Evaluating Partnerships: What Are We Looking For?

Session Number: 2272
Track: PreK-12 Educational Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: child educational outcomes, partnerships, systems-oriented evaluation, Tools, workforce development, youth-focused evaluation
Session Chair: Annie Wright [Independent Evaluation Consultant - Wright Consulting, LLC]
Discussant: Annie Wright [Independent Evaluation Consultant - Wright Consulting, LLC]
Presenter 1: Kirsten Aleman [Project Manager - Harvard Graduate School of Education]
Presenter 2: Shira Solomon [Independent Evaluator - Solomon Evaluation]
Presenter 3: Cate Samuelson [Research & Evaluation Manager - Napa County Office of Education]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Room: International South 10

Abstract 1 Title: How Partnerships Can Help Your Program Take Root, Grow, and Last
Presentation Abstract 1:

Researchers/program developers form partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs) or intermediary organizations to implement programs and interventions serving children, families and schools in low-income/high needs areas. Often these partnerships are initiated through the receipt of grant funds or under the direction of a research study. However, over the course of the program’s life cycle (development, scale-up, and sustainment), the relationship between the researcher/program developer and the partner shifts and evolves. From the perspective of the researcher/program developer, this presentation will highlight the strengths, challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned about partnership evolution providing ideas for how to evaluate partnerships spanning the life cycle of the program’s implementation.

Abstract 2 Title: What Partnership Measures Can Say About Your Program’s Implementation and Can Do for Your Outcomes
Presentation Abstract 2:

In the program model represented by 21st Century Community Learning Centers, CBO partnerships are an instrumental component of the intervention. The strength of these partnerships reflects implementation factors and affects program outcomes. CBOs’ unique identities as direct service providers and varying organizational capabilities are among the partnership qualities that contribute to program impact and sustainability. Authentic, robust measures of partnership qualities can strengthen partner integration and improve a program’s chances of success. This presentation describes the evaluation of seven 21st Century Community Learning Centers where CBO partners deliver enrichment services and provide support staff. It will focus on the development of context-driven partnership measures and how they contribute to the evaluation of program implementation and outcomes.

Abstract 3 Title: Developing a Rubric to Inform the Design and Evaluation of Partnerships
Presentation Abstract 3:

Educational programs increasingly rely on partnerships between schools/districts and different types of organizations. To effectively evaluate these collaborative programs, the partnerships themselves need to be considered, examined and assessed. Partner organizations can vary in type, size, services provided, and role within a partnership, among other things. Further, different stages of the partnership involve different criteria for examination. Conducting evaluations that consider the important role of partnerships and their impacts requires a sophisticated tool. A rubric that takes into consideration critical partnership components at different stages of the partnership can facilitate and inform programmatic planning and decision-making. This presentation examines such a rubric and how it can be applied in evaluations of collaborative educational programs to identify and better understand potential strengths and challenges that may impact programmatic outcomes, success and sustainability.

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Partnerships are increasingly central to the implementation and evaluation of educational programs. Today, research-funded programs may partner with intermediary organizations to ensure intervention fidelity, while formula-funded programs often partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide direct service to children and families in high-need communities. This panel explores the challenges and opportunities of evaluating educational programs that rely on partnerships with CBOs and intermediary organizations. Panelists will describe their development and evaluation of different types of partnerships, underscoring the partners’ unique identities and their roles in the educational programs. First, we present the case of an implementation partner that sustained an intervention beyond its grant funding; next, we look at how partnership measures contributed to an evaluation of student and family outcomes. The panel culminates by sharing the theory base and practical considerations motivating the panelists’ collaboration on a rubric for evaluating partnerships.