Fall is a time when many projects funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program are gearing up for a new year of work. So this issue of EvaluATE’s newsletter highlights resources that project personnel can use to educate themselves about their roles and responsibilities in evaluations—whether they are starting their first project or entering a new phase of work. Evaluation shouldn’t be something that is “done to” a project and its people. Project staff should be involved in evaluation planning and implementation, and communicate regularly with their evaluators to ensure the evaluation produces useful and timely results.
How to Work with an Evaluator
The Center for the Advancement of Science Education’s Principal Investigator’s Guide: Managing Evaluation in Informal STEM Education Projects describes what principal investigators (PIs) need to know when it comes to evaluation. PIs don’t necessarily have to be skilled in the technical aspects of conducting an evaluation, but they should be able to engage effectively with evaluators. Chapter 4 of the guide provides practical tips on collaborating with evaluators through all phases of a project.
Get Your Evaluation off to a Great Start
There are three simple things PIs can do to set the stage for a great evaluation:
- Schedule regular meetings with the project evaluator.
- Work with the evaluator to create a project evaluation calendar.
- Create a system to keep track of the project’s activities and accomplishments, as well as who is involved.
Read Lori’s new blog to learn more about these tasks.
Communication: The Key to a Successful Evaluator-PI Relationship
Establishing communication expectations and protocols at the start of a project evaluation can help everyone avoid headaches, misunderstandings, and wasted resources down the road. Review EvaluATE’s new Communication Plan Checklist to learn about four key aspects of ATE PI-evaluator communication that should be clarified at the start of an evaluation.
Thank you to everyone in the ATE community and beyond who took the time to review and pilot EvaluATE’s Checklist for Program Evaluation Report Content. At various stages of the checklist’s development, we received feedback from 42 individuals, including 24 who pilot-tested the checklist. All reviewers who agreed to be named are listed in the Acknowledgments section of the document.
Meet EvaluATE’s Evaluation Fellows
EvaluATE’s first evaluation fellow cohort has been selected. You can meet them at the ATE PI conference. Congratulations to our new fellows- we look forward to working with you this year.
- Jennifer Bellville
- Evelyn Brown
- Gabrielle Gabrielli
- Megan Mullins