Program Evaluation in ERM
Programs aimed at supporting and improving the well-being of individuals, communities, and organizations are prevalent throughout the fields of education, business, and social and health services. Program evaluation seeks to establish the merit and worth of these myriad programs. Dr. Holly Downs and her evaluation team comprised of ERM graduate students conduct formative and summative program evaluations for local and national programs and organizations and present their work at venues like the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and American Educational Research Association (AERA) national conferences. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Dr. Downs and her team administer surveys, conduct interviews, observations, and focus groups, and collect student achievement data. In turn, this data collection leads to the exploration of the latest research and data analysis techniques in reporting to ensure that the client and various stakeholders’ needs and perspectives are addressed and accurately reflected in their evaluations.
In conducting evaluations with Dr. Downs, MS and PhD students in the Educational Research Methodology department at UNCG gain invaluable, real-world experience that will directly translate to their professional careers in academic setting and non-profit or for-profit companies after graduate school. Likewise, students who take Dr. Downs’ ERM 643 Applied Educational Evaluation course will have the opportunity to gain practical experience through the evaluation of a real education program. Current and past ERM 643 evaluation clients have included the Core-Math Project, with the Department of Teacher Education Department and School of Mathematics, and the Achieving Together in Math and Science (AToMs) Project, with the UNCG Schools of Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics.