Increasing grant compliance of educational agencies by 93%

Maryland State Department of Education

About the Client

With over 1,400 public schools,24 local educational agencies, and 7,000+ childcare providers(MSDE, 2023), the Maryland State Department of Education is the primary provider of educational services in the state for approximately 909,000 students.

The Challenge

The Maryland State Department of Education was awarded federal funding as a State Educational Agency (SEA) via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program offered by the U.S. Department of Education. As the SEA, MSDE was required to complete periodic program evaluations to document that its public and private out-of-school time programs(sub-grantees) across the state were providing quality programming. MSDE needed to find a way to evaluate its 54 initially funded sub-grantees for a 3-year period. Each sub-grantee had its own program evaluator, and there was significant variation in reporting. Furthermore, not all sub-grantees were compliant with the grant requirements. The COVID-19 pandemic created more challenges as programs had to quickly pivot from in-person to virtual programming, which further exacerbated compliance issues.

The Results

Psychometric Solutions conducted both formative and process evaluations throughout the grant cycle to help the client understand how sub-grantees were progressing toward their stated goals. The results revealed that sub-grantees needed technical support and strategies to facilitate grant compliance, especially during the pandemic. By the end of the grant cycle, sub-grantee compliance with grant requirements increased to 93%. Psychometric Solutions also supported the Maryland State Department of Education by using this information to design its long-term program evaluation plan for the United States Department of Education.