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
The evaluation team obtains background information, including documents containing goals and objectives, procedures, and processes of the program, as well as organizational charts and job descriptions. 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
The evaluation team uses program information to formulate research questions. Research objectives are developed based on the research questions.
Identify Performance Indicators
The evaluation team identifies and agrees on indicators of success in a program. These performance indicators are evaluated against established criteria for effectiveness. The evaluation team reviews the literature to discover and analyze “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
The evaluation team uses the performance criteria established as measurements of success 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, the team documents findings related to the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of the program. 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
The evaluation team makes recommendations, balancing the interests and concerns of parents and students, staff members, and the community/taxpayers. An extensive report of findings and recommendations is prepared for the Superintendent.