Demonstrating The Impact of Your Project or Program: Did They Really Do Better As A Result?

In this session we will review evaluation approaches that center on demonstrations of student or participant performance as a measure of impact. This session particularly applies if you are seeking or managing grants in the federal sector. This goes beyond using test scores or grades in courses. One impact measure we will explore is the use of a performance task. A performance task is essentially a situation that has been carefully designed to elicit meaningful differences in behavior of a certain kind. Performance task are grade level, skill level, or college year specific. The task can ask students to explain what they have experienced and learned about, for example cybersecurity concepts, to others. It may involve asking students or participants to apply their knowledge and skill beyond the classroom or situational context.

This general approach could result in the development of a suite of performance tasks that may inform ANY project and program evaluation. This potentially offers a unique approach to evaluation for learning and development in formal as well as informal settings. Ultimately this can provide evidence for new collaborative approaches to helping students gain additional knowledge, participants building stronger skills, and demonstration of impact. It can be used beyond the student realm to determine impact on selected populations of any grant funded project or program.

Learning Objectives:
- Participants will identify approaches to measuring genuine impact of a federally funded program or project.
- Participants will develop ideas for changing their evaluation and assessment approach in their own projects to better reflect impact.

GPC Competencies Addressed:
Strategies for effective program and project design and development  

Dr. Michael Lesiecki's federal grants development, management, and evaluation experience includes proposals and projects up to $20M. Dr. Lesiecki is uniquely knowledgeable about STEM education and high tech domains. Over the past two decades he has been deeply involved with the NSF's Advanced Technological Education program serving as Principal Investigator, External Evaluator and Peer Reviewer.