People providing services to schools, teachers, and students want to know whether these services are effective. With that knowledge, a project director can expand services that work well and adjust implementation of activities that are not working as expected. When finding that an innovative strategy benefits students, a project director might want to share that information with other service providers who could build upon that strategy. Some organizations that fund programs for students will want a report demonstrating the program’s success.
Determining whether a program is effective requires expertise in data collection, study design, and analysis. Not all project directors have this expertise—they tend to be primarily focused on working with schools, teachers, and students to undertake program activities. Collecting and obtaining student-level data may not be a routine part of the program. This book provides an overview of the process for evaluating a program. It is not a detailed methodological text but focuses on awareness of the process. What do program directors need to know about data and data analysis to plan an evaluation or to communicate with an evaluator? Examples focus on supporting college and career readiness programs. Readers can apply these processes to other studies that include a data collection component.