Performance Audit : Alternative Learning Experience audits

Performance Audit Alternative Learning Experience audits

At the request of the State Legislature, the State Auditor's Office conducted a long-term study of educational outcomes for students enrolled in Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) programs. It involved both performance audit work and financial audits of school districts.

New performance audit, published April 2018, concludes longitudinal study

Learn more about the most recent performance audit here. Using a Tableau presentation, you can explore detailed data about the characteristics of students enrolled in ALE across the state, and about the diverse programs available during the audit period. Read the full report (pdf, 5 mb). Read the two-page summary (pdf, 523 kb). 

With this report, and the companion financial audit capstone report, the State Auditor's Office has met the legislative mandate that prompted this work. Read a letter from State Auditor Pat McCarthy discussing the overall ALE project.

  • Learn more about the financial audits of ALE programs performed by our Schools Team.

Earlier work in the audit series

Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) in Washington (pdf, 2.4mb)
February 2016
Summary:  For the first full report in a long-term study of educational outcomes for students enrolled in ALE programs, performance auditors visited 10 higher performing ALE programs and met with administrators, staff and students to gather their first-hand views of the programs' successes and challenges. Interviewees provided many insights into the way such programs serve students. The review of student data, however, has been affected by continuing data quality problems, which meant we were unable to compare student outcomes from the 2013-14 school year to those of students receiving only traditional instruction.  The report made recommendations to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction that could help improve data reliability. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 87 kb)    

Watch a videocast on this report:



Read the 2015 audit status update (pdf, 689 kb). To prepare for the study, we performed some limited preliminary reviews of student data and found that ALE students differ from traditional students in a number of characteristics including race and ethnic makeup, disability status, participation in specific programs and services, instances of homelessness, and home schooling with part-time attendance.

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