pancakes with blueberries and strawberries

Pancakes and Program Evaluation

CIDDL Cizzles with Chef Dave Merves

Author: Tahnee Wilder; info@ciddl.org

In our newest CIDDL Cizzles, Dave Merves discusses what pancakes and program evaluation have in common. Dr. Dave Merves has been in education for the past 16 years as a program evaluator for educational technology grants. His first career was as an internationally classically trained chef specializing in pastries.

What do Program Evaluations, India, and Paris have in common?

Pancakes! Pancakes are worldwide and what is different about each are the types of batters used. In India, they can be called dosas. In France, their version of pancakes is called crepes, which can be sweet or savory depending on the batter they use. The connection between pancakes and evaluation is finding the suitable methodology that assesses the grant's objectives. Pancakes and evaluations are ubiquitous. Pancakes can include all types of ingredients to make any different kind of batter. Evaluation forces you to have all the environmental factors in a social context to make informed choices for progress.

Things to Remember about Program Evaluation:

  • The federal government requires Performance Measurements to assess grant outcomes. The U.S Department of Education embeds evaluation into funding cycles and encourages educators to collect outcome data along the way, not just summative.
  • Program Evaluation is not research. It is meant to be used as a framework to anchor your project and allow the work to be done through different feedback cycles.
  • Educational Technology projects have employed a methodology called Developmental Evaluation. This methodology is helpful for program evaluators to support innovative, uncertain, and exploratory grants. It allows evaluators to be more hands-on since it is more participatory in nature.
  • When considering an evaluator for your grant, it is essential to consider that the American Evaluation Association has several interest groups. Because of the fast pace of technology, interest groups have split into more specified areas.
  • Consider how much experience this individual has had with your type of technology.
  • Bring the evaluators on early into the project so they get the full scope of the process and can decide on the best methodology, to begin with.
  • Communicate with them as much as you can.
  • For more resources on frameworks for program evaluation, check out the Grantee Guide to Project Performance Measurement from the Office of Special Education.

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Watch Dave’s full CIDDL Cizzles and learn more about pancakes and technology evaluation. The competition isn’t over yet! After you finish watching, you can be a judge of the Cizzle by rating the chef in each area: connection, preparation, and aesthetics, using the CIDDL Cizzle Rating System at the bottom of the page. Go to the CIDDL Events webpage to learn about other chefs and their technology and pick up a few new recipes. Check out the CIDDL website for more resources related to the innovative uses of technology in special education and related services personnel preparation programs.