Capacity for Applying Project Evaluation (CAPE)
CAPE Professional Development Model
Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the Microsoft Corporation’s Partners in Learning program, SERVE is currently able to provide professional development on the CAPE Evaluation Framework for school and district teams responsible for Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grants that are supported by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Project teams who participate in the CAPE professional development program not only create and implement a formative evaluation plan for their specific project but also acquire knowledge and skills they can use in evaluating any educational program or project.
The CAPE Professional Development model is based on national standards and best practices of professional development for educators (National Staff Development Council, 2001) and is consistent with the guidelines of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (2006). SERVE Center staff work closely with state education agency (SEA) staff to determine how the CAPE framework can best be tailored to the needs and contexts of the district and school teams. SERVE Center then designs a targeted evaluation support program based on those identified needs (Speck & Knipe, 2001). As shown in the following chart, a typical CAPE professional development program begins with an intensive face-to-face event where educators work in teams, with guidance from SERVE staff, in developing evaluation plans for their projects (Joyce & Showers, 1995). This approach engenders buy-in and furthers a cohesive understanding of how the project and the evaluation work (Lieberman & Miller, 1999).
A typical CAPE professional development program begins with an intensive three-day Institute – a face-to-face event where educators work in teams, with guidance from SERVE staff, in developing evaluation plans for their projects (Joyce & Showers, 1995). This approach engenders buy-in and furthers a cohesive understanding of how the project and the evaluation work (Lieberman & Miller, 1999).
During the Institute, teams:
- Develop a logic map in order to clarify project activities and desired outcomes.
- Identify essential questions about what the team needs to know about both the implementation and impact of their project.
- Explore and select data sources that are most likely to provide the information needed to answer the implementation and impact questions they have identified.
- Teams begin developing an evaluation management plan identifying actions, roles, and responsibilities to ensure that the evaluation progresses in a timely and seamlessly manner that parallels the project implementation rather than overshadowing it.
- Outline a communication plan for sharing information about the evaluation process, progress, and findings will all stakeholders.
Computer-Mediated Professional Development
The face-to-face event is followed by computer mediated professional development (CMPD) sessions that provide project support to a single team or an opportunity for multiple project teams to come together to learn from one another (McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993). For example, these follow-up work sessions provide a vehicle for the teams and SERVE staff to review and discuss progress being made toward completing the project evaluation plans or for teams to share their successes, challenges, and lessons learned (Loucks-Horsely, Love, Stiles, Mundry, & Hewson, 2003). The CMPDs also provide an environment for the teams to acquire additional information that will help them implement their evaluations, e.g., how to manage the implementation of the evaluation, how to collect baseline data, how to maximize school buy-in and community support, and how to analyze and interpret data.
Community of Practice
Over the course of the CAPE professional development program, educators participate in an online Community of Practice (CoP) through which they have access to a full range of opportunities and resources for furthering their understanding of the evaluation. Opportunities and resources include linkages with others interested in project evaluation, mini-course modules, public and private file sharing, calendaring, news and article distribution, threaded discussion boards, and real-time text chats. The CAPE community of practice is built on Moodle, an open-source learning content management system. The follow-up sessions and CoP enable participants to network and provide mutual support to one another (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002).
Toward the end of the professional development program, SERVE organizes a culminating event for school and district teams to share their successes, challenges, and lessons learned from their experiences evaluating their technology projects. The format of this event is coordinated with the SEA staff and can take on a number of different formats. For example, the event could be held in conjunction with a state technology conference wherein CAPE participants highlight their work by making presentations in poster and concurrent sessions or celebrate their projects’ successes at a special reception held in the participants’ honor. Another option would be a separate event scheduled for the express purpose of bringing the teams together where each team has an opportunity to present and share.