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Title:Evaluation Working Within and Challenging Performance Measurement Systems: An Example With the National Reporting System and on -Going Child Assessments in a Local Head Start Program
Author(s):Kallemeyn, Leanne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):DeStefano, Lizanne
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:Evaluators are encountering an emphasis on accountability and a rise in the use of performance measurement as a means to judge program quality. The main goal of this study was to consider how evaluators can practice their craft in relation to performance measurement systems, particularly how evaluators can assist local programs in using performance measurement systems. This study describes the influence performance measures have on a local program, focusing on the extent to which such activities do indeed provide accountability and enhance program development. It also describes ways evaluators can work within and challenge performance measurement systems, particularly regarding the concern over what is evaluated or assessed. This study addresses concerns with performance measurement in the context of assessing school readiness in a local Head Start preschool program through recent developments with on-going child assessments and the National Reporting System (NRS). Data collection in this two-year longitudinal, participatory study included a combination of surveys, interviews, and observations with Head Start staff members, Head Start parents, and Kindergarten teachers, as well as child outcome assessments. Main findings of the study were that local program stakeholders valued what the NRS assessed, but did not view vocabulary, letter naming and early math skills as the most important child outcomes. All stakeholder groups emphasized social and emotional development as the most important and also placed a high importance on literacy development. At the same time, stakeholders emphasized the complexity and individuality of children's development, which cannot be represented appropriately in performance measurement systems. The local program does not use the NRS for decision-making; rather, they view it as a means to validate program impact rather than providing information that is beneficial for informing program development. In comparison to the NRS, the on-going child assessment is more representative of what stakeholders value. The local program used the on-going child assessment for decision-making more than the NRS. More importantly, it positively influenced stakeholders understanding of child development. The study concludes with implications for how policy makers, local programs, and evaluators can respond to performance measurement systems in Head Start.
Issue Date:2006
Description:357 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3242887
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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