Colleen Graber and Nancy McCrohan presented at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 30th annual conference. Their presentations focused on the ways in which adaptive and culturally responsive evaluations add value to programmatic efforts. The AEA conference brought together evaluators, evaluation scholars, and students to focus on the integration of design and evaluation.
Together, Ms. Graber and Dr. McCrohan presented on “Evaluation during a Grantee’s Planning Year” based on PPA’s extensive experience evaluating Workforce Innovation Fund grantee projects.
Dr. McCrohan’s portion of the presentation discussed how program design and evaluation design can be developed in tandem, and some key places where the designs intersect: development of data systems, grantmaking based on rigor, and dissemination of information.
Ms. Graber’s portion of the presentation reflected on the challenges and benefits of working with a partner during a planning year, and the ongoing effort to align program design and evaluation design. She highlighted the importance of partners’ understanding the ties between their roles and study activities. Benefits noted by Ms. Graber included those for funders, grantees, and evaluators. The funder is able to identify promising practices and potential trouble spots during the planning year, while also ensuring the evaluation quality. During the planning year clients are forced to thoroughly articulate their goals and processes. Evaluators are able to give input on major decisions.
Dr. McCrohan also presented on “Culturally Proficient and Pragmatic Design for Evaluation of Food Security and Nutrition Education in Mobile Settings” with Kait Skwir, Deputy Director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, and Patty Parker, Executive Director of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. This session delved into how the evaluation design was responsive to the program environment—i.e., parking lots and food pantry location. Evaluation design also had to align and adapt to program needs and respect for the food banks’ clients through creative data-collection methods and incentives.
For more information about PPA’s work with the Workforce Innovation Fund contact Ms. Graber at firstname.lastname@example.org.