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Practicum on

DATA VALIDATION

U.S. Department of Labor


Employment and
Training Administration 1
Overview
• Background & Basics
• Federal Requirements
• Issues/Findings from Federal Reviews
• Exercise: DEV with WIA NEG Record

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USDOL’s Data Validation (DV) Initiative
• To support President’s Management Agenda
and respond to data quality issues cited by
oversight agencies
• DV Directives
– Eight guidance letters/notices to date
• Initial Guidance – TEN 14-02 (5/28/03)
• TEGL 3-03 and related changes
• Latest Guidance – TEN 9-06 (8/15/06)
• All performance-related guidance at
www.doleta.gov/performance

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How Does Validation Work?
• Two separate processes required to ensure
performance data are reliable
– Report Validation
– Data Element Validation
• Report Validation (RV) ensures performance
calculations are accurate
• Data Element Validation (DEV) ensures the data
used in the calculations are accurate

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Understanding the Distinction
• SCENARIO
– A State reports an Adult Entered Employment Rate of
78% based on a numerator of 975 and a denominator of
1250
– The EER calculation is based on percentage of adults not
employed at participation who were employed in the 1st
quarter after exit
– Other operational parameters apply, such as Transitioning
Service Members* are automatically considered not
employed at participation and included in calculations

*TSM – Within 12 months of separation or 24 months of retirement

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Data Quality from Perspective of RV
• For instance,
– How do we know the 78% is correct? Does the
denominator consist of the “right” exiters (e.g.,
those not employed at participation)? Are all TSMs
included in calculations as required?
– In other words, are the calculations correct; did the
State follow federal reporting specifications
correctly?

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Data Quality from Perspective of DEV
• For instance,
– How do we know those individuals identified as
TSMs were actually within 12 months of separation
or 24 months of retirement from the service?
– For those “employed in the 1st quarter after exit,”
what if the exit date was actually in a prior quarter?
– In other words, were the data used to generate the
calculations correct to begin with?

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The Bottom Line
• Are the calculations reported by the
State accurate based on federal RV
reporting specifications?

• Are the data used in the calculations


accurate? DEV

• It’s all about Data Quality !

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Federal Requirements
• Report Validation
– Programs that submit “year-end” aggregate reports must
validate their reports prior to submission
• WIA, Wagner-Peyser, VETS (not Trade)
– RV is largely a technical function, performed at state level
by IT staff
– NOT the focus of this session
• Data Element Validation
– Pertains to ALL programs (but is minimal in case of LX)
– Involves checking data in participant records against
allowable source documentation to verify compliance with
federal definitions
– Elements “pass” or “fail” validation

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More on DEV
• ETA provides Data Reporting and Validation Software
(DRVS), which generates a sample of participant
records to be “inspected” by State staff
• Except in the case of labor exchange programs (LX or
Wagner-Peyser/VETS), DEV is very labor intensive
because it involves state staff conducting reviews of a
sample of participant records from across the state
– Random sample for WIA and Trade
• Typical sample for WIA might be ~1200 records
• Typical sample for Trade might be ~150 records
– 25 records for LX

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More on DEV (cont’d)
• For each participant record in the sample, a “DEV
Worksheet” is generated that contains the elements selected
for validation that apply to the specific participant
• State Validators use the appropriate federal guidance (e.g.,
validation handbook) to note allowable source
documentation and check the accuracy of each element
– Documentation must either MATCH the element or
SUPPORT the element
• Most source documentation is located at the One-Stop level
(wage record information stored at State level)

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Summary
• States are required to report accurate data and USDOL
has oversight responsibility
• USDOL requires RV and DEV (as applicable) and
provides tools to assist, including software
– Many states also use the software for reporting, although
this isn’t required
– User Guides and Handbooks for each program include
allowable source documentation for critical data elements
• Guidance states USDOL will monitor state DV efforts
– This has begun!

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Issues/Findings from Federal Reviews
What are some of the key macro-
level issues affecting states’
ability to report accurate and
consistent data?

What are some of the key micro-


level issues affecting data
quality as per federal reviews?

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Macro-Level Issues Related to DV
• Issues affecting State ability to collect and report
accurate and consistent data
– Flexibility in federal guidance (what, but not how)
– Major changes to state management info systems (MIS)
– Limited monitoring (state and federal)
• Issues affecting State experience/compliance with DV
– Identifying roles of different unit/staff (TAA in particular)
– Communication of expectations and requirements to local
areas
– Lack of a comprehensive data management strategy (e.g.,
including monitoring of sub-grantees)

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Data Element Validation Issues
• Most Common DEV Issues
– State failure to request or ensure complete case files
– State staff not validating wage-related information as
required
– Changes to wage record data not documented
– Incorrect, outdated or misapplied definitions of data
elements (e.g., employment status at registration was
used prior to PY05, incorrect capture of race and
ethnicity)
– Lack of MIS manuals or data collection guides to assist
sub-grantees

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Data Element Validation Issues (cont’d)
– Lack of compliance with federal requirements pertaining
to unique identifiers (particularly for those co-enrolled in
TAA and WIA)
– Quality of case notes varies dramatically
– Incorrect and inconsistent dates within files (dates of
participation, training, training completion, exit, date of
birth)
• Although Local (sub-grantee) staff have limited control over
some areas, there is much that can be done locally to
improve the structure and content of case files

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Exercise

Experiencing DEV:
WIA NEG Case File

[Our thanks to the State of Tennessee]

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“Setting Up” The Exercise
• We are conducting PY05 DEV, using PY05 validation
policies and instructions
• What You Have:
– Copy of WIA NEG case file with pages numbered (1-61)
– DEV Worksheet
– Source Documentation Instructions
• For PY05 validation, instructions were part of TEN 9-
06, dated 8/15/06
• PLEASE MAKE NO MARKS ON THE CASE FILE OR THE
DOCUMENT CONTAINING SOURCE DOCUMENTATION;
THESE MUST BE RETURNED AS IS
• Only write on the DEV Worksheet

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“Setting Up” the Exercise (cont’d)
• About This File
– eCase Management and Activity Tracking System or
eCMATS is Tennessee’s MIS
– Participant is female, single mother, under 30
– National Emergency Grant (NEG) received as result of
permanent closure of facility in 2002
– Concurrent enrollment noted (TAA, W-P, Voc Ed., Rapid
Response)

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DEV Exercise
• Elements to be Validated (exactly as appears on
worksheet)
1. DislocationDate Note:
Sometimes you need to
2. ProgramParticipationDate “decipher” what the element
3. ProgramExitDate means (e.g., “ExitEmployed1”
actually means employment in
4. NEGProject1 first quarter after exit)
5. FirstCoreServiceDate
6. FirstIntensiveService
7. DateEnterTraining
8. DateExitTraining
9. TrainingService1
10.ExitEmployed1
11.ExitEmployedMatch1
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Data Element: Dislocation Date
• Called “Date of Actual Qualifying Dislocation” in source
documentation
• The “value” is 12/06/2002

• Allowable source documentation


– Verification from employer; rapid response list; notice of
layoff; public announcement with follow-up cross-match
with UI; self-attestation

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Program Participation
Date
• Called “Date of Program Participation” in source
documentation
• The “value” is 09/16/2003

• Allowable source documentation


– State MIS Information

• Does it Pass or Fail?

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Data Element: Program Exit Date
• Called “Date of Exit” in source documentation

• The “value” is 09/30/2004

• Allowable source documentation


– WIA status/exit forms, state MIS data, case notes

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: NEG Project No.
• Called “National Emergency Grant Project Numbers” in
source documentation
• The “value” is 0160
• Allowable source documentation:
– Case notes or other file data specifying the particular
layoff or emergency the precipitated enrollment. The
project number for the grant(s) should be included.
• Does it Pass or Fail?

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Data Element: 1st Core Service Date
• Called “Date of First Staff Assisted Core Service” in
source documentation
• The “value” is 09/16/2003

• Allowable source documentation


– State MIS data

• Does it Pass or Fail?

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Data Element: 1st Intensive Service Date
• Called “Date of First Intensive Service” in source
documentation
• The “value” is 09/16/2003 (same as 1st core service)

• Allowable source documentation


– State MIS data, case notes

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Date Entered Training
• The “value” is 01/06/2004

• Allowable source documentation


– Cross match between dates of service and vendor
training information, vendor training documentation, state
MIS, case notes

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Date Exited Training
• Called “Date Completed or Withdrew from Training” in
source documentation
• The “value” is 03/29/2004

• Allowable source documentation


– Cross match between dates of service and vendor
training information, vendor training documentation, state
MIS, case notes

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Type of Training Service
• The “value” is 6 WIA reporting instructions contain codes
– 1=OJT
– 2=skill upgrading and retraining
– 3=entrepreneurial training
– 4=ABE or ESL in combination with training
– 5=customized training
– 6=other occupational skills training
• Allowable source documentation

– State MIS data, case notes


• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Employed 1st Qtr After Exit Qtr

• The worksheet refers to this element as


“ExitEmployed1” and the source documentation refers
to this as “Employed in 1st Quarter after Exit Quarter”
• The “value” is 1, which means YES

• Allowable source documentation


– UI wage records, WRIS, supplemental data sources
defined by TEGL17-05, State MIS

• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Data Element: Type of Employment
Match
• The worksheet refers to this as “ExitEmployedMatch1,” but
the source documentation refers to this as “Type of
Employment Match 1st Quarter After Exit Quarter”
• The “value” is 1, which means “UI wage records and
WRIS”
• Allowable source documentation
– Follow up services, surveys, record sharing and/or
automated record matching with other employment and
administrative databases, other out of state wage record
systems, case notes
• Does it Pass or Fail and based on what?

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Thank You!

In God we trust. All others


must use data.
W. E. Deming

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