Review of the Literature
Once a program is selected for evaluation, a thorough search of educational literature is conducted to identify best practices in similar programs.
Preparation of the Evaluation Proposal
Prior to an evaluation, an evaluation proposal is prepared outlining the parameters of the study including benchmarks for measuring success.
Compile Program Information
Background information, including documents containing goals and objectives, procedures, and processes of the program, as well as organizational charts and job descriptions are obtained. Questions are posed to staff members to elicit their perspectives on the program, including its purpose, “customers,” history, and the allocation of resources. Individuals are asked about their responsibilities and the steps involved in performing essential tasks. Individuals also are asked about internal and external working relationships, about problems and challenges they face, about specific issues or concerns, and about any recent changes or improvements in the program. Individuals are invited to share written information such as procedures and forms.
State Research Questions and Research Objectives
Program information is used to formulate research questions. Research objectives are developed based on the research questions.
Identify Performance Indicators
Indicators of success in a program are identified. These performance indicators are evaluated against established criteria for effectiveness. The review of the literature helps to identify “best practices” of related programs and to identify standards typically applied to similar programs. Information from the review of the literature is used to identify potential areas for improvement through the application of new methods and standards.
Design Methods of Data Collection
Performance criteria established as measurements of success are used to guide the collection of data. Data collected are used to answer the research questions. In all cases, questions relate to the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of the program, focusing on those who deliver and receive services.
Report of Findings and Recommendations
Upon completion of the evaluation, findings related to the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of the program are documented . Findings report the degree of correspondence between actual performance and criteria for measuring success, including the following:
- What conditions exist in contrast to the performance criteria being used
- Causes of the conditions
- Effects of the conditions on the program
Recommendations are made, balancing the interests and concerns of parents and students, staff members, and the community/taxpayers. A report of findings and recommendations is prepared for the Superintendent.