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All Publications & Resources
This Snapshot reviews the role of technology in OST programs, highlighting the evaluation methods and findings about implementation and youth outcomes.
This summit, made possible through a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, brought together after school staff, administrators, researchers, and funders to discuss how quality assessment looks and feels different for after school programs that serve middle school youth.
This issue of The Evaluation Exchange periodical focuses on democratic evaluation. At the forefront of the discussion are equity and inclusion in the evaluation of programs for children, families, and communities, as well as evaluation to promote public accountability and transparency. Katherine Ryan leads off the issue by presenting major theoretical approaches to democratic evaluation. Several contributors examine these different strands, highlighting the importance of power sharing. Jennifer Greene emphasizes the importance of broad inclusion of stakeholder perspectives in evaluations, while Saville Kushner offers guidelines for people and communities to help evaluation reposition itself as a collaborative effort and thereby begin to address the crisis in public trust between the professional bureaucracy and citizens. Kathleen McCartney and Heather Weiss focus on public accountability, especially the conduct of flagship evaluations to maintain their scientific integrity while also serving the public good. Several contributors provide practical methods and tools to promote democratic evaluation, including the facilitation of dialogue, the training of youth researchers, the use of photovoice and cell phone technology, and access to interactive information through the Internet.
This 2-day meeting brought together the perspectives of diverse stakeholders to inspire new ideas and foster stronger links between research, practice, and policy. Participants discussed issues of access, quality, professional development, the role of evaluation research, and systems-building efforts.
This issue of The Evaluation Exchange periodical focuses on evaluation methodology, covering topics in contemporary evaluation thinking, techniques, and tools. Mel Mark, president-elect of the American Evaluation Association, kicks off the issue with a discussion about the role that evaluation theory plays in our methodological choices. Other voices in the issue include Georgia State University evaluator Gary Henry, who makes the case for a paradigm shift in how we think about evaluation use and influence, and Robert Boruch, a Campbell Collaboration founder, who discusses the role of randomized trials in defining “what works.” Other contributors to the issue respond to various “how to” questions, such as how to foster strategic learning, how to find tools that assess nonprofit organizational capacity, how to select and use various outcome models, how to increase the number of evaluators of color, how to enhance multicultural competency in evaluation, and how to measure what we value so others value what we measure. Finally, the issue explores theory of change, cluster evaluation, and retrospective pretests—methodological approaches currently generating much interest and dialogue.
The topic of this issue of The Evaluation Exchange is complementary learning. Complementary learning posits that we can bolster children's learning and achievement by linking and aligning both the school and nonschool arenas in which children live, learn, and play. This means, for example, linking schools with early childhood programs, out-of-school time programs, and other programs based in the community. In this issue we delve into the kinds of mechanisms that can create these linkages and sustain their effectiveness, and highlight promising approaches for evaluating the complementary-learning practices that already exist, both in terms of what outcomes to focus on and what methodologies to use.
This is a special issue of New Directions for Youth Development journal edited by Heather B. Weiss, Priscilla M. D. Little, and Suzanne Bouffard, Vol. 2005, No. 105, Spring 2005. This issue unpacks the construct of participation in out-of-school time programming, posing a three-part equation: participation = enrollment + attendance + engagement.
This panel session at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in Montreal, examined the current knowledge base and future directions for family involvement research and evaluation. Heather Weiss identified priority areas for future research and evaluation and criteria for selecting these areas. Panelists Kathleen Hoover-Dempsey, William Jeynes, Joyce Epstein, and Anne Henderson discussed research and evaluation on parent–child and parent–student–school relationships, home–school communication and parental expectations, school-based partnership programs, and community organizing, respectively.
This article examines both the incentives and barriers that affect adolescents' participation in out-of-school time programs.
The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) Out-of-School Time Program Evaluation Bibliography and Out-of-School Time Program Research and Evaluation Database both provide information on evaluations that have been conducted on sports/recreation and health-related out-of-school time (OST) programs, among other categories.
Priscilla Little presented the workshop Learning What Works: An Evaluation Overview, providing an overview of what we know about after school evaluation. It examines how programs are collecting meaningful data for accountability and program improvement and what they are finding.
This issue of The Evaluation Exchange brings together the current knowledge base of programs in family support and family involvement, providing a continuous perspective on family processes with regard to children's learning and development, from a child's early years through adolescence. Articles address the challenges of evaluating family programs, such as the need for conceptual clarity, methodological rigor, accountability, and contextual responsiveness. Rounding out the issue are examples of ongoing evaluations of parent leadership and organizing to ensure that schools serve all children at high standards.
We teamed up with the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) to present this 1-day Family, School, and Community Connections Symposium: New Directions for Research, Practice, and Evaluation.
Engaging with families is one of the many strategies that out-of-school time (OST) programs use to create quality, adult-supervised experiences for youth during nonschool hours. This workshop introduced participants to the latest research and evaluation findings on family involvement in OST programs, and shared strategies for engaging with families, using two case studies to illustrate these practices in context.
Book chapter on using mixed methodology in the social sciences. In B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds.), Research methods in the social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
This issue of The Evaluation Exchange explores the contribution of technology to evaluation practice, with articles centering on four key areas in which evaluators are using technology: data collection and analysis, collaboration, knowledge mobilization, and evaluation capacity building. Rounding out the issue is a special feature on the role technology plays in fostering youth civic engagement and in evaluating programs for youth.
Evaluation plays a major role in shaping new directions for the field of family support. In her keynote address at the Participatory Evaluation and Parent Engagement Institute, sponsored by Family Support America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in Kansas City, Missouri, September 20–22, 2004, Heather Weiss, Founder and Director of HFRP, described how evaluation can support learning, continuous improvement, and innovation. The four components of a family support evaluation strategy that she outlined were experimental studies to show program impact on families, utilization-focused evaluation to support policy and practitioner decision making, action research and empowerment evaluation, and performance standards based on solid research and evaluation.
Chapter in Discovering Successful Pathways in Children's Development: Mixed Methods in the Study of Childhood and Family Life. Edited by Thomas S. Weisner. Published by University of Chicago Press. This chapter chronicles a mixed-method analysis of family involvement in children's learning, drawing observations about the process and added value of combining methods.
Recognizing the critical role that staff play in promoting quality OST programs, in this brief we examine OST professional development efforts and offer a framework for their evaluation.
This brief reviews developmental research and out-of-school time program evaluations to examine three research-based indicators of attendance—intensity, duration, and breadth—offering different models for how attendance in out-of-school time programs can influence youth outcomes.
This Snapshot describes the common data collection methods used by current out-of-school time programs to evaluate their implementation and outcomes.
This workshop, Redefining After School Programs to Support Student Achievement, provides an overview of current evaluation research, describes elements of effective after school programs, and discusses a theory of change approach to designing and implementing effective after school programs.
This brief culls information from several implementation and impact evaluations of out-of-school time programs to develop a set of promising strategies to attract and sustain youth participation in the programs.
This issue of The Evaluation Exchange charts the course of early childhood programming and evaluation over nearly half a century. Contributing authors offer a range of views on how best to communicate the importance of investing in a child’s early years and how to improve early childhood programs and policies. Several articles consider the explosion of science—from longitudinal studies of child outcomes to a large-scale demonstration program—that has helped forward our understanding of how young children learn and grow. Finally, a number of articles suggest that better information is needed to close the persistent gap in achievement between children from low-income families and those from middle-income homes.
This Snapshot provides an overview of how researchers are evaluating out-of-school time programs’ engagement with families.