Survey Design for TANF Caseload Project: Summary Report and Recommendations. Common Measures Used, Pros and Cons


The survey instruments varied widely on the types of measures they included. The WES, Missouri, and Nebraska surveys included questions that asked whether a respondent attended a GED class or other educational training class in the past year, and whether a respondent took any courses that trained them for a specific job. In the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census for more than 50 years, respondents are asked if, during the past 12 months, they ever attended GED classes, job readiness training, a job search program, a job training program, or a work experience program.

In addition, the WES and Illinois surveys gathered detailed information about programs attended during the past year. Questions included the number of programs attended, the hours attended per week, the type of program, the skills learned, whether a job was found as a result of attending the program, and why a respondent stopped attending a program. Only one instrument, SPD, asked whether the respondent was required to participate in work program activities and whether he or she was doing unpaid work as part of their job training.

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