Program Evaluation the Anoka-Hennepin Way
Inclusive Flexible Sustainable Committed to involving both internal and external experts and stakeholders in the evaluation process Acquiring the ability to effectively evaluate a wide variety of programs and processes in varying contexts Dedicated to developing the capacity of the district to employ and use evaluative thinking as an intentional, uniform and cost effective way of operating
We are committed to:
Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB)
–“intentional work to continuously create and sustain overall organizational processes that make quality evaluation processes routine.” (Stockdill, Baizerman & Compton, 2002)
All evaluation activities in Anoka-Hennepin are designed to facilitate evaluative thinking in program participants and embed evaluative practice into work routines. Evaluation does not mean more work; rather, it makes work more meaningful.
Participant-Oriented Approach to Evaluation
Evaluation activities are designed to reflect the needs of program participants -- their experience, expertise and concerns. Multiple perspectives garnered from multiple data sources are represented, described and, ultimately, reconciled. In a participant-oriented approach to evaluation, addressing stakeholder interests is the primary purpose of the evaluation.
Evaluation activities do not occur in isolation, rather in concert with ongoing organizational changes driven by a commitment to continuous improvement and responsiveness to stakeholder needs. Information gathered through evaluation facilitates discussion and decision making relative to organizational development and change.
In addition, school districts are complex systems and therefore, require flexibility and fluidity in conducting evaluations, “being mindful about and monitoring what is emerging” (Patton, 2006). Developmental evaluation incorporates “long-term, partnering relationships between evaluators and those engaged in innovative initiatives and [program] development. Developmental evaluation includes asking evaluative questions and gathering information to provide feedback and support developmental decision making and course corrections along the emergent path” (Patton, 2006).
“Appreciative inquiry is an approach to seeking what is right in an organization in order to create a better future for it.” (Coghlan, Preskill, Catsambas)
The use of appreciative inquiry with many program participants facilitates the identification of pockets of excellence, revives enthusiasm and positivity in participants and moves away from the problem-solving paradigm while moving the organization toward its vision.