Evaluation Methods

ERC's evaluation methods include:

Descriptive Statistics that describe the characteristics of program participants, their participation levels, and group means on expected outcomes.

Correlational Studies to examine statistical relationships between program participation ("dosage") and expected outcomes.

Quasi-Experimental Comparisons to see if statistically significant differences exist between the outcomes of participants and a control group using matched-pair or non-equivalent control group deigns.

Time Series Designs to determine the impact of a program over multiple years by examining the changes in an outcome measure prior to and in the years following the implementation of a program or intervention strategy.

Surveys that are customized to yield information that program providers are interested in. This may include pre- and post-surveys that measure changes in attitudes, beliefs, or self-reported behaviors – or satisfaction surveys to obtain critical feedback for program improvement from program participants, providers, or other constituents useful for program improvement. We collaborate with our clients in every step of the survey process, from constructing the survey, deciding on sampling methods, and displaying the results. Our surveys are in multiple languages when needed, and can be administered online for convenience.

Focus Groups to obtain in-depth information about programs from the perspective of specific stakeholder groups (students, parents, teachers, administrators, etc.). We also use focus groups to understand hard-to-measure program outcomes. Our team is experienced in all aspects of focus groups including cooperation with school administration or program staff in the recruitment of participants, creating effective questions, establishing rapport, asking follow-up questions, and facilitation of the group process.

Structured Interviews to gain the perspectives of key individuals regarding a program's implementation or outcomes. Interviews add depth and meaning to our evaluation, telling the story behind the numbers, and revealing program details not captured by quantitative methods.

Observations of classroom instruction, out-of-school time programs for students, and professional development activities for teachers or school administrators. Observation rubrics, protocol, and schedules are planned in collaboration with our clients.

Case Studies that offer a multi-dimensional program evaluation, ERC uses a case study approach that may combine quantitative data analysis with surveys, focus groups, interviews, or observations. This approach helps our clients identify model programs, most effective practices, and produces detailed recommendations for programs and practices in need of improvement.