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How Will We Know We Made A Difference?

Kids smilingFormative and summative evaluation are integral parts to the development of any project or initiative. Evaluation doesn't have to be difficult or cumbersome. Once you have developed and implemented a family engagement program, the next step is to evaluate your progress. Evaluation should be conducted planfully and be both formative (on-going/are we doing what we said we'd do?) and summative (at the end of an activity or school year/did it make an impact?).

Why Evaluate Your Program?

You should evaluate your program to help you:
  • Determine what is and is not working
  • Show staff, parents and community what the project or initiative does and its benefits
  • Identify weaknesses, strengths and next steps

Common Concerns About Evaluation

Some common concerns about evaluation are that perhaps evaluation diverts time and resources away from the program. However, because evaluation helps to determine what does and does not work, it funnels resources to effective practices. Another common concern is that evaluation increases the burden for staff. In reality, staff can greatly benefit from evaluation because it provides information that can help them improve their work, learn more about the program and participant needs and validate their success.

A few quality elements of evaluation include:

  • Valued by teachers and formal school leaders
  • Part of a thoughtful plan that is long-term in nature and employs frequent learning sessions
  • School-wide
  • Carefully linked to other aspects of the school
  • Sufficient time for learning
  • High levels of administrative support and involvement
  • Intensive support over time
  • Grows from student-driven data and school results

Resource Downloads
Below are a number of resources and examples to assist you in designing your evaluation plan. Many tools can be used initially (baseline and/or needs assessment) and also be used later to evaluate progress.

Click the folder below for more resources.


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