For those starting out in program evaluation or who have very limited resources, they can use various methods to get a good mix of breadth and depth of information. Implementation includes examining the congruity between the instruction to students and the goals of the program, whether the implemented curriculum is reaching all students, how well the system is organized and managed to deliver the curricular program, and the adequacy of the resources and support. Their only advantage lies in their low cost in comparison to experimental research. Secondary components of the framework include systemic factors, intervention strategies, and unanticipated influences. Even if the evaluation turns up major problems with the intervention, that's still important information for others - it tells them what won't work, or what barriers have to be overcome in order to make it work.
Programs must be evaluated to decide if the programs are indeed useful to constituents. Deduce the program effect by comparing the activities of the two groups. Some of those who might use your results include individuals and groups affected by the issue; service providers and others who have to deal with the problem in the case of youth violence, for instance, this last group might include police, school officials, small business owners, parents, and medical personnel, among others ; advocates and community activists; and public officials and other policy makers. The selection of variables was often critical in determining if a comparative study was able to provide explanatory information to accompany its conjectures about causal inference. Does a smoking ban in public buildings, bars, and restaurants lead to a decrease in the number of community residents who smoke? Curricular programs must be carried out within the constraints of academic calendars and school resources, so decisions on priorities in curricular designs have real implications for what is subsequently taught in classrooms. An evaluator also needs to consider the possibility of including multiple measures; collecting measures of prior knowledge from school, district, and state databases; and identifying methods of reporting the data. Using Results for Action and Improvement Reporting and Using Evaluation Results: This course will help AmeriCorps State and National programs understand the importance of communicating and disseminating evaluation results to stakeholders; write an evaluation report and become familiar with other key reporting tools; and determine meaningful programmatic changes based on evaluation findings and learn how to implement them.
On the other hand, depending on the focus of your evaluation, you might want groups that are essentially similar, to see whether your work is consistent in its effects. Appropriate Assignment of Students Decisions concerning student placement in courses often have strong implications for the success of implementation efforts and the distribution of effects across various student groups. Understanding how the issue plays out in the community, the nature of relationships among groups and individuals, and what life is like in the neighborhoods where participants live will help a great deal in analyzing the evaluation of the program. Outcome evaluation or impact evaluation H ow well did the program work? For such purposes, some of the reported studies may be of sufficient applicability. We found it necessary to consider attention given by evaluation studies to the intervention strategies behind many of the programs reviewed. Reporting Reporting and Using Evaluation Results: This course will help AmeriCorps State and National programs understand the importance of communicating and disseminating evaluation results to stakeholders; write an evaluation report and become familiar with other key reporting tools; and determine meaningful programmatic changes based on evaluation findings and learn how to implement them. Then an evaluation expert helps the organization to determine what the evaluation methods should be, and how the resulting data will be analyzed and reported back to the organization.
If the program involves groups - classes, support groups, etc. By framing questions carefully, you can evaluate different parts of your effort. Is that still better than not eating the healthy foods? Determine if populations that can benefit from the program are being served well. Building Capacity for Participatory Evaluation within Community Initiatives. How do you choose questions and plan the evaluation? Select Data to Be Collected and a Data Collection Plan Data collection is the process of taking measurements on the indicators that will be used to answer the evaluation's specific research questions. As mentioned previously, curriculum programs may vary in relation to their alignment to standards and accountability systems.
The influence exerted by parents and special interest groups differs from systemic factors in that they are closely affiliated with the local school, and can exert pressure on both students and school practitioners. You choose your evaluation questions by analyzing the community problem or issue you're addressing, and deciding how you want to affect it. If you're an outside evaluator or academic or other independent researcher Up to this point, we've largely ignored the evaluation difficulties faced by evaluators not directly connected with the organization or institution running the program they're evaluating. Such studies may be helpful in documenting cases where a strong clash in values permeates an organization or project or where a cultural group may experience differential effects because their needs or talents are typical Lincoln and Guba, 1986. Determine what information is most needed and when.
Further criteria for inclusion or exclusion were developed for each of the four classes of evaluation studies identified: content analyses, comparative analyses, case studies, and synthesis studies. Determine if funding is being used as intended. We chose a framework that requires that evaluations should meet the high standards of scientific research and be fully dedicated to serving the information needs of program decision makers Campbell, 1969; Cronbach, 1982; Rossi et al. Don't promise anything you can't deliver on, and make deadlines reasonable, so you can meet them. Currently, the entire clearance process may require five to eight months.
Let's look first at the process you as an independent researcher might follow in order to choose and gain access to a setting appropriate to your interests. Alternatively, a curriculum might be designed to appeal to a particular subgroup, such as gifted and talented students, or focus on preparation for different subsequent courses, such as physics or chemistry. In other words, what constitutes participation? These designs do not use valid or reliable data collection methods to account for any of the possible external influences that might have caused the observed difference. Utilization-focused evaluation: The New Century text. Emphasize on the readability of the evaluation document if it is a written one. Even the goal oriented evaluation questions help the evaluator to understand what is being done for achieving it. There are interactions between the choice of sites and the choice of participants here.
Most curricula evaluators use tests as the primary tool for measuring curricular effectiveness. Are participants being reached as intended? The following information has been taken from the , which BetterEvaluation helped to develop. We believe that effectiveness must be judged relative to curricular validity of measures as a standard of scientific rigor. First of all, curricular effects accrue over significant time periods, not just months, but across academic years. Each of these two parts is described in more detail in this chapter. These questions can be selected by carefully considering what is important to know about the program.
The real question here is not whether the issue is important to the field - if it's important to the community, that's what matters. If your program is relatively small this might not be an issue - the participants will simply be all those in the program. Developing a program outcome chart also helps in writing focused evaluation questions. As a practitioner, on the other hand, you'll want to know the effects of what you're doing on the lives of participants or the community. We sought to identify the primary factors that would influence the perceived effectiveness of curricula based on those measures.
Figure 1 provides a roadmap and a listing of key components involved in linking evaluation questions to program outcomes. First, the article describes the key components involved in developing evaluation questions from the start to the end. In this approach, students or other units of analysis e. The program manager may choose to leave most of the decision making for data collection to an evaluation expert; however, a basic understanding of the commonly used alternatives will help the manager evaluate the recommendations offered. The next three steps are directed toward that goal. Similarly, formative evaluation questions look at whether program activities occur according to plan or the project is achieving its goals while it is underway. Because it is in schools with large numbers of students performing below expected achievement levels that the high-stakes testing and accountability models exert the most pressure, it is incumbent upon curriculum evaluators to pay special attention to these settings.