[Assessment 1492] Re: Using Data
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Tue Dec 9 11:23:25 EST 2008
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In Pennsylvania we have a statewide program improvement initiative
that uses a specific Practitioner Action Research (PAR) model. Each
program chooses its own area of inquiry, based on its data. These
data may be hard data (scores, hours, enrollment numbers, etc.) or
other data, based on our Indicators of Program Quality (for example,
the quality of the adult education classroom environment or depth of
partnerships). Last year, there were 61 projects conducted by PA
Family Literacy sites. Topics ranged from increasing enrollment or
retention hours, implementing scientifically-based reading research
in the adult classroom, improving children's oral receptive
vocabulary, to increasing referrals from partners. In the spring we
hosted regional poster shows where programs showcased their projects
and results. Each program also submitted a monograph that detailed
their question and background to it (the data), the interventions,
data sources, results, reflections, and implications for the field.
Monographs can be found at our website
www.pafamilyliteracy.org. Left side, click on SEQUAL project, then Monographs.
The website also includes the PAR handbook that helped the programs
identify a problem based on data, intervention, choose best data sources, etc.
I evaluated the process to ascertain practitioners' perceptions of
the inaugural year of the intentional, systematic PAR process. While
it added a layer of work, most felt that it empowered them as
practitioners and gave their program "teeth." What was also important
is that this allowed them to show highlights of their program and
program improvement that mere data do not always capture (e.g. data
reported to the state and feds.) Programs used data to inform their
question and chart their success. Analyzing and reflecting on the
data made it more than mere numbers. This evaluation report is also
on the website. It includes a summary of the outcomes from the
projects and the perceptions of the participants on the research process.
Penn State University
Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy