a) Boulmetis & Dutwin use three guiding questions to lead us in resolving the question of why to evaluate (4 possible points):
- There are several benefits that an evaluation of the Rich Kids, Poor Kids scenario would provide. An evaluation would produce data that would show the course’s areas of success as well as areas of concern. The data would show the value of the course. This would include the course’s components such as training sessions and seminars. The result of the evaluation would provide its overall effectiveness and the impact the course has on all of the stakeholders involved. If the results of the evaluation prove it is effective, that would benefit the possibility of marketing the program all over the nation. Essentially, a thorough evaluation could answer the “why” for many stakeholders involved. There are also limitations in using an evaluation. One of the biggest limitations is that just because an evaluation takes place, regardless of the results, there is no guarantee that a change will be made. When a program is evaluated, the disclosure of information will open up the possibility of scrutiny and criticism. Since one of the goals of the program is to possibly go nationwide, this evaluation could possibly hinder that depending on the results.
- One of the biggest factors to consider is who the evaluators are. The credibility of the evaluation will be directly linked to the evaluators. It is important to use a skilled evaluator. It is also necessary to accept the results even if those results change the path designed for the course. Even though different stakeholders will have a different reason to evaluate, in this case, the evaluation needs to provide enough data to prove that the course is successful and effective.
- When considering the Rich Kids, Poor Kids scenario, the results of the evaluation could be used to decide the future of the course. Parts of the course that were shown as effective and successful should be continued. If there are parts that are not effective, the either should be eliminated or there should be a plan put in place to figure out how to improve them. Sharing positive results with the stakeholders can go a long way with giving them an answer to “why” the program should continue.
b) Look back at the assignment you did last week (week two). You described a potential program to evaluate for your Evaluation Report project, or you used the on-going garden scenario in the B&D book. Now having read chapter two, you can answer the following questions in reference to that evaluation project … or change to another evaluation project if you’ve changed your project since last week (4 possible points):
- I have decided to change what I referenced last week which was the iPads and Osmo kits. I am now considering evaluating our school fundraiser that is coming up in October. We have been using this fundraiser for a few years now and it has never been evaluated. It seems to be successful and is our only fundraiser that the elementary holds. I believe this fundraiser would benefit from an evaluation because it has never been done formally. The data from this evaluation would show how successful this fundraiser actually is. It would be a wonderful way to show all the companies and individuals that donate why they should continue to donate. Seeing the “why” through data can be very satisfying.
- First of all, the biggest limitation is me being a very inexperienced evaluator. The credibility of the evaluator is of high importance for a successful evaluation and I am not sure how credible I am without much experience. Another limitation would be exposing the fundraiser to criticism and scrutiny. If the evaluation would provide results that weren’t expected or negative in nature, it could potentially hold back companies and individuals that donate to and support our school if the “why” isn’t clear.
- Our school relies on one yearly fundraiser. This fundraiser provides funding for technology, field trips, and other activities that the state doesn’t fund. Without this fundraiser, our small, rural school would have even fewer opportunities. Since this fundraiser hasn’t ever been formally evaluated, I think that it could provide data that would show how effective and successful it is, as well as point out any areas that could be improved. Overall, it would benefit our elementary, our community, and my classroom/students because we have benefited directly from the funds raised in the past. I am also a member of the community and a parent. Seeing the results of the evaluation would be of high interest to me.