ERIC Number: ED426495
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
Theories of Change: Making Programs Accountable and Making Sense of Program Accountability.
Aronson, Stacy R.; Mutchler, Sue E.; Pan, Diane T.
Human-service experts have addressed the complex social-service needs of children and families by creating increasingly diverse community-based programs. To assist human-service-program professionals in their efforts, this report explores some new tools for program planning and evaluation that combine results-based accountability systems and a theory-driven approach to design and evaluation. The first section provides a brief description of the policy and practice context for considering results-based accountability and "theories of change" as aids to program design, evaluation, and accountability. Discussed are the advent of the results-based accountability process, as applied to programs for children and families, along with the concept of theories of change as a potential enhancement to the process. The second section, using example scenarios, provides a detailed illustration of how attention to the theories that underlie programs can guide stakeholders as they build and implement complex, community-based initiatives. The final section outlines how program design and accountability strategies that incorporate theories of change and results-based accountability can both assist and challenge local and state policymakers as they weigh the costs and benefits of programs designed to improve the lives of children and families. (RJM)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.