RE: Discussion 2 – Module 1
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Early childhood programs undergo program evaluations for many reasons. One reason that programs undergo evaluations is increased public investments in early childhood education. Increased public investments in early childhood education cause stakeholders to expect positive results from programs (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003). This is because studies can influence better education, determine social problems that require public response, and studies can determine next steps that programs can make to assure positive steps toward continued improvement (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003). Stakeholders are driven by student success that comes from a successful program. Therefore, programs must take evaluation measures seriously as they seek ways to grow and improve. Additionally, the type of program evaluations that programs take part in are based on the type of program that is being implemented. Programs that are of higher influence and impact more stakeholders tend to have more critical and rigorous evaluation compared to smaller programs (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003). This would include federal programs or state programs that could impact many stakeholders including teachers, students, families, communities, and many more.
When trying to implement evaluations, programs experience barriers and challenges. A barrier and challenge that programs experience when implementing evaluations is objectivity. Programs must work to be objective in the evaluation of their program quality and effectiveness. To achieve objectivity during evaluations, the evaluation process should be don’t by those who don’t have a direct investment in the outcome of the evaluation (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003).
From my own experience, I have seen program evaluation be completed in the form of my schools’ instructional planning and preparation for instruction. The program evaluation process was done by the district office. From their evaluation, they determined our school needed more intensive, focused direction in planning and preparation. To our disappointment, we felt we had let down our community. However, we soon realized that our intentions were never “to implement a poor-quality program” (Center on the Developing Child Harvard University, 2007). We were just not working to the level that we could have been and needed support to do that. To achieve their desired results, the district placed our school on a three-year plan with district support instructional coaches to help achieve proper alignment, rigor, and assessment to assure student success. After the three-year period, the district removed the support since the school has shown growth.
Center on the Developing Child Harvard University. (2007). Early childhood program evaluations: A decision-makers guide.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8.
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Reasons why programs undergo evaluations:
The primary purpose of program evaluation is to improve the quality of education and other services provided to young children and their families ( National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003). Around the globe, the importance of early childhood education awareness has been increased. As a result, government funding has been increased in this sector. Along with the increase of this funding, the accountability has also been increased as the funding organizations need to know how their money has been utilized with evidence (Ebbeck, Teo, Tan, & Goh, 2014). Along with government funding, public investment has also been increased. With increased public investments in early childhood education come expectations that programs should be accountable for producing positive results (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003). The results of carefully designed program evaluations can influence better education for young children and can identify social problems that requ