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How do we organize and analyze complex decisionmaking?

Using data to evaluate program effectiveness

An educational foundation of a large association has been championing a national program for high school students for over 15 years. The foundation decided to update its set of tools to gain a real-time comprehensive understanding of its various programs, results, implementation findings, components, stakeholders, and recipients.

The goal was to provide the foundation with more immediate and defendable data to make important decisions, guide the program, and secure additional funding from outside sources.

Westat is working with the foundation to develop

  • A view of the program components and outcomes

  • Surveys to collect information from stakeholders and program participants

  • A web-based registration system to capture stakeholder and participant data from across the country

All data can be easily brought together and harmonized with other foundation databases, allowing for a rich, long-term evaluation of the program.

  • The aggregation of data collection and survey administration resulted in an increase in the reliability of the program’s statistics and contact information from 30% to 99%.

  • Program participants’ response rate to the feedback survey nearly doubled in the 1 year since the data collection and analysis tasks were put in place.

  • Not only is the foundation able to provide rich, defendable, and meaningful information about its program but also its stakeholders have also become more deeply engaged and aware of the value and importance of the program and their role.

  • When feedback is effectively collected, stakeholders and participants feel heard. The foundation is able to grow the program in ways most meaningful to its mission and the program participants.

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