Sample Coursework Paper on Approach and Strategy

The program evaluation will seek to answer the following four questions:
  • To what level have schools incorporated the use of SIM in aiding students with disabilities in learning?
  • Has the program improved students’ cognitive ability and teachers’ skills in handling disabled students?
  • Is the program sustainable?
  • Do the benefits of the program outweigh its costs?

Answering the four questions will help the evaluator gather credible information regarding the outcome and the progress of the initiative within schools. The main purpose of the evaluation is to determine to what level the program has been implemented as well as the rate at which SIM helps improve students’ grades and cognitive ability. Therefore, by focusing on these questions, the evaluator will have a clear understanding of the program. Additionally, the questions will help provide answers to every stakeholder’s question and expectation.

Evaluation Approaches

The evaluation will make use of three evaluation approaches for the purposes of maximizing results and avoiding biases. The approaches include consumer-oriented, objective-oriented, and participant-oriented. As mentioned before, the evaluation process will use both formative and summative techniques to help the evaluator and the rest of the stakeholders understand specific reasons why the program is working or not working as expected. The consumer-oriented approach will be used in the evaluation to help inform the public and most importantly those that are involved in the SIM program on the best ways to make use of the tool for better results (Royse et al., 2010). Additionally, through the consumer approach, the government and other related decision-makers in education programs will get a chance to know the efforts schools are employing to meet the set grade standards and find a way to help in that area. The approach analyses the program both progressively and at the end. As such, it will be possible to advise teachers and students on areas that need reforms and avoid generalizing results. SIM helps students achieve more than the final grade in secondary schools. Things such as decision-making abilities cannot be measured through a test exam; therefore, a consumer-oriented approach will help capture such issues (Reid et al., 2013).

Participant oriented approach also analyses the program as it progresses. The approach will enable the evaluator to get fits hand information from the people affected by the program in a more direct way. Teachers and students will be able to give their views about every stage of the program thus making it easy to implement the required changes for success. The objective-oriented approach focuses on the ability and the levels to which the program achieves the set objectives. Therefore, this approach will be used to analyze how effective has SIM been in improving students’ cognitive abilities and grades (Fitzpatrick et al., 2013). The objective approach focuses on the outcomes rather than the process, therefore, the approach will help the evaluator, and the participants not lose the focus of the purpose of the program.

The Use of Strategies in Program Evaluation

Strategies act as the guide in program evaluation. They help in avoiding biases in evaluation. For this evaluation, the strategies will include collaboration with key stakeholders, determination of desired outcomes, activities, and indicators, as well as the use of different groups of participants to measure the results. Most evaluation fails because the expectations of the program are not uniform among the stakeholders and because the

evaluator used a group that could not benefit from the intervention (Lopez, 2008).

How the Strategies Increase Validity and Credibility

Stating the expected results beforehand helps the evaluator and the rest of the stakeholders focus on the goals of the program and avoids deviating. Since people already know what is expected, it will be easy to invest more in the achievement of the expected results hence increasing the credibility of the program. Additionally, determining the possible outcomes prevents incidences of over-expectations, which can lead to the nullification of a program wrongfully. Moreover, setting process and outcome indicators help the evaluator monitor each step of the program intervention effectively thus avoiding compromising outcomes. Indicators help in identifying an area in the program that needs change rather than generalizing results and compromising the credibility of the program (Spaulding, 2008).

Collaborating with other stakeholders is a good strategy in program evaluation and it helps bridge the gaps of knowledge among stakeholders. Education is a critical issue and many people have different opinions concerning the strategies used to achieve the intended results. As such, the effectiveness of a program evaluation can be compromised when not all the stakeholders are on the same page on the purpose, the expectation, and the validity of the program. Having a discussion with all the stakeholders enhances collaboration and unity of purpose thus making it easy to evaluate the program and come up with an unbiased report. Lastly, the evaluation will use an experimental design where a control group will be used to determine the effectiveness of the program (Pierangelo & Giuliani, 2008). Additionally, the evaluator will assess how the SIM tool is used in different schools rather than one to make the population large enough for generalization.

References

Fitzpatrick, J., Sanders, J. & Worthen, B. (2012). Program evaluation: alternative approaches and practical guidelines. Upper Saddle River, N.J. London: Pearson Education.

Lopez, I. (2008). Performance evaluation: proven approaches for improving program and organizational performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pierangelo, R. & Giuliani, G. (2008). Teaching students with learning disabilities: a step-by-step guide for educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Reid, R., Lienemann, T. & Hagaman, J. (2013). Strategy instruction for students with learning disabilities. New York: The Guilford Press.

Royse, D., Thyer, B. & Padgett, D. (2010). Program evaluation: an introduction. Australia           Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Spaulding, D. (2008). Program evaluation in practice: core concepts and examples for discussion and analysis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.