National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement-Professional Learning Communities
Evaluation is doable with resources and a shared understanding. Whether carried out by external evaluation experts or in-house practitioners serving in an evaluative role, well-designed evaluation practices can help provide substance and direction to family engagement initiatives and increase the chances that strategies will lead to desired outcomes. External evaluators and practitioners each have unique perspectives to bring to bear, which collectively can enrich the field’s understanding of evaluation approaches. Evaluation experts, for example, can help identify best practices to implement, but might use research terms and strategies new to practitioners and families. Those who are more directly engaged in education/family services bring expertise from the field that evaluators may need to digest in order to best serve the initiative. Regardless of one’s perspective, developing a common understanding of the key processes that drive evaluation can help advance family engagement efforts.

In the first session of the Evaluation PLC, presenters will address why a shared understanding of “outcomes” matters and discuss some ideas of desired outcomes based on their experiences working with programs in the field. Participants will share their own examples of “outcomes” for their program audience and discuss how to articulate them for the purposes of evaluation—whether they are practitioners handling evaluation internally or working with an external evaluator. By participating in this Evaluation PLC, you will come away with a deeper understanding of how to formulate desired outcomes for your family engagement program, which will help you create more targeted activities and indicators related to your goals and increase the odds of your program’s success.
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