Since 2009 we have been engaged in an Impact Study to measure the impacts of our multi-year and overnight programs on students and teachers and improve our programs. To conduct this study, we contracted with PEER Associates, a respected environmental and place-based educational research organization to design an evaluation system for our multi-year programs. Now, headed into the sixth year of evaluation work with PEER Associates, we continue to refine the evaluation tools used and expand the participants surveyed.
We designed our Logic Model (at right) at the beginning of our evaluation work. Logic Models describe the relationships between program inputs, activities, outcomes and impacts, and can help evaluate the effectiveness of extensive programs like ours.
In Fall of 2014 we embarked upon a “Most Significant Change” project, the last and final aspect of our six-year longitudinal evaluation. The process involved the collection of significant change stories by contacting and interviewing alumni who had engaged in our multi-year and residential programs. The MSC interviews included stories and memories from field experiences with The Ecology School, and sought to capture examples of growth and change experienced by students, teachers, parents and school administrators. We are looking forward to applying these findings to continue to improve our program and delivery systems.
The Outline of Preliminary Findings include all results from the student and teacher surveys, student concept maps, focus groups, and interview sessions with administrators, teachers and parents.