The Resource Library is a compendium of tools and resources selected specifically for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. You can navigate the Resource Library by topic, or by key word (or tag).

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Resources on how to gather, analyze, use, and present data for both reporting purposes and continuous program improvement.

The annual Fall Technical Institute is an opportunity for Breaking Through and Accelerating Opportunity state teams to receive targeted TA on a variety of topics. For this meeting, JFF recruited 18 subject matter experts from across the country to help state teams work through complex issues such as sustainability planning, employer engagement, and building comprehensive support services. Nine state teams attended this year's Institute.

Meeting Objectives 

  • Provide state teams with targeted technical assistance designed to strengthen solutions, advance the work, and meet outcomes through structured interactions with subject matter experts.
  • Enable teams to exchange effective practices and understand how other states or colleges are addressing key issues through peer sharing opportunities.
  • Ensure that teams leave the Institute with specific actions and plans to further their implementation and sustainability efforts.
Jobs for the Future

Wednesday, June 29th, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT

This webinar for state leads, coordinators, data staff, and IR directors offers guidance on the data reporting requirements for Accelerating Opportunity design grant states.  Randall Wilson of Jobs for the Future and Christopher Spence, New Growth Group Inc., describe the content, format, and purpose of the required September 1st, 2011 data report for the states. They cover the measures to be used for creating baselines on the ABE population and for describing state data capacity for participating in the evaluation of Accelerating Opportunity in the longer term. The webinar also introduces guidance tools and templates for submitting data with the September report.

Randall Wilson, Jobs for the Future
Christopher Spence, New Growth Group Inc.

Moderator: Barbara Endel, Jobs for the Future 

Streaming recording link:

Download recording link: 

Randall Wilson, Christopher Spence
Jobs for the Future, New Growth Group

Friday, February 10th, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM EST

This webinar provided the implementation states with a deeper understanding of the evaluation of the initiative, including the overall evaluation design, data collection methods, and specific evaluation activities, such as site visits and check-in calls.


Robert Lerman, Urban Institute, Principal Investigator and Cost Analysis Lead
Lauren Eyster, Urban Institute, Project Director and Implementation Analysis Co-Lead
Maureen Conway, Aspen Institute, Implementation Analysis Co-Lead
Burt Barnow, George Washington University, Impact Analysis Lead
Randall Wilson, JFF Senior Project Manager and Evaluation Liaison

Streaming recording link:

Download recording link

Download PowerPoint

Robert Lerman, Lauren Eyster, Maureen Conway, Burt Barnow, Randall Wilson
Jobs for the Future, Urban Institute, Aspen Institute, George Washington University

On June 14, 2013, Theresa Anderson from the Urban Institute led a webinar discussing some of the early evaluation findings, including the results of the college survey.PLEASE NOTE: there was a miscalculation in the slides used in the recording; the cost per student discussed in slide 30 should be $4,546. The slides posted here have been updated with the correct amount.

Streaming recording link:

Download recording link:

Due to the file size, the PowerPoint is in two parts.
Part I
Part II

Theresa Anderson
Urban Institute & Jobs for the Future

Breaking Through has engaged over 40 colleges across the country in redesigning programs to help low-skilled adults acquire the skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and attain credentials. In studies of colleges that scaled up successful pilot programs, Breaking Through participants demonstrated significantly higher rates of retention, course completion, and higher skill gains than non-Breaking Through students. These studies, produced with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, are:

Breaking Through is a collaboration of JFF and the National Council for Workforce Education.

Elisabeth Barnett, Debra D. Bragg, Elaine Delott Baker, and Margaret Puryear

This memo to Shifting Gears states offers guidance on how to be intentional and strategic about using the results of various data collection projects and how data can be used to help engage key audiences to build support for desired policy changes.

Shifting Gears
Shifting Gears

Prepared for the Achieving the Dream national initiative, this report identifies essential features of a system to measure the performance of state community colleges.  It also describes the essential features of state data systems to support performance measurement.

Susan Goldberger
Jobs for the Future

This report recommends a set of common metrics that states should use to improve the completion rates and efficiency of public higher education systems.  These common metrics were developed by a Work Group on Common College Completion Metrics, convened by the National Governors Association, which sought to develop common standards for public higher education that states should use to monitor system performance and inform future policy decisions.

Ryan Reyna
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

In this paper, Peter Ewell and Hans L’Orange discuss the importance of Student Unit Record Systems (SUR) that contain an individual electronic record for each student. The authors outline 15 essential elements that a postsecondary data set should have to inform a complete analysis of educational pipeline issues and outcomes.

Peter Ewell and Hans L'Orange

Colleges participating in the Breaking Through initiative have found that incompatible data and data systems represent a significant barrier to creating pathways into college for adult students. This report provides insight into solutions that would be useful to any college seeking to serve low-skilled adults.

Peter Ewell
Jobs for the Future