Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Evaluating Complex Youth Programs: Strategies to Promote Learning and Action

Session Number: 2320
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Evaluation practice, youth participatory action research, youth-focused evaluation
Session Chair: Ross VeLure Roholt [Associate Professor - University of Minnesota]
Presenter 1: Katie Richards-Schuster [Assistant Professor, School of Social Work - University of Michigan]
Presenter 2: Ross VeLure Roholt [Associate Professor - University of Minnesota]
Presenter 3: Terrance Kwame Ross [Association Professor - Augsburg University ]
Time: Nov 09, 2017 (08:00 AM - 09:00 AM)
Room: PARK TWR STE 8219

Abstract 1 Title: Evaluating Youth Civic Engagement: Ask the Youth!
Presentation Abstract 1:

Youth participatory evaluation is the process engaging young people in formulating their own evaluation process and developing their own questions about their programs, processes, and communities (Checkoway & Richards-Schuster, 2003, Delgado, 2006, Sabo, 2008).  As an approach to evaluation, youth participatory evaluation enables the participants in helping to understand the learning and engages the youth in developing tools that reflect their own voice, situation, and experience.  This approach is built on the foundation that young people are experts in their own lives and that their ideas and experiences should be at the base of knowledge development about programs.  This paper focuses on a current example of youth civic engagement in a major metropolitan region and focuses on the way youth participatory evaluation practices have been embraced within the program and the implications of this approach for the overall understanding about impacts.  Lessons learned and recommendations for evaluating complex youth practices and programs are also discussed.


Abstract 2 Title: Designing Civic Youth Work Evaluations: Four Orienting Questions
Presentation Abstract 2:

Many good tools to support high quality evaluations are easily available (for example, Stufflebeam, 2004).  Missing are questions specific to civic youth work initiatives, programs, and activities.  Too often in this field, the evaluation design and product is high quality, but not a high quality civic youth work evaluation. By this we mean that it does not get at the core elements, practices, and outcomes of true civic youth work practice. To this end, we suggest four questions for evaluators to consider when studying civic youth work initiatives, programs, and practices that enhance learning and promote action:

  • Does the evaluation design and the way that it is implemented support and reinforce the civic youth work program strategy?
  • Does the evaluation design support youth voice?
  • How will learning be shared from the evaluation study and with whom?
  • What is the conceptual understanding of youth civic engagement, young person, and youth citizen?

Abstract 3 Title: School Meeting Structures as forms of Civic Engagement and School Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 3:

New City School was a vehicle created to change and improve the ways children and adolescents engaged in learning.  It embodied an idea for working-out one of the fundamental questions and purposes of public schools:  What are the skills and knowledge, in both the academic realm (math, reading, language arts, social studies, science and technology) and social realm (character, civic youth engagement, and social-emotional education) do children as citizens need in order to become full flourishing and productive children and, later, competent and productive adults and citizens at home, at work, and in their community?  This paper describes the pedagogy used to invite and support youth to learn about being and doing citizen and use this in their everyday individual group and collective lives and discussing the challenges of evaluating this pedagogy in a way that fully captured the impact on stakeholders, administrators, teachers, and students.


Theme: Learning What Works and Why
Audience Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Campbell-Patton and Patton (2010) argue that evaluating complex youth programs requires “methodological appropriateness.”  Evaluation of complex youth programs should match the design to the evaluation context, take into account the questions and needs of intended users, weight the cost and benefits of various designs, level of evidence needed to make what kind of decisions, ethical considerations, and utility.  In this panel, we share what has been learned about these considerations through developing and completing a new edited resource on evaluating complex youth programs.  We focus on evaluation strategies, drawn from youth civic engagement program evaluations, that have been used to deepen learning and promote action on findings.



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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 16, 2017. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 16, 2017 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2017, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for the international requests. The $50 fee will be waived for registrants who planned to travel into the US and experienced international travel issues.