A Team Approach to Program Evaluation: Linking Program Evaluation to Program Planning for a School-based Mentoring Program

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Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, 2006 - Mentoring in education - 243 pages
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A multidisciplinary team was formulated to conduct a formative evaluation of Project Success, school-based mentoring program that was implemented during the ten month school year in a suburban New Jersey middle school. Through the mentoring program, trained school-based adult mentors were matched with non-special education seventh grade students determined to be at risk for school failure or social problems, according to program eligibility criteria. Mentors were expected to meet with the students a minimum of 30 minutes per week, document the sessions, and participate in continuous training along with other program requirements. The formative program evaluation of Project Success was conducted by the Project Success Evaluation Team (PSET), a multidisciplinary team comprised of various school-based, community-based and program stakeholders. PSET members participated in a series of team meetings geared toward developing program evaluation goals, identifying evaluation questions, selecting data collection methods, gathering and reviewing data, making recommendations, and evaluating the program evaluation process. Program evaluation questions were posed in order to determine the reasons mentors and mentees chase to participate in the program, the extent to which the program was implemented according to its design; the perceived barriers to implementation according to stakeholders, the extent to which primary and secondary goals were attained, and the manner in which stakeholders believed the program added value to the target population. Program evaluation results were considered with respect to implications for the role of the school psychologist, utilization of evaluation information, the potential value of teams for use in program evaluation, the nature and scope of the program evaluation process, and other relevant school contextual factors. In addition, results were reviewed with respect to theory-based best practices cited in the mentoring literature. Recommendations for improving Project Success, increasing the effectiveness of the PSET, and for applying the team approach to the evaluation of other school-based programs were offered. The dissertation illustrates an expanded role for the school psychologist and contains practical guidelines for incorporating the team approach to program evaluation in schools as a standard practice in public school education.

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