Field Review Findings

The Project's six practitioner/researchers interviewed 136 practitioners and funders from every province and territory and at the federal level to capture the impact of accountability practices on adult literacy programs and on the government departments and ministries that implement them. The report presents a concise, readable summary of the findings of these interviews.

Voices from the Field
Download a copy of the field review findings

Recommendations from the report are below

Recommendations from the Field Review

Every funder and practitioner interviewed for the field review was asked how he or she would like to see accountability structures and measures changed or developed (see Appendix C of the full report). The field reviewers collated the answers to develop the following recommendations.

  • Accountability should be a mutual and reciprocal process. As the field is accountable to funders, so should the funders be accountable to the field by providing appropriate level of funding and resources.
  • If mandatory accountability procedures are implemented, then funders need to be accountable to see that programs receive adequate resources to cope with the administrative burden.
  • Accountability initiatives and structures should acknowledge that each stakeholder has multiple accountabilities. Programs are accountable to their participants and communities in different ways than they are accountable to funders. While there will be some overlap in these accountabilities, sometime they will be at odds (cost effectiveness/efficiency vs. broad range of flexible services on an on-going basis).
  • Open communication and a respectful relationship between service provider and funder are necessary to facilitate effective development and implementation of accountability measures. Funding bodies should include knowledgeable officers, are experienced in the field, to work with the field in establishing priorities and procedures.
  • Programs should monitor and report on the use of the funding and provide information to funders that enables them to advocate for the field and to demonstrate they are fiscally responsible.
  • Funders should review accountability systems regularly and include feedback from the field to assure that the system is working well for everyone.
  • Accountability structures need to recognize the significance of context in the delivery and outcomes of programs and allow for regional differences in delivery realities within which programs operate.
  • Funding should not be exclusively tied to learner outputs (increase in grade level, for example). Learner progress may be more a reflection of the conditions within which the program or learner is operating than indicators of program quality.
  • Tracking learner progress should be done with long term goals. Reporting tools need to “tell the adult literacy story.”
  • Accountability requirements and the purpose of collecting this information should be clearly communicated. Service providers need to know what is expected of them, and this must be clearly and adequately communicated by the funder. Special attention should be paid to the language and quality of documents sent to organizations operating in a language other than English.
  • Adult Literacy programs should be reasonably supported through training and financial compensation to encourage skilled and experienced practitioners and staff to stay in the field.
  • Multi-year core funding for literacy programs should be provided.
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