Data Spotlight Award Winner: SOME
So Others Might Eat is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of DC. They meet the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing, and health care. They also seek to break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling to the underprivileged and elderly and individuals with mental illness.
THE RAISE DC GOAL
- Every youth is prepared for a career
The average SOME student enters the organization's Center for Employment Training (CET) program with a 6th grade level math proficiency. This presents a major barrier to student success in the medical, administrative, and building maintenance fields (three areas of training for CET), since these sectors require advanced math skills, including some algebra.
Through careful data monitoring, SOME's CET program helps students quickly develop the math skills they need to gain and maintain higher wage employment.
When students begin the CET program, they are given an entry ECASAS test, the results of which are compiled into class profiles using a database tool. SOME's Adult Basic Education instructor monitors CASAS test results to identify students' areas of greatest need and then collaborates with industry instructors to develop brief, contextualized lessons targeted at these areas. By closely examining the math skills and competencies associated with each CASAS question, the Adult Basic Education instructor can tailor lessons for the industry-specific applications of each individual class. Because lessons are targeted to areas of greatest need, they are high impact. As well, since they are contextualized to students' areas of study, students are interested in them and thereby motivated to succeed.
Due to SOME's open entry-open exit model, new students arrive in classes at least twice per month, and incumbent students' post-tests are delivered on a staggered basis. To keep abreast of changes in class needs, the Adult Basic Education instructor reviews profiles weekly, creating and modifying lessons as new test data dictates.
This approach has enabled learners to achieve significant educational gains. In FY 2013-2014, more than 55% of all post-tested learners achieved Educational Functioning Level (EFL) gains, which is 15% higher than the statewide average. This data-driven model also allows learners to achieve gains more quickly: In FY 2013-2014, the average student in other training programs received 98 basic education hours, whereas the CET student average was 59 hours. This efficient delivery of key concepts enables students to enter the workforce faster with the skills they need to succeed.