There are many school-wide or district-wide initiatives that purport to positively affect student outcomes. These interventions or programs may offer education professionals the hope that student learning will be facilitated through emphasis on academic, social, or technical domains. In an educational environment, where personnel and fiscal resources are scarce, district professionals often struggle with finding cost-effective, yet quality-driven, solutions to enhance student learning outcomes. Yet, too often a comprehensive evaluation of the specific intervention/program does not occur prior to the program's implementation. The inappropriateness or "lack of fit" between an intervention and the needs of a school district are costly. Costly in terms of personnel, fiscal resources, and most importantly, costly for the students for whom the intervention was directed because their needs are continuing to be unmet.
A structured and systematic procedure can help district personnel assess the viability of a particular intervention or program and determine its appropriateness for their district. The evaluation criterion indicated in this training module are not intended to be exhaustive of all of the factors that district personnel should consider when evaluating the viability of a specific intervention/program. However, these variables can serve as a templatea foundationto facilitate thinking about the advantages or disadvantages of a particular school-based or district-wide strategy.
Choosing the Technical Assistance Intervention
Now we know where to go to find out about interventions, but what questions should we ask or what things should we be looking for?
Believe it or not, you already have the skills to critically evaluate research or program evaluation studies. You probably have had some experience selecting new interventions, curriculum, or some type of instructional practice for your classroom. At the very least you probably have some experience selecting a product that you have bought for yourself, say a new car or home. Lets use the car example. Think about what you consider when purchasing a new car...