One of the main services provided by our research team is program evaluations. Clients who have never engaged in a program evaluation often contact us and report that they have just received a grant for which a program evaluation is required and they are unfamiliar with what a program evaluation is and why they would want to do one. I will address these questions first and leave you with five tips for planning a successful program evaluation.
When we perform a program evaluation, we are critically investigating a program’s activities, characteristics, and outcomes. Evaluations typically require us to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data to inform program implementation, to improve program effectiveness, and to monitor program outcomes (Patton, 1987).We conduct different types of program evaluations, including formative and summative evaluations.
In a recent post about Project Based Learning, an animation video project was mentioned.
Researchers gained direct insight about their project from Animation group students during a site visit to one of the elementary schools. Students were busy writing a student-created script based on a true story, as relayed by a grandmother of one of the student’s. The story revolved around the grandmother whom, as a child, was hiding in a closet with her siblings during a military invasion. An opposing soldier found the young children hiding and allowed them to live. Students relayed the story with enthusiasm and a sense of seriousness that seemed beyond their elementary years. Some students diligently worked on creating a “set” made out of construction paper and shoeboxes, while other students tweaked the storyline or created “people” out of Popsicle sticks and clay. Other students sat at computers to design and adjust the animated sections. Their work was not only thoughtful, intricate, and elaborate, but was meaningful because it came from a true experience and was interesting. It became obvious to researchers during the course of the visit that the students were not only engaged in their project, but were motivated to make the necessary adjustments to the scripts, thereby practicing their reading, editing, and critical thinking skills over the course of the program.
Kay Fukuda and the other folks over at Student Equity Excellence and Diversity (SEED) provided us with copies of the actual student-created videos. One video is the animation itself and the other one shows the project process. Pretty neat! We have updated that post with the videos. Check out the PALS (After-school) PBL section and the Want to Learn More? sections to see them.
Fans of the sitcom hit, Seinfeld, will remember the episode where George decides his instincts are always wrong and he makes the pledge to "do the opposite" of his instincts. Consequently, he gets a girlfriend, a job with the Yankees, and moves out of his parent’s house. In George’s case, doing the opposite led to a host of positive outcomes, could this same concept be applied to some common strategies used by educators to improve teaching and learning?
Over the last eight years, we have provided professional development around teaching and learning to educators around the country. Essential premises of the training include simple, but often counter-intuitive strategies that often fly in the face of methods typically used by educators. The following brief identifies and describes five effective strategies for improving teaching and learning as identified by our research and consulting teams.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is crucial to outfit students with the tools needed to succeed in a competitive global economy. Teachers, administrators, and caregivers play an essential role in preparing students to be knowledgeable life-long learners and responsible, contributing citizens. While educators are under an insurmountable amount of pressure to educate students, we beg the question, “Why not have a little bit of fun while you’re at it?” The Project Based Learning (PBL) approach helps teachers and students to expand their skills, supports standards-based curricula, aligns with school and district goals, and promotes an atmosphere of exploration, relevance and, wait for it. . . fun, in the classroom!
Well, look what surfaced today from the bowels of our archives. A poem on Powerful Teaching and Learning, left to us at a conference a few years back.
I’m so glad to see you here
Beautiful, isn't it?
Applications Due: September 16, 2013 at 5:00 P.M.
The BERC Group recognizes the impact access to books play on student’s literacy skills and reading development. We are happy to support First Book—Seattle, a local chapter of First Book, which is a national organization that promotes literacy and book ownership among children from birth to age 18. The goal is to get books into the hands and homes of children in King County. The fall grant cycle is open to any registered First Book Recipient Group, including classrooms and grade level teams at Title 1 schools, or day care centers, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies that serve at least 70% of children from low income families.
The grants will allow teachers, librarians, administrators, or program leaders to purchase brand new books from the First Book Marketplace at no cost and no delivery charge. Grants will ideally provide six books to each child and will be integrated into the educational mission of the program or organization.
Priority is given to applications that:
Application Process and Deadline
Please visit the Request for Proposal page for more info and for the Grant Application Process:
Questions? Please contact Jennifer Preisman, Recipient Group Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past eight years, we have had the opportunity to provide evaluation services for Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) programs in Washington, Hawaii, and Alabama. Through this experience, we have observed the positive impact of these programs and the promising practices that are developing from the partnerships.
What are Math and Science Partnerships?
The intent of the MSP federal grant program, which funds approximately $175 million/year, is to encourage partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHE) and high-need school districts focused on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Each of the MSPs features an alliance of an IHE and the K-12 school system working together to create high quality professional development opportunities for teachers. The overarching goal of these efforts is to increase student achievement in mathematics and science. Professional development activities focus on increasing teachers’ content knowledge and instructional skills along with ongoing collaboration to:
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