Monday, July 4, 2011

The Data Elephant on the Table

I've been working on two evaluation reports for the past two weeks. These involve examining evidence that supports goals set by the grants awarded for educational innovation. The agency does say that whether the innovation succeeds or does not succeed, that partners should capture the data because it can save others steps if they implement something similar at a future time.

What has come to my attention is the unease at questions raised as participants look at their data. The questions raised by examining their data are valuable ones and offer the opportunity for improvement of their project in process.

In thinking about the reaction, it seems to come from the usual experience of being required to submit data for compliance, for agencies who provide funding, with the concern that anything the falls short of the named goal will result in some sort of penalty.

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