Kansas has always been noted for its leadership in the area of identification and recruitment (ID&R). With the increased emphasis by the federal Office of Migrant Education through its initiative to ensure child eligibility published in 2004, quality assurance in the area of identification and recruitment has taken a national center stage. With the adoption of the new non-regulatory guidelines, many of the ID&R practices already utilized by the State of Kansas were institutionalized nationally.
While some states are just beginning to conduct quality assurance studies, Kansas began in 2002 an independent study as a part of the State quality assurance plan. Kansas is now implementing action plans for local projects failing to meet the recognized standard of a 95% confidence level in determining the eligibility of migrant students. The over two year study including four phases has yielded valid and reliable results demonstrating six projects operating outside the 95% confidence level. The error rate in three of the projects can be attributed to a specific practice that the local projects are receiving training by State ID&R personnel. However, the type of errors and the severity of errors warrant state intervention.
While this two year study was time and labor intensive, Kansas is aligned with the new non-regulatory guidance and fulfilling the recommendations of the OME initiative. The information below summarizes the phases of the quality assurance study and describe the corrective action levels Kansas is now in the process of implementing.
Peer Review as part of the Kansas Quality Assurance Plan
In November of 2002, Kansas implemented a study that randomly identified ten local projects that would participate in a peer review of the Certificates of Eligibility (COE) for migrant students. The revalidation process is aligned with the Migrant Education Program’s (MEP) non-regulatory guidance. The revalidation process included the following steps:
- A team of six peer reviewers noted for their knowledge and experience in the area of ID&R were selected from local project and state ID&R staff.
- Ten percent of the COEs, with move dates between September of 2000 and August of 2003, on file with the State submitted by each of the local projects were chosen at random for review.
- The suggested level of confidence suggested by OME and adhered to by the State of Kansas is a ninety-five percent accuracy rate when COEs are audited.
- If the first sample produced an error rate at or below five percent, the peer review was considered successfully completed.
- If the first sample produced an error in excess of five percent, a second sample of ten percent of the remaining COEs were chosen from the remaining COEs on file with the State. The error rates of the two samples were averaged. If the combined error was at five percent or below, the peer review was considered successfully completed.
- If the combined error rate of the first and second sample exceeds five percent, a third random sample of ten percent of the remaining COEs was chosen. The same averaging process was followed.
- If five samples or fifty percent of the local project’s COEs have been reviewed and the averaged error rate exceeds five percent, all of the remaining COEs submitted by the local project were reviewed.
- In March of 2003, results were reviewed with local projects and eligible migrant children served were adjusted as a result of review results.
The results of the peer review served as an indicator that further review of local project COEs was warranted. Another result of the review was the modification of the Kansas COE form.
State Revalidation Process Conducted by Local Project Staff
- In the fall of 2003, the Kansas COE was reviewed and revised to reflect input from the field, suggestions from the quality control peer reviewers, and to be aligned with MEP non-regulatory guidance that was in draft form at the time.
- Regional meetings were held for local migrant education directors and recruiters to ensure the understanding of the State Revalidation Process.
The Phase Two Revalidation process required that each project revalidate each of the COEs with a qualifying move between September 1, 2000 and August 31, 2003 through a face-to-face interview with the person responsible for providing the information (parent, guardian, or student) on the COE. The following steps were followed in each project:
- The interviewer for the Revalidation Process was a d ifferent interviewer (recruiter) than the one who gathered the original information when possible.
- A new COE was completed in the revalidation process including the signature of the parent, guardian, or student providing the information.
- In those instances in which the family no longer resided in the area, the recruiter completed a Migrant Family Move Form ( green) which was attached to the revalidated COE and the original COE.
- In those instances in which the family was found to be ineligible, a Migrant Family Ineligible Form (red) was attached to the COE and the original COE.
- In those instances in which the family was found to be eligible, the original COE and the revalidation COE were attached.
- When local project staff completed the revalidation process, all COEs with the above qualifying move date were forwarded to the State Migrant Director.
Results of the Revalidation Process
The errors occurred mainly in three categories: 1) Emancipated Youth, 2) Move with Intent, and 3) Information Discrepancy. Even though the Kansas COE Validation Process included three levels of review and Kansas recruiters are required to complete 20 hours of training prior to being certified as a recruiter, the variance in the error rate across projects determined the errors were occurring at the recruiter level in the field. Three of the local projects were responsible for 63% of the total error identified in the entire state. Specific review of the errors in those projects was determined to be caused by errors in the State’s ID&R manual and a lack of recent recruiter training.
OME Initiative to Ensure Child Eligibility
Review of Random Sample of LEA COEs Conducted by research team
While Kansas had previously completed two phases of quality assurance on local project COEs, the OME 2004 initiative to ensure child eligibility was implemented in 2004. This national initiative included specific protocol to be utilized in the review of COEs by the States. OME recommended that a team of independent reviewers revalidate State COEs. OME suggested a review of 376 COEs to obtain a valid confidence level of 95%.
Kansas began to prepare for the implementation of the third phase of revalidation through the following steps.
- The States of New York, Nebraska, Missouri , and Kansas formed a Consortium to develop a plan for the review, share cost and personnel, and maintain consistent review protocol.
- A team of 10 independent reviewers with research background was identified from Cornell University in New York , Columbia in Missouri , and UC Berkley in California . None of the team members were associated with migrant education nor had any relation to any person in neither migrant education nor any of the local projects. The team received 32 hours of training in migrant education in general, the information required on the COE, and pivotal questions to ask. The training included one half day of field training interviewing families with State ID&R staff. The reviewers were not trained in any of the aspects of determining eligibility.
- For the State of Kansas , seven hundred and twelve COEs were randomly drawn from the State’s Database to ensure that 376 actual interviews could be conducted. The random sample included COEs from 30 of the 39 local projects across the state.
The team traveled the state and conducted interviews on randomly selected COEs. The revalidation process included the following steps:
- Persons from the local projects accompanied the independent reviewers to the family’s homes, but did not participate in the revalidation interview.
- A member of the research team interviewed the parent or guardian and recorded the information on the newly revised Kansas COE.
- Three hundred and ninety seven interviews were conducted.
- The COEs were then submitted to a committee of experts to determine eligibility. The team of experts was comprised of three individuals from New York and three from Nebraska known in the state to be most knowledgeable in the area of ID&R.
- The team of experts determined that on 58 of the COEs, more information was needed to determine eligibility. On an additional 38 COEs, the team of experts stated that eligibility was in question.
- Those 96 COEs were given to the State ID&R staff for re-interview.
- The re-interviews were conducted and again the newly completed COE was submitted to the team of experts.
Results of the Random Sample Revalidation
- Of the three hundred and ninety-seven interviews conducted, thirty-three COEs were found to be invalid.
- This error rate of eight percent statewide falls below the MEP suggested 95 percent confidence level.
- Upon reviewing the results of the random sample revalidation, 23 of the 30 projects from which the random sample happened to be drawn were found to have no ineligible COEs.
- Of the seven projects found to have ineligible COEs, three projects had an error rate of 5, 6, and 9 percent.
- The errors found in the three remaining projects represented 75% of the ineligible COEs found in the entire state. These results were consistent with projects demonstrating the highest error rate found in the review by the local projects. The error rates for each local project ranged from 17% to 60%.
- State ID&R staff traveled to each of the three projects and met with local migrant project staff, school district administration, recruiters, and parents. At each of the three local projects, faulty ID&R practices were reported.
- The findings were reported to the Kansas State Migrant Director.
Corrective Action Continuum
As a result of the three phases of State revalidation, the following changes were made in the overall Kansas ID&R practices for all local projects.
Changes to the Kansas ID&R Process
- Revision of the Kansas ID&R Manual
- Redesigning required training and timeline for required training for recruiters.
- Develop a professional development schedule for local project directors and recruiters to review and explain the MEP Non-regulator Guidance
- Establishing state policy on the flexibility of local recruiter work schedules to accommodate the work schedules of migrant workers.
- Establishing a Statewide Recruiter System.
- Implementing a specific, ongoing technical assistance in the area of ID&R for projects with excessive error rates.
- Implementing increased accountability between local projects and the state ID&R staff.
Corrective Changes for projects demonstrating severe error rates
For the local projects showing the highest error rates, the following levels of corrective action will be implemented by the State. While Level One through Level Three do present a continuum of support provided to the local projects, corrective action taken with the local projects will not always start at Level One. Given the type of errors, the degree of inappropriate ID&R practices, and severity of the errors identified, the State may begin corrective action at Level Three.
- The ID&R Staff Development Specialist will contact the local project director and establish a schedule of training for the project director and the recruiter. The training will occur one day per month and will include topics such as refreshing on the non-regulatory guidance, interview techniques, COE information, and eligibility criteria.
- The recruiter will keep daily time logs detailing activities during scheduled work times.
- The State ID&R staff will review one COE submitted by the local project out of each six submitted for content and eligibility determination.
- The training will continue for six months or until the local project is able to hit the 98% confidence level for three consecutive months.
- All the support activities provided in Level One will continue in Level Two.
- The ID&R Staff Development Specialist will contact the local project director to schedule two days of training per month. One day will continue with the topics above with the director and the recruiter. On the second day, the ID&R Staff Development Specialist will accompany the recruiter on home visits to identify and recruit eligible migrant students. The first priority will be the COEs that have been returned by the State ID&R Staff for revalidation. The second priority will be new family visits.
- The State ID&R Staff will review one COE submitted by the local project out of each three submitted for content and eligibility determination.
- The training will continue for six months or until the local project is able to hit the 98% confidence level for four consecutive months.
- If after one full year of support provided by level one and two activities, the project has not been able to maintain a 98% confidence level for four consecutive months, the state will deem Level Three corrective action is warranted. At this point, the State will take over the identification and recruitment for the local project.
- Given type of errors, the degree of inappropriate ID&R practices, or severity of the errors identified, the State may deem it necessary to impose Level Three Corrective Action without first implementing Level One or Two support. The State may immediately assume the identification and recruitment for that local project.
- The State Director will convene a meeting with local school district personnel, local migrant director, the recruiter, and State ID&R and COE review staff to determine a program of corrective action plan specific to the circumstances in the district.
- Once a local project is put on Level Three Corrective Action, this level of support will continue indefinitely.
Annual Study to Ensure Child Eligibility
Check back soon for information on the annual statewide review.
Revised Kansas Identification and Recruitment Plan
The Kansas Identification and Recruitment (ID&R) plan has been in constant evolution since its inception. Due to changing federal non-regulatory guidance, shifting migrant populations, and ever-changing service needs, identification and recruitment plans must be flexible. Currently the majority of migrant recruiters in the State of Kansas are hired by local school districts or projects where migrant recruitment is only a part of their job. The primary focus of these recruiters is the mission of the district with a priority of meeting K-12 educational needs.
In the revised ID&R Plan, the recruiters described above will be referred to as Tier I recruiters. The state currently employs close to 70 Tier I recruiters. Their scope of service is limited to the school district or the project with little or no ability to recruit outside defined boundaries, school hours, or school calendar. However, the state has a need to recruit in areas outside current projects and to address the needs of migrant children who may not currently be enrolled in school districts or other educational settings.
Hence, the revised ID&R Plan will include Tier II recruiters that will be referred to as regional recruiters. The state will be divided into six regions covering western, central, and eastern parts of the state with dissecting lines separating the north and the south. This system will require nine regional recruiters that have a state-wide perspective with an emphasis on migrant children from birth to five years of age and those that are outside current K-12 educational settings in project areas. In non-project areas, regional recruiters will recruit migrant families with children birth through 22 years of age and/or out of school youth. Regional recruiters may also assist any district if necessary.
The revised ID&R plan requires having two hiring agencies, Southwest Plains Regional Service Center in Sublette serving southwest and northwest Kansas. Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush will serve north central, south-central, northeast and southeast Kansas. Though the regional recruiters cover six regions, all regional recruiters will be employed by one of the 2 above listed agencies. It is essential that both of these agencies and all recruiters ensure collaboration, coordination, and a state wide perspective.
Not only will this revised ID&R plan be cost effective, but it will extend recruitment services throughout the summer months and will fill geographic gaps currently not being addressed. The intent is that a referral network will develop between Tier I (LEA) and Tier II (regional) recruiters. For example, Tier I recruiters might refer families with children below the age of five or with older children who are not currently enrolled in educational settings while Tier II regional recruiters could refer families with school age children to local or Tier I recruiters. This referral network will increase the likelihood of addressing family needs with support services outside the realm of the school district.
The revised ID&R plan will continue to advocate a state wide perspective in the supervision and staff development of Tier I and II ID&R personnel.
The plan will have a State ID&R Coordinator located at the Kansas State Department of Education. The State ID&R Coordinator will be responsible for the coordination of all recruitment efforts of the Tier I (LEA) and Tier II (regional) recruiters.
The responsibilities of this position will include:
• Directing the identification and recruitment efforts for the State of Kansas
• Review of time and effort logs of all recruiters
• Coordination of activities of Tier II recruiters
• Identification of training/mentor needs of individual recruiters
• Collaboration with the Staff Development Specialist
• Review of Qualifying Activities
• Evaluation of the quality of recruiter performance, and
• Evaluation of the effective use of staff development
The plan also includes an ID&R Staff Development Coordinator responsible solely for the staff development of the entire state.
The responsibilities of the ID&R Staff Development Coordinator position will include:
• Development and presentation of Fall and Spring ID&R meetings in each of the six regions.
• Providing staff development sessions at the Summer State Migrant Conference.
• Develop and provide training for all new recruiters and seasoned recruiters for the state.
• Implementing individual ID&R Staff Develop Plans (SDP) addressing the specific training needs of the recruiter.
• One day on site visitation with each recruiter to review the SDP and the progress toward meeting its objectives.
This delineation of responsibilities clearly separates the tasks of staff development and recruitment efforts.
This revised ID&R Plan will: a) blend local and state wide perspectives, b) provide year-round recruitment and c) provide ID&R coverage for the entire state with a focus on all aspects of the migrant population and the support services required by the unique demands of migrant lifestyle.