Guiding Evidence-Based School Improvement
Because the goal of professional development is often one of systems change, Lighthouse Evaluation uses a systems framework that is grounded in the following beliefs.
It helps us better understand and document desired outcomes. It encourages more comprehensive discussion of what works and why. Evaluation systematizes large concepts and separates real outcomes from wishful thinking, slogans, and vague aspirations.
It can be used to fine-tune a proposed or existing intervention. It can provide constructive observations to guide a project's evolution. Once a project is established, evaluation continues to contribute by assisting project leaders to optimize their resources. Just as important, evaluation contributes to a learning mindset -- a perspective that values asking questions, assuming multiple perspectives and challenging assumptions.
It pinpoints needs and directs attention to critical issues. When your project uses evaluation effectively, there is a clear attention to what to achieve and why. If, for example, a team knows that their goal is to improve group decision-making, they can change their behavior accordingly. If they know they will be evaluated specifically on those behaviors, the impetus is greater..
Most project outcomes are works in progress. Sound evaluation design that accounts for both the effort you make and the project's current context enables you and your stakeholders to view progress on a continuum.