New government reporting mandates go into effect in July 2021, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC)-funded after-school and OST programs will be significantly impacted by the changes.
“The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 is a public law that was enacted to improve stewardship in Federal government, and to link resources and management decisions with program performance.” (Source: Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), April 2014 v5.6)
The 2021 updates were first announced at the SEA Winter Meeting in March 2021 and impact how often OST programs need to provide reporting, as well as many of the metrics and analyses that they are expected to provide.
Plenty of research exists to show how after-school programs benefit youth and families. Programs are obligated to file reports annually to Congress, federal managers, and the public. However, changes to Government Performance Results Act reporting means programs receiving 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) grants are being asked to collect and report provide more comprehensive data to demonstrate their progress against goals. The new requirements will especially impact community-based and faith-based OST programs without data-sharing agreements in place with the school districts they serve. It will be very difficult for these types of organizations to collect all the required data because much of it requires access to student records that are off-limits to many of these types of organizations.
What to expect from GPRA changes?
GPRA changes impact the frequency that programs are required to report and the range of performance measures that are reported. The collection of new performance measures will impact OST program operations, as it requires new data sources (such as the student’s performance in school, as documented in a Student Information System (SIS). As an overview, GPRA will change::
- Reporting frequency: Previously, OST programs were required to report three times per year, in the spring, winter, and fall. Now, OST programs will report two times per year, for the summer programming and regular school year.
- The volume of performance measures collected: Previously, states could choose from one of three performance measures to report on. Now, programs must collect and report performance data for five measures. Two are completely new measures while measuring grades for math and reading is being replaced by tracking improvements in unweighted Grade Point Average.
- The sources of data collected by OST programs: Much of the new reporting requires access to student records that reside in the district’s Student Information System. Without direct access to a school’s SIS through a data-sharing agreement, programs may rely on manual methods to determine program participation or whether a student is progressing academically. Anecdotal evidence from teacher interviews, parents, and student report cards may replace more sophisticated data collection. Some of the data now required for reporting may not appear on a report card, like discipline actions. As a result, States and sub-grantees will need to combine program participation data with information from several other sources such as school records, teacher surveys, and standardized assessment results to fully comply with the new reporting requirements.
How can AfterSchool21 make reporting changes easy?
Having an online reporting and data management system like AfterSchool21 (AS21) will substantially reduce the time needed to collect and compile data. Current AS21 have access to a reporting system and automated calculations that are already updated for GPRA requirements:
- Hour tracking: 21CCLC sub-grantees can search, and extract attendance data based on “hour-bands” which meets the new GPRA requirement. This helps determine student participation in different program sessions within a day. Another option is to track individual student start and end times down to the minute.
- Updated reporting periods: Programs can report on summer and school year data to align with federal reporting.
- Single source data for student performance: Individual program directors can report cleanly on all five GPRA measures with a data bridge to their SIS. Data pulls from the SIS and appends with data collected by staff.
- Automated data submission format updates: The AS21 team works with state-level contractors to monitor changes made to the federal 21APR system. Monthly software updates ensure new report versions are released once 21APR changes are finalized.
- SIS data bridge: Nightly import of participant data in compliance with new reporting.
AS21 is the most customizable and advanced after-school program data management software available.
Schedule a demonstration to learn more about how AS21 can make the transition to GPRA reporting requirements quick and stress-free for your OST program.