Monitoring & Evaluation
The monitoring and evaluation of a school technology plan’s implementation are important steps in ensuring its overall success. Monitoring the plan in the form of regular evaluations of goal progress will help to identify and resolve any issues that will prohibit the plan from being carried out. Each step in a goal should be evaluated as it is completed. Evaluating the plan at the end of its implementation reveals whether or not any change occurred as a result of the plan.
The evaluation process must be considered while creating a technology plan, not afterwards. As a strategy for evaluation is developed, these questions should be answered:
Who will conduct the evaluation?
The evaluator(s) could be administrators, teachers, or a technology committee comprised of a mix of the two groups. It could involve both a person/group directly involved with the creation of the technology plan and someone with an outside perspective. It depends on the types of goals that are in the plan – educational, administrative, etc. For example, if there is an educational goal for increased student achievement in science as a result of new technology in the classroom, it might be evaluated by science teachers as well as instructional technology staff members. Students might also be surveyed to get a sense of their perspective.
When will evaluation occur and how often?
The frequency of evaluation depends on the length of the technology plan. Formative evaluations should occur regularly throughout the time span of the plan to determine and resolve any immediate issues that may interfere with the achievement of the goals. There should also be a summative evaluation upon completion of the plan, in order to ascertain overall success and pave the way for the next version of the technology plan.
How will evaluation results be determined?
The people in charge of evaluating the success of the technology plan need to determine the methods in which they will do so. Some options may include administering a survey to teachers and/or students questioning them about certain goals in the technology plan to determine the goal’s success, or analyzing things that should have been affected by the technology plan, like student achievement levels or student technology projects.
After each evaluation is conducted, these questions should be considered:
What is considered a success?
The technology committee must determine how they will decide whether a goal in the technology plan is progressing as planned or is completed. They will have to set milestones for each goal as well as the time period of achieving a milestone within each goal. Then it should be easy to see whether or not the goals are on track.
How will issues be resolved?
The technology plan should include strategies to resolve issues that arise during an evaluation. If it seems that a goal is not on track for completion, it should be resolved as soon as possible so that it does not affect the implementation of the plan.
How will evaluations be reported?
The evaluators should compile a short report to summarize the findings of each evaluation. The report should then be shared with any stakeholders, or even posted for a public audience to view.
These questions are just suggestions to consider when developing evaluation strategies for the implementation of a school technology plan. It is also helpful to see examples from other schools.
Examples of Monitoring & Evaluation in US School Districts
To help you construct your plan for evaluation and monitoring, it can be beneficial to build on successes of other school districts. These strategies combined with your own school district’s ideas can be a great foundation for this last stage of your technology plan. List below are a few examples of how other school districts have built success:
San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, CA
- Evaluation Subcommittee
- Includes representatives from the school district at every level from administrator to parent to student.
- Its purpose is to review data and determine if the goals and objectives of the technology plan are being met.
- The evaluations are done in concert with the implementation subcommittee. By sharing data they collaborate to make recommendations and report results to the entire school district
- For more information see their entire evaluation plan here: http://www.edtech.sandi.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=188
Colonial School District, Plymouth Meeting, PA
- The Colonial School District implements monitoring and evaluation at several different levels:
- At the building level, district administrators ensure the implementation by observation and also with evaluation instruments.
- Their Technology Review Committee meets quarterly to make certain the technology implementation is supporting the entire strategic plan.
- Their Professional Development Committee meets annually to monitor how the district is using technology to meet the milestones in the strategic plan.
- Please find their entire strategic plan here: http://hub.colonialsd.org/Documents/Publications/Strategic_Plan_2008-2013.pdf
These samples of evaluating and monitoring techniques should serve as suggestions only which can be pulled in and shaped by your own school district’s needs. What we would like to stress here is not the individual techniques, but rather the follow-through required to truly evaluate the success of a technology plan. This we realize in these days of stretched thin resources this may be the most difficult piece of the puzzle to snap into place, but without it the technology plan is not fully complete.
Footnote: Please feel free to add your school's stories of successful evaluation or comment on any of the examples listed above.