Edtech 505- Assignment for Week Four
** Does my project represent research or evaluation? How do I make that decision?
After reading Chapter 8, I have determined that I am performing an evaluation, not research. The goals of the evaluation fall in line with the goals of evaluation. For instance, I am going to be analyzing what happens/happened during the Reading Buddies program. Second, I will be analyzing the outcomes of the Reading Buddies program, i.e. if students learned citizenship values, if they learned how to use the strategies and if the program connected the school to the community around them.
** Does my project involve sampling? If so, what type of sampling will I employ?
The results from the surveys, interviews, logs, and quizzes were from the same population of people. Even though there were more than 100 people involved in the program, it is still relatively small enough to use everyone instead of just taking a sample. I had all of the surveys, interviews, logs and quizzes for a week so it was not necessary to only use a small sample of the findings. I think that with this program, it’s better to see the bigger picture instead of a small group. Especially since the findings are going to be shown to the Board of Education at Clarkston Community Schools and the Service Learning Group in Lansing, it would be better to see the entire program instead of a small group.
2. Chapter 1
After looking back at Chapter one, several things keep popping up in my head. First, my evaluation is both formative and summative. I am interested in the results at the end of the project but also in the processes that happened during the program. Although I am not so interested in the efficiency of the program (in terms of cost, because there is very little), I am more concerned in analyzing the effectiveness and impact of the program. The results from the evaluation will allow me to create a list of recommendations on elements of the program that need to be changed due to ineffectiveness, or elements of the program that could be improved upon with expansion of some kind due to the effectiveness. I am really looking forward to finishing the evaluation to see what I can do to really help the program succeed and flourish in the future.
This chapter really sums up my over all feelings about this class with this big idea of evaluation and its place in education. The chapter really summed up the reasons for evaluation in a simple way: benefit sponsors, new opportunities and the impact of the outcome. I thought it was interesting that they did speak about the concern of the staffs that their shortcomings would be put to light. I think that with my particular project, this is not a huge concern as the educators that were a part of the project are more than willing to take some constructive criticism if need be.
This chapter was extremely useful. I think a lot of times it is extremely difficult to gauge who needs to be a part of the process. When I took 501 and we did the Technology Planning, we had to figure out who in the schools and community would need to be involved. The answer is simple yet sometimes overwhelming: anyone who has anything to do with the project/program or anyone that reaps the benefits of that project/program directly or indirectly. I think that one of the most interesting sections of this chapter had to do with monitoring. It is essential and necessary in order to get data that reaches all aspects of the project/program.
After reading this chapter, I am feeling a little concerned about my own EPD for this project. It is a vital piece of the evaluation and when I began to write it, I felt a tad overwhelmed. This chapter spells it out perfectly; what should be included and what should be left out. I also decided after reading it that I needed to have another sit down with the Academic Service Learning Coordinator of Clarkston Schools in order to really piece the program together better so that I am representing it in the best possible light.
This chapter was a little much to take in. It seemed like every time that I had my project pegged as having one type of model, another one sounded better. I’m not sure if it is possible to have an evaluation project that encompasses more than one type of evaluation model, but it was difficult to decide. In the beginning of the project, I thought that I wanted to figure out WHY the results occurred in testing (i.e. due to poor teaching, or students not learning the objectives well enough, etc) and so it would fit under the Discrepancy Model. However, after really analyzing my goals, it would appear that my project speaks more to the actual effect that it had on everyone involved which fits better under the Goal Free Model.
This is the part of evaluation that I really enjoy: the results. This entire chapter spoke about the different types of data sources. For my own project, I have qualitative and quantitative. The chapter explained the difference between the two types, which was a nice reminder. In my project I am using tests, surveys, interviews and reflections. The reflections come from observations that teachers and administrators made before, during and after the program happened.
Data Analysis: my least favorite thing about evaluation. I was concerned in the beginning when I read about standard deviance and variance. I think I have a basic understanding but in my project, I doubt I will try to navigate those waters. I will most likely use an average when discussing student results and administrative results.
Chapter 8 was a little frustrating at first. I know the difference between research and evaluation but it can get a little tricky. I think that a lot of times these two sometimes seem overlapping. In my own project, I discussed the outcomes of a project in order to help the program continue to grow and thrive. Evaluation has more to do with learning about the program and what it’s doing in order to give an accurate report to the people who fund it so that they can make changes to improve the program.
The only thing that I worry about after looking back over Chapter 9 is my ability to be objective. I do believe in this program and feel that it is worthwhile, although I know that it is imperative that as an evaluator you try to be as impartial as possible. I think that when I read the examples of recommendations for the zoo project from the book, I felt like the evaluator somewhat leaned towards the effectiveness of the program but also made recommendations for improvement. I guess I will just have to really think about how I word things so that it does not appear biased.