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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Accountability System

Within the context of adult education, the accountability system ensures that we are fulfilling our mission to "provide each and every adult with opportunities to develop literacy skills needed to qualify for further education, job training, and better employment, and to reach their full potential as a family member, productive worker, and citizen." ACLS strives to ensure funds are allocated and used in accordance with federal and state mandates to best serve adult learners accessing services.

Components of Accountability


Each program has an average monthly enrollment target that is weighted according to the type of service the program provides: ABE, ESOL, or both. Programs in good standing that meet or exceed their target are eligible to receive increased funding if/when funds become available. Programs that do not meet their target may have their base funding decreased.

Student Outcomes

This component refers to the state Measurable Skills Gain (MSG) standard derived from the National Reporting System's (NRS) performance measures and includes the following outcomes: Educational Functioning Level (EFL) completion, High School Equivalency (HSE) credential attainment, and Postsecondary Education or Training (PSE/T) enrollment after students exit from a program. Annually, programs are assigned separate ABE and ESOL targets using a formula that incorporates (i.e., is weighted on): the number of students who pre-test into each of the NRS levels that the program serves, and ACLS performance goals for each NRS level. Programs are eligible for increased funding if they: meet or exceed their MSG target and are in good standing regarding compliance.

Program Quality

Program quality is measured against a set of indicators and standards, collectively referred to as the Indicators of Program Quality (IPQ) and evaluated through the Program Quality Review (PQR) process. Currently, this component is not directly related to funding, but it may be used for program performance incentive funding in the future.


This component refers to the extent to which local programs operate in accordance with federal and state programmatic, financial, and reporting requirements and deadlines. Any program that is not currently on an active Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is in good standing. Programs in good standing are eligible for increased funding opportunities. Programs not in good standing may be subject to delayed funds, reduced funding, and/or termination of the grant.

Tools of Accountability

This refers to the processes that ACLS has in place to ensure programs comply with federal and state requirements and deliver high quality services that result in student outcomes:

Last Updated: December 3, 2021

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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