Good program evaluation focuses on improvement. Evaluation may contribute to research, and accountability is a reason why many evaluations are funded. However, the main function of Clearwater is to improve the projects it studies. That involves a careful assessment of the program's needs, goals, and activities. I am not wedded to any one methodology. However, most projects are funded with the expectation that they will demonstrate movement from objectives to outcomes. A typical evaluation creates a logic model that outlines the project's rationale and then selects information resources (observations, surveys, tests, records, conversations, and statistics) that will document and explain progress.
An example type of resource I am developing is an electronic checklist to assess implementation of new science standards in classrooms. (Link at right. Macros in the example are disabled. Contact me for a "live" version, or if you already have a copy and need help getting started. )