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Our past two posts covered both the “why” of measuring implementation and some of the common challenges to doing so. In this third and final post, we’ll look at what is most useful to measure.

Implementation measures are particular to each program and should take into account the specific actions expected of program participants: who is doing what, when, where, how often, etc. Participants may be teachers, students, administrators, parents, advocates, tutors, recruiters, or institutions (e.g., regional centers, schools, community organizations). Specific measures should help stakeholders understand whether, how, and with what intensity a program is being put into place. Moreover, for programs with multiple sites or regions, understanding differences among them is critical.

ELAMinutesbyGradeLevel

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In our last post, we shared four reasons why educators should be measuring implementation: here we’ll look at four common challenges to strong implementation measurement.

Enrollment

1. Differential definitions. What happens when different units of your program operate with different working definitions of a measure?

Take tutoring, for example, in a multi-site program, where each site is asked to report the number of hours per week a participant is tutored. Site A takes attendance and acknowledges that, although the after school program runs for 1.5 hours, only .5 hours are spent tutoring. So Site A reports the number of days a student attends, multiplied by .5: e.g., if Jose attends for 3 days, Site A reports 1.5 hours of tutoring. Site B calculates 1.5 hours of tutoring per day times 5 days per week, per participant: So if Jose is a participant that week, regardless of how often he attends, Site B reports 7.5 hours of tutoring. (more…)

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Understanding implementation is critical to both program improvement and program evaluation. But measuring implementation is typically undervalued and often overlooked. This post is one of three in a series that focuses on measuring implementation when evaluating educational programs.

ImplementationSummary

“Fidelity of implementation” ranks next to “scientifically based research” on our list of terms thrown about casually, imprecisely, and often for no other reason than to establish that one is serious about measurement overall. Sometimes there isn’t even a specified program model when the phrase pops up, rendering fidelity impossible. Other times we think all stakeholders are on the same page and so don’t bother to measure implementation at all.

That should change. Here’s why. (more…)

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Photo credit: Gillian Laub
Photo credit: Gillian Laub

U.S. school systems are crafting new approaches to desegregation in response to increasing evidence of growing racial isolation and strong evidence of the value of integration. Assuring the success of these initiatives, including creating and sustaining community support, requires clear thinking about measurement and evaluation. And while translating the rich body of integration-related social science research to actionable evaluation can be daunting, avoiding simple “box score” approaches to integration measures can help districts achieve deep, sustainable reform. We, therefore, propose a framework for evaluating broad-scale desegregation initiatives that considers:

  • Integration Policy Implementation: the barriers and facilitators of policy adoption
  • Integration Policy Outputs: the immediate, multi-layered outputs of policy implementation (the “box score” done better)
  • Integration Policy Outcomes: student achievement, critical thinking, school connectedness, school climate, and community support

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Operation Patriotic STEAM, Ft. Belvoir Elementary School
Family STEM Day at Ft. Belvoir Elementary School

The Department of Defense recently announced the 2016 round of Grants to Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs (MCASP), designed to support military-connected schools. These have been important programs for schools that serve military families and students, and our evaluations of MCASP programs have shown them to be effective. If your school or district serves military connected families, you should review the application and consider applying. (more…)

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