In May we attended the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. It's always great to be in the company of like-minded folks, people all working to improve the lives of young people and help them stay on track for success in life. Their motto of “Empower Youth Success” is spot on.
This year's theme was “School's Out, Make It Count!” - which for data people like us begs the question, what makes something count?
This past Saturday I had the opportunity to be part of the Glasses for Kids Program offered by the Flaum Eye Institute and work with them on a trial phase use of the COMET database. I went into the morning not knowing what to expect; my only understanding of the program was the notes that I had taken at our monthly meetings and the setup that we'd done internally for their database. I must say, I was completely blown away! The program was a well-oiled machine, from the in-take services to the vision screening, ultimately resulting in children being fitted for their own pair of glasses.
How can you determine the most effective approach to provide kids support for their specific needs?
Education professionals understand that immediate assessment of evidence-based programs is the key to delivering quality outcomes. Student pre and post assessment is one of the key tools in education. Student screening is a critical step for early identification of children who are at-risk. Screening intervention starts with identification; with accurate screening data you are able to identify those children who need additional help. Immediate feedback allows you to adapt your approach and develop timely plans and interventions. An effective screening program uses timely feedback to inform global policies implemented at all levels of your organization or district. Individual pre-post assessments support instructional adaptations and adjustments. Pre-post assessments also evaluate which programs work best for which groups.
What’s the most important step to any evaluation? Data collection? Choosing a system? Hiring the right evaluator? No, no, and no. The most important step is defining your question, and the more specific you can be, the better.
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