Delivering Results that Matter
In today’s knowledge-based society, terminology like transparency, accountability, outcomes, data tracking and evidence-based decision making have become increasingly common in both Ontario and across Canada as key factors in policy making and funding decisions. For literacy and essential skills programs, this means that anecdotal stories and the number of students enrolled in programs are no longer enough to prove the success of a program. Instead, numerical data derived from online information systems that track clients through the education and training system will begin to inform program effectiveness. While some may be intimated by these changes – data and knowledge sharing can become a powerful way of helping programs accomplish their mission of providing effective service to clients which can be used for program improvement. This information can then become an easy-to-use framework for analysis, reflection and action. Essential Skills Ontario aims to research ways of using data to better understand adults who enter and exit literacy and essential skills programming and how best to use this information to improve program effectiveness. As well, we provide a platform for discussion around professional standards and quality assurance of adult literacy and essential skills provision in Ontario.
Why is it important to deliver results that matter?
- Outcomes matter to students. Students currently involved in literacy and essential skills (LES) training and those who are considering participating need evidence that this training has proven positive results.
- Outcomes matter to policymakers. Evidence of improved Social Return on Investment (SROI) is crucial to policymakers and key stakeholders. Stakeholders investing time and money into LES training need tangible proof that programs create a positive effect on the economy and province.
- Customer satisfaction is not just about the client. Most programs measure their success through client satisfaction or the number of clients served. While important, evidence-based outcomes tracking students’ wage increases or growth within post-program employment is also necessary to fully assess students’ success.
- Tracking outcomes informs program improvement. Programs need to routinely undergo evaluations to improve efficacy, advise future developments and ensure that the most effective training is being provided for adults.