you answered "YES" to this question, how do you
know these programs work? These are common questions
asked by parents, principals, teachers, superintendents,
school board members, legislators, community members and
journalists. Few educators and parents are willing
to support a program based on a hunch that it might work.
They want proof -- data -- that the program is successful. Thus, one major reason for evaluation is accountability.
This issue tends to permeate discussions at the local, state
and national levels in the current era of rigorous standards
and escalating pressure to demonstrate the academic competencies
of students. Added to the dialogue on school
accountability is a political climate that is unreceptive to
bilingual education. In this politically charged climate,
we must be able to demonstrate that dual language programs
work—and that they work for all student participants: English language learners, native English speakers, students
of different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and
special needs students.
addition, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) establishes
measurable objectives for all students, including ELLs,
and enforces accountability requirements. The rationale
for including ELLs in high-stakes tests is to hold them
to the same high standards as their peers and to ensure
that their needs are not overlooked. The NCLB accountability
system requires that schools assess all students (with certain
exceptions) at most grade levels, but it does not charge
schools with collecting data that is relevant to dual language
programs, such as the progress of English language learners
and native English speakers in:
- Program Development
- Modify instructional strategies, management
- Understand staff, parent & student needs and
- Student self-assessment
Monitor, and Document Your Program
are other important reasons for doing an evaluation as well.
According to the Research Agenda on the Education of Limited-English-Proficient
and Bilingual Students written by Diane August & Kenji Hakuta,
assessment should be incorporated into the educational process
so that the progress of students, teachers, programs, classrooms,
and schools can be monitored. Research on effective schools
also demonstrates that schools that are considered highly effective
use ongoing diagnosis, evaluation and feedback. So, a
well-designed evaluation can provide information to guide decisions
at the school and classroom levels by:
that the program is meeting its goals
evaluative information to further enhance the program
that teachers understand the model and are implementing
teacher attitudes toward the program and students being
understanding needs of parents
diagnostic information about student abilities
and improving instructional planning and activities for
students to regulate their own learning
student performance to parents
there are many issues that can be included in an evaluation.
Developing appropriate program evaluation requires careful planning. In
the next section, we will turn to the topic of making appropriate
decisions about what to include in an evaluation plan.
Some of this planning requires determining what resources are
available to you as you plan for your evaluation, so we turn
to that next.
types of resources will be needed to conduct a good program evaluation.
to establish the evaluation plan
to oversee the data collection and make sure that the instruments
are available at the time that they are needed, and that
the data are collected on time
to enter the data into the spreadsheet
to conduct the analyses and interpret the results
for these personnel
for the cost of ordering and scoring tests that are not
covered by the district
to make copies of questionnaires or other instruments
for professional development
factors need to be contemplated during the course of establishing
the evaluation plan, as it may be necessary to obtain additional
funding from the district or fundraising or a nearby business,
or to seek help from parents, or from faculty or students at a nearby
a high quality evaluation will definitely be worth its cost!!
we move on to the next section, it is important to start a Program
Evaluation Notebook (you can make the title something more interesting
to you—whatever you want). This notebook will be
further developed here as you begin the step-by-step procedure
in evaluating your program.
& EXAMPLES: Begin an Evaluation Notebook
you don't have a written program guide, it is difficult to evaluate
your program, and now would be a good time to start to develop
one or to enhance the one that you do have.
should get an empty binder with dividers, and begin to fill
it with information obtained in this Toolkit.