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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

FY14 Data Collection and Data Entry Policy Changes

February 21, 2014

  1. Policy Changes Regarding Student Intakes and Exiting Students

    1. Reducing Multiple Student Records Entered In SMARTT

      Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) requires programs to have completed student intake forms on file. Programs must determine the most appropriate method for gathering the student intake information based on the student's skills and comfort level. For example, the information may be gathered through an interview with the student or by a combination of having the student fill in certain sections of the form and by having the interviewer fill in other sections.

      In order to reduce the occurrence of multiple student records in SMARTT, it is necessary to capture additional data in the Student Intake Form. The following are additional required fields that will be added to the Student Intake Form:

      1. Previously Enrolled (Y/N)
      2. Previous Site Name
      3. Middle Name (was previously Middle Initial and option for not provided)
      4. Previous Last Name (option for not provided)
      5. City of Birth
      6. Previous Address (option for not provided)

      The current intake process in SMARTT allows for duplicates to be created since the user determines whether to use the "Lookup" button to see if a student has been previously enrolled in any site. Therefore, many duplicate student records have been created over the years. The new Student Basic Information - Phase I panel is shown below.

      The new Student Basic Information - Phase I panel

      The contact information panel

      The contact information panel also changed so users need to enter a "Previous" address instead of "Mailing" address. This field is not required but very helpful when determining if students are unique in the system.


      In addition, the system shall automatically display a list of possible matches once the user has entered the required fields. It will help the Data Entry Clerk to effectively identify the possible or exact match for the student being registered. This would encourage the user to make a confident match and reduce creating multiple student records.

      The following steps will be taken to achieve the goal of creating unique students in the system:

      1. Update the lookup functionality from being optional to mandatory.
      2. Enhance the "Select Student to Intake" pop up window to include additional helper fields and provide results based on level of confidence of the matching logic.
      3. Align the SMARTT application with the updates to the Student Intake Form.
      4. Enhance the existing student matching logic.

      The revised "Intake Form" which is posted on the SMARTT section of the ACLS website should be used for all new students as of February 26th. The system will be modified and the new intake screens should be ready by March 6th. You will receive notification with the exact date of the implementation for entering the revised "Student Intake Form" in SMARTT.

    2. Exiting Students in a Timely Manner

      In ACLS's ongoing effort to collect and report accurate and reliable data, including student outcomes (e.g., enrolling in postsecondary education, obtaining employment, etc.) as measured by the NRS cohort model*, we've implemented a policy change in order to capture many more student outcomes.

      Starting immediately, SMARTT will automatically exit students who are no longer "active" (i.e., students who have not had any attendance in SMARTT for 90 days). After the 90-day mark, SMARTT will automatically change the student's status to "exited." This will allow ACLS to capture all outcomes that the student achieves after that date. Last year, ACLS reported 21,369 students in its federal report who attended 12 or more hours, but there were about 60,000 students in the SMARTT system for that year. Therefore, if any of the 38,631 students who no longer attended the program had enrolled in postsecondary education or obtained employment, Massachusetts was unable to capture those outcomes.

      Because MA negotiates performance outcomes for the state as a whole, and because achievement of these outcomes affects additional incentive funding for our state, it is imperative that Massachusetts capture all possible student outcomes.

      * The NRS cohort model tracks and captures outcomes for students only after their exit date from a program; any student who remains in the SMARTT system unexited, cannot be included in the pool of students achieving outcomes. For more information on the NRS cohort model, see ACLS's SMARTT webpage: http://www.doe.mass.edu/acls/smartt/.



Last Updated: February 24, 2014
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