Program Areas | Workforce Development

New York City Department of Education:
Office of Adult and Continuing Education:
Building an Information System for GED Programs

As part of an overall reform of the GED testing system under way in New York City, the Department of Education Office of Adult and Continuing Education (OACE) sought to integrate and enhance its automated reporting structure. In 2010, the office asked Metis to build a new, web-based information system to streamline data collection and reporting needs from various GED sites, giving the office the capacity to improve its services to adult education students including GED test-takers.

The OACE offers more than 900 classes for adults age 21 and over. It operates four Adult Learning Centers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx and offers day and evening classes at more than 175 sites in all five boroughs, including public schools, community centers, and faith-based organizations.

In working with the OACE to develop each component of the IT system, Metis combined technical and field-based expertise with an understanding of the agency's need for a highly functional and useful system. In early 2011, Metis completed the first component, which is being used by an innovative cross-agency program called Bridge for Tomorrow. This program, run jointly by Small Business Services (SBS) and the Department of Education, was begun because many people who seek jobs at SBS's career centers have less than a high school diploma and find that their employment opportunities are very limited, particularly in today's economy. Bridge for Tomorrow, which is funded by the New York City Council, helps job seekers understand that educational attainment is the best path to employment and helps them to prepare for and take the GED exam. The IT system that Metis developed automates the enrollment of job-seekers into GED preparation programs, tracks the participant flow along each step of the program, and monitors GED class completion, test scheduling, test results, and participant job training and employment.

A second component of the IT system, the GED Testing Navigation System, was completed later in 2011. This system automates the previously manual GED application and scheduling processes. Metis worked with OACE staff to expand and network this system, increasing its capacity to handle GED applications in OACE and public locations and creating web access to the database. In the next phase of the project, both of these components will be integrated into a larger system that addresses the OACE's significant federal reporting requirements as well as its own desire for insightful, in-depth analysis of its programs' impact. The IT system will allow for analysis of data that incorporates test-takers' demographic information with their number of hours and types of preparatory instruction and their test scores—data that will help the OACE continually improve its programming.