Evaluating what you propose
to do is often the weakest link in a proposal, because few grantseekers
actually develop a plan for measuring and reporting project results.
Some grantwriters ignore evaluation altogether. Remember, when
someone gives you money to solve a problem, the question in the
funder's mind at the end of the project is going to be: "Did
Evaluation of your program
is really a lot easier than you might think. Just think of it
in terms of the following question: how will you measure your
success? When you write your evaluation plan, you must match
each objective with a corresponding evaluation criteria. Proposals
that include evaluation components have clearly thought through
the program development process and have determined ways to identify
and document what worked and what didn't.
Be sure to read the Request
for Proposal (RFP) carefully for specific evaluation procedures.
In general terms, you will:
describe your evaluation
criteria and identify how you will indicate success.
detail all procedures that
will be used, including instruments, surveys, checklists, etc.
create a REALISTIC plan
(not complex; keep it simple).
When I write an evaluation
plan, I like to clearly identify:
the methods and procedures
to be used to evaluate all of the project's components.
instruments to be used in the evaluation of the program.
persons responsible for the program evaluation (this might be
a project employee, a school or district employee, and/or an independent
evaluation feedback information will be used to improve the program.
In a project timeline I like to indicate when and how we will
review our progress and formally mark our milestone events along
A Ten Step Plan
Whereas your needs assessment
identifies the problem or the current situation, your program
suggests specific activities intended to "bridge the gap"
from what is to what is wanted. In a sense, as you plan your program,
you are also looking for "expected outcomes." Your
evaluation of your project will document these expected outcomes
and may even find a few surprises along the way.
I offer a ten-step process
for creating your evaluation plan.
1. Decide on the scope of
What will you attempt to
2. Decide which tasks to evaluate.
Which parts of your program
will you evaluate: student outcomes, teacher staff development
gains, implementation strategies, etc.?
3. Decide evaluation questions
It helps if you phrase your
evaluation plan as questions.
4. Decide which instruments
or procedures you will use.
Will you count on standardized
testing to show gains in student achievement? Will you create
an attitudinal questionnaire for project participants and look
at pre- and post-testing? Will you look for levels of concern
as you implement your program? Will you look at case studies?
5. Decide on the respondents
for each instrument.
Which of your program participants
will take which identified instrument for example, teachers may
take a different attitudinal questionnaire than parents or students
6. Decide when to gather the
Will you do so pre and post?
Quarterly? Every other week?
7. List what to do and who
will do it.
8. Estimate the cost of the
9. Make a timeline for the
10. Decide how you will interpret,
communicate, and act on the findings.
Here is a brief example.
Using the scenario from our previous lessons, in this evaluation
plan I try to capture what has taken place and how we will look
at improving the program as we continue to implement the project.
As you remember, this project was to help English Language Learners
access the core curriculum, especially in science. Through the
use of graphic organizers and HyperStudio projects, English language
learners gain access to core curriculum content and experience
in reading, writing, and communicating. Here was my evalution
surveys will be used for formative and summative evaluation at
the school-wide level. Teachers will report on and evaluate the
effectiveness of staff development, trained parent assistants,
access to multimedia equipment, student peer aides, Project Coordinator
support, and their peer coaches by observing their students' progress
as they produce their projects. Students will complete a written
evaluation of their training experience as well as evaluate their
classmates' projects. Teachers and parents involved in the project
will attend a monthly project evaluation and troubleshooting meeting.
Dr. Garcia will write the final report with the assistance of
the Instructional Technology Specialist. The report will be delivered
to the State. We also plan to share our student projects at our
local and statewide Computer Using Educator conferences."
looks at process.
This type of evaluation concerns your procedural design and program
is keyed to your program objectives and determines the degree
to which your objectives have been achieved.
Your Evaluation Plan
Your homework is to create
your proposal's evaluation plan. Begin by creating an evaluation
component for each objective. Determine which instruments you
will use. Keep it simple. If you have developed a product or
if your process is the product, determine how you will share this
with others (dissemination).
Just as a side note, often
educators want to "increase student self-esteem" or
create a "greater interest in school." These intangibles
are often difficult to document. In these cases you could design
original questionnaires or attitude surveys. You could also interview
and/or use case studies. These supplemental instruments should
be placed in an Appendix, if allowed by the RFP. Remember to
"test" your instrument on a small sample for clarity.
Is your instrument giving you the kinds of results you need to
determine your program's effectiveness?