This report describes the basis from which the ATE program was created and conducted and the evaluation work that has shadowed this program for the past seven years. It traces the program’s work and reach to community colleges and others since the beginning of the ATE program. It analyzes ATE solicitations to show linkages between the program guidelines and program productivity and then describes this evaluation’s design and data collection methods to show why and how evaluative data were collected. The following evaluation findings both describe and judge the program in various respects.
Findings from the evaluation show that the program is healthy and well run. Nearly a fifth of the nation’s two-year colleges have been funded at least once by this program, and those funds have resulted in substantial productivity in funded and collaborating institutions and organizations. Major strengths of this program are evident in its materials development, professional development, and program improvement products. Large numbers of students and teachers have participated in this program—taking courses and graduating or otherwise being certified. Business and industry have collaborated with colleges in developing and conducting these programs with perceived substantial benefits from that involvement.
Multiple strands of evaluative information describe and confirm that the program produces important outcomes of good quality. Though consistently positive, these findings are highly dependent on testimony/feedback as a primary quality assurance mechanism. We believe additional project/center-based direct evidence of program effectiveness and quality would strengthen claims of quality and provide important information for program improvement. Suggestions are made that we believe will improve the ATE program; these suggestions are viewed as small changes designed for incremental improvement.