How to Develop a Project Evaluation Plan Pat Gonzalez Office of Special Education Programs Patricia.Gonzalez@ed.gov 202-245-7355
Initial Steps in Developing the Outcome Evaluation Plan Identify the program or project’s mission and/or goals and objectives Identify all relevant and important outcomes that should be evaluated Select outcome indicators Identify data sources and data collection procedures
Step 1: Identify mission and/or goals and objectives Clarify the expectations and priorities of key stakeholders/collaborators Get a reasonable level of agreement on goals, strategies or activities and outcomes Develop Goals: Broad statements generally describing desired outcomes Develop Objectives: Measurable statements about outcomes (target performance) expected to be accomplished in a given time frame
More on Objectives… Objectives require detail and must include a target group (who), what is to be done (activities), a time frame (when), and a target performance (how much). 80% (how much) of the 300 participating teachers (who) will indicate that the Transition Toolkit is useful, relevant and of high quality (what) on the second year follow-up survey (when).
Step 2: Identify relevant and important project outcomes Short-term Outcomes typically involve learning: awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills Intermediate Outcomes typically involve action: behavior, practice, policies Long-term Outcomes typically involve conditions: social, economic, civic, environmental
REMEMBER! Focus on Short and Intermediate- term outcomes that can be completed within the grant period
Outcomes are not Outputs! Outputs are the direct products of program activities, usually measured by “volume”, such as the number of classes taught or number of participants served
Sources of information on Program Outcomes Legislation and regulations Purpose statements contained in the RFP Strategic plans, SPPs or APRs State data systems Program descriptions or annual reports Discussions with stakeholders or collaborators Complaint information Performance measures from government agencies or other programs
Step 3: Select outcome indicators Each identified outcome needs to be translated into one or more outcome indicators that state specifically what is to be measured (e.g., the # of teachers passing a test)
Checklist for Outcome Indicators Does each indicator measure some important aspect of the outcome? Does each indicator start with a numerical designation such as : incidence, percentage, rate, or proportion of? Does your list of indicators cover all your outcomes?
Checklist for Outcome Indicators-continued Does your list indicators cover “quality” characteristics, such as timeliness of services? Is the wording of your indicator sufficiently specific? Avoid terms like “appropriate”. What is the feasibility and cost of collecting the indicator? Note that sometimes costly indicators are the most important and should be retained.
Step 4: Identify data sources and data collection procedures Determine if a research design can be used to evaluate effectiveness. There are several quasi- experimental designs that can be readily applied to program evaluation. Identify data sources, such as: extant agency/program records, performance assessments, surveys, observer ratings, and interview data.
Considerations in Determining Data Collection Procedures When will data be collected? Consider your design… When entering the program When completing the program Fixed interval after entering Fixed interval after completing Combination of above
Considerations in Determining Data Collection Procedures-continued Who is considered a participant? Include all participants or a sample? Who will collect the data? How will the data be analyzed?
The Evaluation Plan Implementation Questions Using the information concerning, goals, objectives, strategies/activities and outcomes, develop evaluation questions on implementation: Were the activities completed as intended, on time and did they result in the planned outputs? These questions provide a feedback loop for the purposes of on-going project monitoring.
The Evaluation Plan Outcome Questions Using the information concerning, goals, objectives, strategies/activities and outcomes, develop evaluation questions on impact/effectiveness: How well did the activities address the objectives as measured by the indicators? What changed for the target group either over time or in comparison to another group?
The Evaluation Plan Methods For each evaluation question: Is a research design feasible/which ones? What are the data sources? What methods will be used to collect the data? How might the data be analyzed and reported?
The Evaluation Plan Timelines For each evaluation question: When will data be collected? When will data be reported or used?
The Evaluation Plan Personnel Responsible Who is responsible for data collection, analysis and reporting at each point in the timeline?
SPDG Evaluation Criteria The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives and outcomes of the proposed project. The extent to which the methods of evaluation provide for examining the effectiveness of project implementation strategies.
SPDG Evaluation Criteria - continued The extent to which the methods of the evaluation include the use of the objective performance measures that are clearly related to intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible.
SPDG Evaluation Criteria - continued The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes
Performance Measures The percent of personnel receiving professional development through the SPDG Program based on scientific- or evidence- based instructional practices. The percent of SPDG projects that have implemented personnel development/training activities that are aligned with improvement strategies identified in their State Performance Plan.
Performance Measures Continued The percent of professional development/training activities provided through the SPDG Program based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices. The percent of professional development/training activities based on scientific- or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices, provided through the SPDG Program, that are sustained through ongoing and comprehensive practices (e.g., mentoring, coaching, structured guidance, modeling, continuous inquiry, etc.).
Performance Measures Continued In States with SPDG projects that have special education teacher retention as a goal, the Statewide percent of highly qualified special education teachers in State-identified professional disciplines (e.g., teachers of children with emotional disturbance, deafness, etc.), consistent with sections 602(a)(10) and 612(a)(14) of IDEA, who remain teaching after the first three years of employment.
Performance Measures Continued The percent of SPDG projects that successfully replicate the use of scientific or evidence-based instructional/behavioral practices in schools. The percent of SPDG projects whose cost per personnel receiving professional development on scientific or evidence-based practices is within a specified range.