Thesis: Educational Program Evaluation

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Program Evaluation Parts I and II

Program Evaluation Plan: Treca Digital Academy Grades K-3 Curriculum

Program evaluation could be called the most important factor for maintaining a successful educational program. Without a proper program evaluation, it is difficult to determine if the program is reaching its intended goals. Program evaluation is necessary in order for curricular programs on all levels to achieve accreditation and endorsement from outside agencies. Developing an appropriate strategy for program evaluation is the key to performing an acceptable program evaluation.

The popularity of online schools is bringing some important issues to light. Many of these issues concern the ability to learn using only the computer and limited teacher interaction. Grades K-3 are critical in the development of skills that will form the foundation of the rest of the educational program. The following presents the program evaluation plan that will be used to evaluate the curriculum and delivery of that curriculum in grades K-3 at Treca Digital Academy.

The program evaluation plan will examine the following topics regarding the chosen program:

Current trends and state of the program

Purpose of the Evaluation

Program Goals and Objectives

Analysis and Action Plan

Cost Analysis

Resources

Intended Audience

Time Frame

Current Trends and State of the Program

The first task will be to examine the current state of the program. This evaluation process will use three primary tools to accomplish this goal. The evaluators will conduct a needs assessment to identify the various stakeholders and to determine their needs. It is expected that key stakeholders will include the Treca Digital Academy K-3 students, their parents, the Treca Digital Academy Board of Directors and staff. Secondary stakeholders typically include community members, but in this case, the student and teacher population is dispersed over a larger geographic area, using the Internet to form the classroom. Therefore, the individual communities will serve as secondary stakeholders. However, the benefits and other effects of the program will be diffused, as opposed to a school that is located in a single geographic location.

Next, the evaluators will conduct a process evaluation to determine the program's ability to adapt to the needs of the stakeholders (Priest, 2001). The process evaluation will focus on how the processes within the curriculum relate to the goals and expectations of various stakeholders. The processes within the program must meet the expectations of stakeholders, otherwise the program will not be successful in achieving its goals. In this case, the goals of Treca Digital Academy are to provide a high quality alternative to brick and mortar schools. This evaluation will help to determine its ability to accomplish this task.

The third aspect of the evaluation of current trends consists of a feasibility study to determine if the program is likely to be successful considering the constraints of available resources. An examination will be limited to legalities, funding, staff, time, and resources. It will examine resources that are available now and those that are anticipated to become available in the future. In this case, the school operates from a central office and via satellite offices scattered throughout the area. The school does not have the same cost and operating structure as a traditional brick and mortar school. It provides every student a free computer and equipment through which school is conducted.

Purpose of the Program Evaluation

The purpose of the program evaluation will be to evaluate the ability of Treca Digital Academy and its ability to offer results similar to brick and mortar schools without the high cost.

It will also examine the ability of the program to offer students a comparable education to that found in traditional brick and mortar states throughout the operating area. The study will provide data for the stakeholders that will help them to determine if the program is something that they wish to continue to sponsor in the future. It will provide valuable insight into the ability of the program to meet its end needs, with success similar to that of a brick and mortar school. The ability to achieve the intended goals is paramount to willingness of stakeholders to continue to fund this program.

Program Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the evaluation will be to asses the following areas. '

1. Academic performance of students, as compared to students in a brick and mortar school.

2. The preparedness of K-3 students for Ohio Academic Tests and other required standardized tests.

3. The ability of the curriculum to serve the needs of the larger community and the individual communities in which students live.

4. The ability of the program to operate and achieve its goals in the future.

The evaluation plan will be implemented with the goals used as a bridge to the gaps between the current state of the program and the desired end state of the program. An outcome evaluation will be conducted to determine if the program is meeting its desired objectives. Throughout the process, formative evaluation techniques will be used to evaluate the programming sequence of diagnosis, delivery, debriefing, and disembarkation.

Formative evaluation tasks include:

1. Tracking grades of academic students and the development of accumulative grade point average throughout the test period.

2. Tracking academic progress throughout the test period.

3. Tracking of test scores on Ohio Achievement Tests and other standardized tests throughout the test period.

4. Tracking the number of students who continue in the program against those that reenroll in the brick and mortar school during the evaluation period.

The focus of the goals and objectives will be to determine what the end state of the program will look like. Treca Digital Academy offers a complete curriculum for their students and this curriculum is a continual work in progress, but a vision of what the program wishes to achieve will be clearly laid out in the goals and objectives. The academy is continually working on ways to improve the curriculum and to improve the performance of their students.

Summative evaluations will be conducted that reflect the present state of the program, when compared to the established goals and objectives of the program. This evaluation will be repeated at the end of the program to determine if the program has improved its ability to achieve the goals and objectives of the study. Summative evaluation will provide a means to determine if the goals of the program are being met. Summative tasks include:

1. Interviews conducted at specified time periods throughout the evaluation process.

2. Regular summary reviews of academic performance.

Summative evaluation will provide the means to analyze strengths and weakness of the program, in addition to formative evaluation. Summative evaluation serves as the means to assess goal achievement definitively. Formative evaluation focuses on the process and what is going on at the present time. Summative evaluation focuses on all of the past achievements and ties it to future goals expectations.

Finally, a needs assessment will be conducted both at the beginning of the process and at the end of the process to determine the current and end needs of the program. The needs assessment will differ from the above mentioned summative evaluations in that it will not examine the success of the program in achieving these goals. It will only address the needs of the program so that other evaluations can be compared to the needs to determine if the needs of the stakeholders are being met.

Analysis and Action Plan

This section of the evaluation plan will focus on data collection, analysis of the data, and the steps that need to be taken to reach the end goals of the evaluation. In order to accomplish this task a review of the goals and objectives of the program will be conducted. Quantitative and qualitative research techniques will be used to collect data regarding the current state of the program. Quantitative data will focus on academic performance of the students. Qualitative data will consist of a series of interviews among those on all levels of the program. Quantitative data will be analyzed to determine if the program is meeting specific performance criterion. Qualitative data will be used to enhance and add depth to the statistical data. It will provide insight into the reasons for trends found in the statistical analysis. Qualitative data will be analyzed using thematic analysis.

Once both the quantitative and qualitative data have been analyzed, the strengths and weaknesses of the program will be identified. The data will be examined in relation to the expected outcomes of the program. The final report and recommendations will be derived from the data analyzed using these two primary techniques. The recommendations will include both academic and curriculum improvements, as well as administrative improvements that need to be addressed at Treca Digital Academy.

Cost: benefit Analysis

A cost: benefit analysis of Treca Digital Academy will be conducted that examines the resources currently available to the program. It will examine the future needs of the program in terms of materials and funds. These costs will be compared to the desired… [END OF PREVIEW]

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