/Site Rollover Request
Programs must complete and submit their Data Verification/Site Rollover request before they can enroll students in FY18 classes, enter attendance, administer assessments, and so on. Please submit your request on or before Friday, September 1 to ensure a smooth and timely transition to the FY18 program year. A new "Reviewed Student Data?" checkbox has been added so programs no longer need to check every individual box that falls under a category. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your program specialist and/or the SABES SMARTT Zendesk.
Excluding Students from Performance Reports, or What Happens if a Student Dies?
Participants may be excluded from all performance indicators if one of the following reasons applies:
Although programs can continue to exit students from classes, those students remain in the system until they are auto-exited according to set business rules based on WIOA requirements. However, because students are no longer manually exited, an "exit reason" is no longer attached to the student, thus when SMARTT auto-exits students, they are all automatically included in the denominator for performance indicators.
STAR Programs and DAR Assessment
Effective immediately, STAR programs no longer need to enter DAR assessment data into SMARTT. STAR programs are still required to administer the DAR and keep a written record.
Remember to check the Data Entry and Auto Exit Schedule to ensure that student data is entered on time.
Cohort Follow Up
The Cohort Follow Up screens will be fully populated with student data once all program sites have been rolled over to FY18, which is expected to happen by the end of this month. Once completed, programs should be able to follow up on all students who were exited. A tutorial on Cohort Follow Up is now available.
FY17 Data can be Entered Post Rollover
In a change from previous years, programs can now enter student attendance and assessment data for FY17 (only for the months of May and June) even after their site has been rolled over to FY18 in SMARTT.
FY18 Student Intake
Beginning in FY18, programs are expected to complete a new intake for all students, including those who are continuing from the previous year. Programs may use whatever form they wish, paper or electronic, as long as those versions solicit and collect all of the same information that is found in the FY17 SMARTT Student Intake form.
To download the form from the ACLS website, click the link and search under SMARTT Forms. It is also recommended that programs read the brief FAQ Guide to the FY17 SMARTT Intake Form found in the same section of the website.
New Data Entry Policy Regarding Attendance and Primary Area of Assessment
Effective immediately, programs will no longer have to wait to enter student attendance until identifying the primary area of assessment.
FY18 Attendance Data Entry Schedule
Data for each month must be entered by the last day of the following month as indicated in the following schedule, with the exception of July and September in which two months are given for data entry. If a program misses a data lock-out, it can send an email to the ACLS Administrator (copying their program specialist) requesting permission to enter data after the lock-out and providing strong reasons for the request. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Repeated requests may trigger a data and/or fiscal audit.
|Month of Attendance||Day that Month of Attendance is Locked Out|
|July 2017||September 30, 2017|
|August 2017||September 30, 2017|
|September 2017||November 30, 2017|
|October 2017||November 30, 2017|
|November 2017||December 31, 2017|
|December 2017||January 31, 2018|
|January 2018||February 28, 2018|
|February 2018||March 31, 2018|
|March 2018||April 30, 2018|
|April 2018||May 31, 2018|
|May 2018||June 30, 2018|
|June 2018||July 31, 2018|
FY18 Automatic Exit Schedule
It is in the best interest of programs to capture NRS-required outcome data for students in the follow-up cohort. This can be accomplished either by survey or data matching. However, a survey must be used for students who either did not provide a social security number (SSN), or did not sign a release of information form for employment follow-up and/or entry into postsecondary education/training. To ensure accurate reporting, SMARTT will automatically exit a student from the program if no attendance has been recorded during the three-month period immediately following the last month of attendance as indicated by the following schedule.
|Automatic Exit Schedule||Month of Last Attendance||No Attendance in these Months||System Assigned Exit Date|
|July 15, 2017||February||March-May||February 28 or 29|
|August 15, 2017||March||April-June||March 31|
|October 15, 2017||April||May-July||April 30|
|November 15, 2017||June||July-September||June 30|
|December 15, 2017||July||August-October||July 31|
|January 15, 2018||August||September-November||August 31|
|February 15, 2018||September||October-December||September 30|
|March 15, 2018||October||November-January||October 31|
|April 15, 2018||November||December-February||November 30|
|May 15, 2018||December||January-March||December 31|
|June 15, 2018||January||February-April||January 31|
Goal Follow Up Screen to be Hidden until Revised
The Goal Follow Up screen will be revised to align with NRS reporting requirements and better complement the Cohort Follow Up screens. In the meantime, to avoid confusion, the Goal Follow Up tab on the main menu will be hidden until the revised module is complete.
FY18 Program Plan Rollover
Programs who want to begin planning for FY18 can now rollover their Program Plans to FY18. To do so:
Once your Program Plan has been rolled over, no further changes can be made to your current FY17 plan.
The Cohort Follow-Up Module for the new WIOA Measures is complete. A tutorial explaining how to do follow-up is being developed by SABES and will be available later this month.
FY 17 SMARTT Intake Form Released and SMARTT Student Intake Data Fields Updated
The intention is for programs to start using the new form with students who have not already gone through the intake process. The intention is not to create double work, but it is requested that programs make a good faith effort to capture as much of the new information as they can with students who have already gone through intake with the FY 16 form.
The current SMARTT Student Intake data fields have integrated the data elements from the new form that were not previously available, such as the Barriers to Employment section.
To download the form from the ACLS website, click the link and search under SMARTT Forms
Please remember to enter February's attendance no later than April 30, 2016, at which point the data will be locked out.
SMARTT 2 and SMARTT 3 Merge on February 9
Be advised that starting Thursday, February 9, SMARTT 2 will be merged with the completed components of SMARTT 3. This means that users will interact with a hybrid User Interface (UI) until SMARTT 3 is fully developed. Specifically, the Agency, Project, and Site pages have been upgraded, and there is a new Cohort Follow Up page which programs will eventually use to track students' WIOA outcomes-tutorials and guidance on how to navigate the new follow up screens will be forthcoming. For more information, please read the ACLS special mailing that was sent to the field earlier this week.
SMARTT User Group
We have a SMARTT User Group comprised of a small number of practitioners in the field who are active users of the system. This group has been asked to test and provide feedback on some of the work that is under development, as well as provide feedback on matters closely related to SMARTT and Cognos, such as the new intake form which the group recently reviewed. Later this month the group will begin testing modules of SMARTT 3, and if you would like to be a part of this, please contact Charlie Herbert (cc Russell Fenton).
FY 17 SMARTT Intake Form
As mentioned above, the SMARTT User Group provided valuable feedback on the proposed FY 17 SMARTT Intake Form. The next step for ACLS is to process that feedback and, where appropriate, revise the form. Once final edits have been made, the form will be posted on the ACLS website; the target date for release is February 17. More specific instructions on how and when to use the form will be provided in next month's mailing.
Data Entry Lock-Out
November's attendance is due January 31, after which time the data will be locked out.
Update Contact Information in SMARTT
If you have had recent changes in staffing, particular at the Coordinator/Director level, please remember to update that information in SMARTT. The monthly mailing email list is generated from SMARTT, so it is important to keep the information as accurate and up-to-date possible. If you need assistance in updating your information, please contact the SMARTT Help Zendesk (see Resources).