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PAST Presents at AEA Conference

Monica Hunter and Sheli Smith of PAST, along with Kate Harkin of OSU, recently presented at the American Evaluation Association’s Evaluation 2014 Conference, Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future.

Session Abstract:

This panel addresses the value of qualitative data to inform program evaluation that considers fidelity to program goals, while also taking into account the needs of stakeholders for real time course correction, effectively enhancing implementation strategies for sustainable outcomes. The first two speakers will address methodology and uses of ethnographic analysis to assess professional development programs for preK-12 educators on instructional strategies for transdisciplinary problem based learning focused on integrated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Discussion of case study analysis explores the challenges in achieving systematic changes in school culture embedded in pedagogical practices of traditional classroom instruction and the profound shift to STEM. The final speaker will provide insights from the funder and policy perspective, adding a third view on the value of ethnographic analysis to inform implementation strategies that effectively meet accountability requirements without constraining innovative strategies to attain substantive and sustainable outcomes that benefit stakeholders.

Additionally, Monica was part of a second presentation, joining evaluation anthropologist from several universities.

Session Abstract:

Our panel of experienced evaluation anthropologists will discuss how we utilize the tools and methods of cultural anthropology and apply them to evaluation of programs in environment, health, and education, including: How do evaluation anthropologists identify, analyze, and present underlying, often implicit culturally formed assumptions affecting the process and outcomes of projects and initiatives we evaluate, including assumptions about what evaluation stakeholders want to sustain in initiatives, and assumptions relating to equity? How do we analyze and present diverse and sometimes conflicting assumptions and frames found in multicultural contexts and discuss the ways that they interact with each other and with material constraints within a broader system to affect the possibilities for sustainability and equity in the projects we evaluate? What are the theoretical and methodological assets that evaluation anthropologists draw on in formulating this kind of systemic, culturally informed analysis? What challenges have we found in presenting our analyses?

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