Effective Evaluation of Special Education Programs — A Collaborative Evaluation Institute for District Teams and Special Education Directors

The Massachusetts Department of Education funded WestEd’s Collaborative Evaluation Institute, Effective Evaluation of Special Education Programs.

This institute, based on and using Collaborative Evaluation Led by Local Educators: A Practical, Print- and Web-Based Guide, written by WestEd staff, was designed for district teams led by special education directors.

During the four-day summer institute, these teams (16 districts in 2006) learned about and planned manageable, internal formative evaluations of their special education programs focusing on a particular aspect such as use of IEPs, extended school year programs, or inclusion practices.

With the support of WestEd evaluators, teams developed interview and focus group protocols, observation protocols, questionnaires, and other data gathering instruments.

Teams developed plans with local stakeholders and gathered data. They attended a two-day follow-up session, during which WestEd evaluators supported them in analyzing their qualitative and quantitative data, developed presentations of their evaluation findings for their stakeholders, and planned recommendations for program improvement.