Educational Evaluation in the Public Policy Setting
A collection of five essays that criticize, from federal, state, and local perspectives, current methods of evaluating government-sponsored education programs. A recurring theme is that experimental design methods, most commonly used by the U.S. Department of Education, do not provide adequate information for policymakers' needs. The essays recommend developing new approaches that address policymakers' immediate concerns, including such issues as resource use and distribution of funds, fidelity of implementation, and needs of target groups, in addition to the traditional focus on student outcomes. One essay argues that present evaluation methods are generally not useful from the local perspective. Another discusses how programs can be more successfully evaluated at the state level. Another describes a large-scale evaluation conducted by the National Institute of Education. The strategy adopted, which was generally successful, was to define the evaluation's aims to accord with Congress's policymaking authority and concerns.