New York State Literacy Zones Researcher-Practitioner Partnership

Urban and rural communities in New York with intense poverty and limited English language proficiency require systematic efforts to meet the educational and economic needs of individuals and families.

The New York State Literacy Zone Researcher-Practitioner Partnership is a collaboration between the New York State Education Department Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES) and AIR. The purpose of the partnership is to build capacity in New York State in two ways—by providing the Literacy Zones with a model of professional development for using data-driven decision-making (DDDM) in case management, and by increasing the ongoing capacity of state-level staff to support the use of data in case management services. The ultimate goal is to improve the outcomes of high-need adult learners in New York through the increased use of data.

The initial focus of the Literacy Zone Partnership will be to develop and pilot a set of technical assistance supports for implementing the model and to conduct a coordinated set of studies to assess implementation challenges. The technical assistance supports being piloted will consist of webinars and online toolkits, as well as DDDM-specific support during regularly scheduled ACCES site visits and events.

The research during the pilot will consist of three mini-studies:

  1. A pre-pilot study to evaluate the baseline DDDM professional development needs and practices of the case managers through interviews with case managers, and an exploratory analysis of prior years’ program data for training purposes;
  2. A pilot implementation study of the case management DDDM during the pilot that includes focus groups with program participants and a second wave of case manager interviews; and
  3. A post-pilot exploratory study of the relationship between case management services and preliminary participant outcomes using program data from the pilot year.

The pilot phase of the Literacy Zone Partnership will take place in August 2016 through July 2018, and is supported through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.