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Using CASAS to Meet NRS Accountability Requirements

History of the National Reporting System (NRS)

The National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS) is an outcome-based reporting system for the state-administered, federally funded adult education program. The NRS began in the late 1990s, in response to the trend toward greater accountability, for both adult education and employment programs. With a system designed to demonstrate program effectiveness and improve student outcomes, the NRS provides a means of regular evaluation for adult education nationwide—for states, programs, teachers, and students.

In August 1998, the voluntary nature of the NRS changed when the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act within the Workforce Investment Act (WIA – P.L. 105-220) became law. Mandatory statewide implementation of NRS began in 1999. In 2000 states began submitting their student and program outcomes to the NRS. For more information about the history of the NRS, click here.

Components of the National Reporting System (NRS)

NRS measures include two categories – 1) core measures and 2) secondary measures.

There are three types of core outcome measures:

  • Outcome measures. Provide the overall representation of national performance. Include central measures such as education gains, obtaining employment, and earning GED® test credential.
  • Descriptive measures. Illustrate who attends adult education programs and for what reasons, such as student demographics or status.
  • Participation measures. Document context and amount of instruction students receive, such as hours of instruction, or enrollment in special programs.

Core measures are performance standards required by the NRS and are directly tied to incentive grants. Secondary measures, are optional and are not tied to grant awards. They address issues related to employment, education, family, and community. For a more detailed look at NRS measures, click here.

The NRS assigns specific responsibilities for collecting these data measures at the local, state, and federal level. Click here for a chart outlining the data collection process. At the local level, agencies collect information from students at three different times—1) intake, 2) update, and 3) follow-up. Each local program must submit this data to the State, which is required to develop a statewide adult education database. Many states that use CASAS use the CASAS TOPSpro Enterprise (TE) data management system to meet this requirement. At the end of the program year, states then must submit aggregated data to the NRS, which maintains a national database.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law on July 22, 2014, and supercedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This Act brings together the core programs of the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Education (ED) to help youth and adult job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. It also works to match employers with the skilled workers needed to compete in the global economy. For an overview of WIOA, click here.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires states to align workforce development programs, to promote accountability and transparency, to foster regional collaboration, to improve the American Job Center (AJC) system, and to improve services to employers, and promote work-based training. WIOA also requires states to provide access to training, to enhance services for the unemployed and other job seekers, to improve services to individuals with disabilities, to provide services to disconnected youth and other vulnerable populations, to enhance Job Corps programs, and to streamline and strengthen strategic roles of Workforce Development Boards (WDB).

Components of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires core programs to report on common performance indicators, to measure and report worker and student progress, and to evaluate program and service effectiveness. Core programs services use standardized assessments to collect and report student and client learning gains data. This process ensures accurate and consistent monitoring of program results among programs and agencies and provides baseline data needed to document improvements in literacy skills. CASAS tests meet these requirements and correlate with the Educational Functioning Level definitions used in the NRS.


Resources to help you learn more about the National Reporting System (NRS):

  • Check out the official NRS website,
  • Click for NRS Training and Activities options.  
  • Click here to download a pdf copy of the most recent edition of the official NRS Implementation Guidelines, dated February 2016.
Resources to help you learn more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
  • Access the Web page on the U.S. Department of Labor Web site that describes the
    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Click here for a text copy of the WOIA law.

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