As you plan and begin your data collection, it is
important to anticipate issues common to rigorous
evaluations of magnet programs. Use this tool to think
about and address specific issues that may negatively
impact your evaluation findings.
1. Review the list to learn about common data
collection issues that may negatively impact your
2. Based on the context of your particular district and
your understanding of the data collection issues,
identify the issues that are most likely to affect your
evaluation that need proactive problem solving.
to address these issues and/or build in
checkpoints to routinely monitor these issues
throughout the process of data collection.
How this may
the impact of the magnet program, you must
determine the extent to which key elements (or
\u201ctreatment\u201d) of a magnet program were
implemented as originally intended. Before you
begin data collection, figure out how you will
measure \u201ctreatment fidelity,\u201d or the degree to which
planned program activities are conducted and
participants are reached. In other words, be clear
about how you will know if you are doing what you
said you would do.
group may engage in some or all of the elements of
the magnet program being evaluated. Indeed, few
schools or classrooms are intervention-free, and it
is difficult to anticipate all the ways best educational
practices may reach students. It is also difficult to
predict ahead of time which schools will adopt what
programs within the time frame of the evaluation
study. For this reason, it is important to be clear up
front with control and comparison schools about the
purpose of the evaluation and the need to limit
treatment crossover. You will also need to keep
regular close contact with all groups to document
what they are doing.
where students are not selected through random
assignment, statistical techniques may account for
some differences between the treatment and
comparison groups. Evaluators will try to make the
best matches between schools and individual
students to control for variables. However, when
students choose to participate in magnet programs,
it can be difficult to eliminate the effect of this
selection bias on student outcomes. You need to
minimize the effect of difficult-to-measure
differences between your treatment and
comparison group (e.g., level of motivation, parent
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