K-12 Education

APEP Staff Go to The Evaluator’s Institute

July 22, 2011

Lessons from Education
While many of us are worried about the debt ceiling crisis and the flailing economy, recent headlines in several major newspapers including The Washington Post and The New York Times are directing our attention to the dismal state of our public education system. Much of the debate is focusing on teacher incentives; philanthropy would do well to consider the danger of overemphasizing scores and statistics at the expense of all else.

A Systems Map of a Passionate Kiss
If you think evaluation is boring, you have not yet met Michael Quinn Patton, creator of many of today’s evaluation frameworks. Yesterday in a developmental evaluation training at The Evaluator’s Institute (TEI), Patton asked all participants to test out their understanding of systems theory by mapping out all the systems involved in “a passionate kiss.” Our group of thirty came up with systems such as culture, biology, emotions, environment, and legal—to name a few. Read up on systems theory and developmental evaluation in Patton’s latest book.

To Code, or Not to Code; That is Not the Question
Rather, in a qualitative data analysis seminar at TEI, Patricia Rogers had us ask: why are we analyzing the data in the first place? Before you reach for your data analysis toolbox, think: are you seeking to understand the complexities of a policy, for example, or testing a theory about the causes of observed outcomes? Or maybe just hoping to provide your funders with a memorable narrative? Only with an aim clearly defined can we confidently turn to the options for analysis—coding included.