ERIC Number: EJ791545
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 86
Building a Contextually Responsive Evaluation Framework: Lessons from Working with Urban School Interventions
Thomas, Veronica G.
New Directions for Evaluation, n101 p3-23 Spr 2004
The past two decades have witnessed a significant growth in the number of school improvement programs and in the accompanying efforts to evaluate such programs. Passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002 has intensified the need for evaluations to assess and understand the quality and value of educational interventions. Well over a decade ago, Oakes (1986) argued that evaluation studies of reform efforts did not attach particular importance to the fact that schools fail to serve all students equally well. In large part, this assertion is still relevant in the current climate of educational reform and evaluation. Schools are often viewed as neutral institutions, and their reforms are presented as color and affluence blind. Traditional school reform efforts fail to address such issues as the unequal quality of school facilities, programs, curricula, counseling, expectations, and instruction. Clearly, the contexts (both micro and macro) of urban schools make the design, implementation, and evaluation of school-based interventions complex matters. The recent school reform movement has focused on raising student achievement, responding to demands from the general public and policymakers alike. Special attention has been given to reforming public education for students who are most often placed at risk for academic failure: low-income, minority students in urban public schools. Some of the more popular reform models implemented in schools that serve low-income and minority students include the Coalition of Essential Schools, School Development Program, Accelerated Schools , and Success for All. More recently, the Talent Development Model of School Reform was designed by the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR) as an alternative approach to educational reform that squarely addresses some of the cultural and contextual issues ignored, missed, or minimized in other reform models. This model is grounded in the themes of stakeholder engagement, co-construction, responsiveness, cultural and contextual relevance, and triangulation of perspectives. It asserts that all students can learn to high standards when key stakeholders are committed to such a goal and hold themselves to high standards. This article discusses the concepts of the Talent Development Model of School Reform and provides recommendations for evaluators conducting evaluations in urban settings.
Descriptors: Urban Schools, Federal Legislation, Low Achievement, Academic Achievement, High Risk Students, Educational Improvement, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Evaluation Research, Context Effect, Evaluation Methods, Public Education, Poverty, Models, Academic Standards, Educational Change, Change Strategies, Intervention, Disadvantaged Youth
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/browse/?type=JOURNAL
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001