I’m Marco Muñoz, Evaluation Specialist at Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY) and Past-President of the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE). Today, I am writing about evaluations within a large urban school system.
Lessons Learned: In a recent presentation at CREATE, we discussed how heuristic practices help when it comes to evaluation and research practices in a large urban district (see this article). Using case study methodology, we examined accountability, planning, evaluation, testing, and research functions of a research department in a large urban school system. The mission, structural organization, and processes of research and evaluation are discussed in light of current demands in the educational arena. The case study shows how the research department receives requests for data, research, and evaluation from inside and outside of the educational system, fulfilling its mission to serve the informational needs of different stakeholders (local, state, federal).
Four themes related to a school district research department are discussed: (1) basic contextualization, (2) deliverables of work, (3) structures and processes, and (4) concluding reflections about implications for policy, theory, and practice. Topics include the need for having an evaluation model and the importance of having professional standards that guarantees the trustworthiness of data, research, and evaluation information. The multiple roles and functions associated with supplying data for educational decision making is highlighted
Hot Tip: We need to have a framework as well as clear guidelines. Without a doubt, The Program Evaluation Standards is an outstanding source to guide your evaluation work in school systems. In addition, we have to know the difference between research and evaluation and one of the best resources continues to be the now classic book by Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Worthen entitled Program Evaluation: Alternative Approaches and Practical Guidelines. I would also highly recommend the use of the Encyclopedia of Evaluation edited by Sandra Mathison, since it will help you with quite a bit of topics.
Rad Resource: Daniel Stufflebeam developed a Program Evaluation Checklist. It may be downloaded from the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University along with a number of other evaluation-oriented checklists.
If you have any ideas or resources to share regarding evaluations within a large urban school system, please add them to the comments for this post.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching (CREATE) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of CREATE. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.