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Data Collection and Evaluation

It is important to develop an evaluation design in the planning stages of your program. Evaluation is an on-going process that you will use to identify program strengths and needs, and make continuous improvements. Evaluation involves collecting data pertinent to your program goals and analyzing that data to determine if your program is achieving those goals. This section will assist you in setting up a plan for evaluation.
The 21st CCLC Evaluation Guidebook and copies of statewide reports can be found here. Current Nebraska 21st CCLC grantees can access evaluation information on My21stCCLC>Content>Evaluation.

First Steps

  • Meet with your Management Team to design your evaluation plan
  • Identify individual(s) to provide evaluation support
  • Understand the reporting requirements of your grant (if applicable)
  • Review your program goals and decide what questions you need to answer
  • Select an evaluation design and determine your methods of data collection
  • Develop an on-going evaluation plan based on the continuous improvement process model including how to use the data collected for program improvement.

Design Your Evaluation Plan

Afterschool Evaluation 101: How to Evaluate an Expanded Learning Program, Erin Harris, Harvard Family Research Project, is one resource that can be used for developing an evaluation plan. This document will walk you through the early planning stages, help you select the evaluation design, the data collection methods best suited for your program, and help you analyze the data and present the results.

Identify Individuals Who Will Be Able to Provide Evaluation Support

  • Recruit a qualified evaluator (or individuals to provide evaluation support). You will want the evaluator to be involved in the development of your evaluation plan. Check with your local school district to see if they have contracted with an evaluator for other programs. That evaluator might be able to evaluate your program as well. Local universities might also have experienced evaluators.
  • Determine the evaluator job responsibilities.
  • Budget for the local evaluator’s compensation. Some districts have an in-house evaluator who will provide services as an in-kind contribution. Other programs hire an external evaluator and allocate funds needed for ongoing evaluation.
  • Conduct interviews with evaluator candidates. evaluator interview questions

Review Goals and Choose Indicators

  • The management team should review and confirm the goals established by the planning committee. The program could identify one goal or several goals, depending on program needs.
  • Discuss how the program’s activities will contribute to reaching these goals.
  • Identify indicators for each of the program’s goals. An indicator is a quantified measurement that can be taken repeatedly over time to track progress. Your group could brainstorm many indicators before deciding on one or two to measure.

For example, a program goal might be to improve academic performance. One strategy would be to improve homework completion for participating students. To reach this goal, your program would likely offer homework help as an afterschool activity led by certified teachers or qualified volunteers. Your indicator will be to increase the number of completed assignments and the quality of those assignments, as reported by classroom teachers. Be sure the indicator is relevant to the goal, and the data necessary to analyze the indicator can be collected.

Data Collection

There are various ways to collect data. Your method of collecting data will depend on your indicator. Here are some common ways to collect data:

  • Attendance should be taken at the immediate start of the program each day. Preferably, enter attendance data electronically each day to keep up on data entry. Also, back data up and save hard copies of all attendance files. Monthly Attendance Record
  • Surveys can be given to a range of stakeholders such as community partners, parents, students, program staff and school staff. Survey Tips
  • Interviews, like surveys, can be given to a range of stakeholders. Interviews provide the opportunity to ask for additional information and understand program details.
  • Information and reports from the school district can provide essential information for evaluating your program (student demographics, grades, test scores, attendance records). Be sure all staff practice confidentiality with student information.
  • Miscellaneous information can provide a different snapshot of your program for your evaluator. Save newsletters, meeting minutes, pictures, staff journals, activity calendars, student portfolios and other projects.
  • Observation methods can address important issues such as program environment, safety and wellness, program administration, relationships, interactions, professional development opportunities, program activities, student engagement, program sustainability and program/school/community/family partnerships.

Tips for an On-going Evaluation Plan

  • Develop an evaluation calendar for the year. This will help your program stay on track for your evaluation activities such as data collection, deadlines, written reports and other grant requirements.
  • After the evaluator processes the data and completes summary reports, review this information with the management team. Discuss whether or not the program was successful in reaching identified goals. As a group, decide on future goals and strategies to reach those goals as part of the continuous improvement process.
  • Inform stakeholders of the outcomes from the evaluation. Discuss future goals with program staff. Review results with community partners. Inform parents and staff about any changes based on evaluation results. Share success stories with the community.