Lessons Learned: Working with Administrative Data in Adult Education
Currently, the only large-scale source of data on adult education teachers and students comes from state data systems designed for federal accountability reporting through the National Reporting System (NRS), which requires all states to have a student-level record system for reporting the outcomes, attendance, and characteristics of students who attend federally funded adult education and literacy programs. However, using NRS data for the purposes of analysis and research is not straightforward.
There are many challenges to using states’ NRS data for research purposes because these data are collected primarily for accountability purposes and the focus in the past has been on students rather than teachers. This brief—the fourth in the series—focuses on communicating these common issues with administrative data and provides recommendations that may help states maintain a data system that can be better used for their own analysis and program evaluation as well as for outside research.