(1) Break students up into groups. Provide them with a real or fictitious agency and ask them to design an evaluation plan based on the types of evaluations explained in this chapter. Here are some examples of agencies and programs that can be used:
(a) Scared Straight Program--This program provides prison visits for juvenile delinquents or at-risk youth. Participants are treated as an inmate, must meet with inmates and program staff, and must meet with a parent through the prisoner visiting center.
(b) Goodwill Homeless Services Network--A program that provides access to resume building, technical training, and other resources to help homeless people find long-term employment.
(c) Kripalu Center for Yoga--A rehabilitation program for those dealing with addiction that utilizes yoga and healthy living practices in their approach to improve the lives of those addicted to drugs and alcohol.
The groups should answer the following questions in their plan: What research methods would you use to collect data? What kind or type of evaluation(s) would you do? What research question(s) will you be addressing?
(2) The D.A.R.E. program has been the subject of several dozen of evaluations over the years. Prior to class, print out several different evaluation reports. Break the students into groups and give them one of the reports. They should review this evaluation focusing on the methods and conclusions and prepare a short summary. The D.A.R.E. program has been through many changes recently. These changes are available for review at www.dare.com under the “About” and “Mission/Vision” tabs. Students should summarize the current approach and compare to the current approach to the findings in the evaluation report they reviewed. Are the findings of the evaluation report reflected in the current approach? Have the groups present their findings and lead a discussion on how evaluation results are (or are not) used.
(3) Instruct students to go to the American Evaluators website (http://www.eval.org/). Here, they can explore the publically available library (http://comm.eval.org/browse/communitylibraries) where evaluators share reports, blog posts, and the likes. Instruct students to choose a library entry that they find particularly interesting that they can summarize in a short presentation to the class to the class.
Individual and Group Activities
(1). Evaluation research is a big industry! Two examples are provided by Mathematica Policy Research and the Policy Evaluation and Research Center at Educational Testing Services. Summarize their work.