Date of Defense:
December 6, 2016
Background- In recent years, Carver County has witnessed rapid growth in the number of residents from diverse ethnic communities. A similar pattern is reflected in the growing diversity of the student population of Eastern Carver County School District. In 2015, the student body was 9.17% Hispanic, 5.13% Black, 4.62% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.51% American Indian. Given this diversity, the Intercultural Specialist (ICS) program of Eastern Carver County School District was established in the year 2007 to respond to the demographic changes in Carver County and address the needs of a growing diverse community. The ICS program seeks to connect families from ethnic minorities and underserved communities with the school system. The program has 6 full-time Inter Cultural Specialists working with Latino, Hmong, Somali and other ethnic minority communities.
Approach- Formative evaluation is a crucial step in the program planning, design and implementation process. It helps program staff map mechanisms and processes required to produce the desired impact. The present formative evaluation is focused on the development of a Theory of Change and other relevant tools for the ICS program to help program leadership identify program outcomes, develop an outcome chain, and refine the focus and scope of the program.
Methods– The evaluation data were collected through document reviews, participatory workshops and in-depth interviews. Discussions, narratives were recorded as notes. Some of data were recorded by participants as charts or tables during the evaluation workshops. Data were later analyzed using compare and contrast methods. Results of this analysis were used to create evaluation tools and data visualizations. Internal validity of data was ensured by sharing all the documents with the program staff and incorporating their comments in the draft.
Results and Conclusion. This formative evaluation developed a Theory of Change and tools to help ICS team plan and prioritize their activities. The Theory of Change process in this evaluation included a situation analysis, development of outcome statement, development of outcome Chains, and Focusing and Scoping of program. Next steps may include a summative evaluation to understand impact of the program on parents, teachers and students.