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MEDT 8480: Outline of Program

Evaluation Plan

The Police Explorers Program is an educational program that fosters a personal

awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical experiences,

competitions, and other activities for students between the ages of 13 and 20. The

program promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule

of the law, physical fitness, good citizenship, and patriotism

(http://www.exploring.org/law-enforcement/ ). Students can earn course credits

through the SkillsUSA partnership which helps promote skilled workers throughout

America (http://www.skillsusa.org ).

Programs are offered at many local, state, and federal law enforcement

agencies around the county. Law Enforcement Exploring is a well-established and

highly respected program that has served as a platform from which countless young

adults have launched a successful career with local, county, state and federal law

enforcement agencies. (http://www.golawenforcement.com/PoliceExplorer.htm ).The

Explorer program has been endorsed by professional organizations such as the

International Chiefs of Police Association, the National Sheriffs Association as well as

the Boy Scouts of America.

The program is needed in order to educate students about how the criminal

justice process works, and the purpose of law enforcement. This program also helps

fulfill the societal responsibility of teaching young people how to be productive citizens

and active in their respective communities. The positive interaction of Explorers and
Law Enforcement Officers help young adults see officers as real people, and affords

opportunities to build positive relationships between the New York City Police

Department and the communities of our city

(http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/community_affairs/youth_programs_explorers.shtm

l ).

The foundational aspects of the program begin within the students high school.

The Explorer Program is typically sponsored by a teacher at the school or the school

resource officer, and this individual is responsible for acting as a liaison between the

certified law enforcement trainers and the students. These, along with members of the

community, serve as the inputs for the program. Cohorts of students are established

and students attend weekly or bi-weekly sessions with training officers with their cohort

group members. In addition to classroom training, and practical exercises, Explorer

recruits accompany training officers on ride alongs, and court proceedings. Student

recruits are also expected to participate in community service events that are

frequently held throughout the year-long program. These activities lead to the creation

of a recruit portfolio of sorts a compilation of training officer evaluations, and

assessments as well as community performance surveys, and general feedback

solicited from members of the community. Many participating high schools offer

students academic credit for their contribution to the community through the program.

Other schools offer volunteer hours required for honor status upon graduation. These

short term outcomes in addition to proficiency in law enforcement policies, procedures,

and tactics help create a greater sense of trust for community police officer and help to
instill the value of camaraderie amongst the student recruits (Yarborough, 2011). This

positive shift in turn fosters a more secure community, and encourages greater

academic success in students. The Explorer Program is designed to create a chain

reaction of positive events in the life of students, and their future career aspirations in

law enforcement, but the greater outcome is that students become active citizens in a

productive, and nurturing community.

Evaluation Purpose

The Explorer Program should be evaluated because the program staff seeks to

ensure that the specified goals are being met. The evaluation will examine the Explorer

Program to be sure that all facets of the program are successful in producing students

who are informed about the law enforcement process and career, and who also seek to

further their education related to law enforcement. The evaluation will also examine if

the program influences students to have more academic success and also if there is a

decrease in juvenile crimes in the area. The evaluation will be used to inform

program staff on how the curriculum is being carried out by both the training officers,

and the cooperating high school teacher.

The three evaluation questions that will be answered through the process of

assessing the programs effectiveness are:

Does participation in the program foster increased academic success for student

recruits?

Does the program cause a decrease in juvenile related crimes committed in the

community?
Are Explorer Training officers teaching the program curriculum according to the

specifications set forth by the supervisory personnel in charge of the program?

These three questions are key to the overall mission of the program which is to

build character and instill responsibility in high school students. The questions posed

all relate to varying aspects of the character building process. Students who are

academically successful see the value in learning and understand that school is a

crucial building block to their future success. Achieving a successful experience at

school is one of the intermediate outcomes of the program, and this is directly linked to

one of the more long-term goals of the Explorer Program which is to foster a life-long

love of learning and a pursuit of continued education. Additionally, juveniles who place

an importance on learning, and on keeping their community safe are far less likely to

engage in crime-related activities. Thus, tying in with another long-term goal of the

program: creating a safer community that values conviviality and fellowship. Answering

these three questions can effectively evaluate the programs success or failure and

determine the probability of achieving the long-term outcomes articulated.

The evaluation team consists of four educators:

(1) Sundi Cowser is a middle school library media specialist in Paulding County.

She is a former Language Arts and Reading teacher, and has been in education

for seven years.


(2) Stephanie Stone is a high school language arts teacher who works in Gwinnett

County, Georgia. Mrs. Stone has taught grades 9-12 and has experience

teaching students ranging from special ed to Advanced Placement abilities.

Currently, she serves as the language arts instructional coordinator for the

school which involves a high level of leadership. She is responsible for

conducting teaching evaluations using the GTES standards and serves as the

cluster-wide literacy coach. These qualifications make her an excellent

evaluator when it comes to assessing student success and achievement; in her

capacities as literacy coach and instructional coordinator, she frequently

compiles data for course teams to analyze and use as tools to drive future

instruction. Additionally, she is well experienced in analyzing data to discern the

effectiveness of educational programs. She has participated in effectiveness

assessments of Advanced Placement courses, credit recovery modules, and

school-wide remediation initiatives. Mrs. Stone is familiar with the Explorer

Program and other law enforcement programs; she is married to a police

detective who is a sixteen-year veteran of the Alpharetta police force. Her

knowledge of law enforcements relationship with the community has been

strengthened due to her involvement in SOULO, Supporting Our Uniformed

Loved Ones. This is an organization that facilitates monthly gatherings for law

enforcement agents and their families in order to educate spouses and children

of police officers about the mental and physical pressures of the job and the

individual programs offered by the agency. Mrs. Stone serves as one of the
coordinators for the program and has worked extensively with officers who

implement community-based programs such as the Explorers Program.

(3) Michelle Hanners is a middle school math teacher who has been in education

for 24 years. She has spent 16 years in public education teaching middle

school math and science; prior to that she was in a Christian school and taught

all grade levels from pre-k to 8th grade. She has served on the Leadership

team for almost all 16 years in public education, at two different schools. She

has also served on numerous committees, from behavior interventions to grant

writing. These leadership positions have required her to observe and evaluate

co-workers in an objective manner and to effectively communicate strengths and

weaknesses in a constructive manner. Mrs. Hanners is married to an

Investigator and K-9 Handler with the Fayette County Sheriffs Office. He has

been employed in law enforcement for 16 years. Mrs. Hanners is familiar with

the Explorers program through her involvement with We Ride to Provide a

non-profit organization that provides first aid kits to police k-9s, and provides a

way to memorialize k-9s that pass away throughout the year. The Porterdale

Police Chief and his wife head up We Ride to Provide, and prior to becoming

Chief, he was the leader of their Police Explorers program. Her working

knowledge as well as the resources available to her, coupled with her leadership

training and knowledge from working with her schools make her a good

candidate to evaluate this program.


(4) Njemele Bush is an Education Technology Specialist at Kennesaw State

University. She is a former Business and Computer Science Teacher with

Fulton and Clayton County Schools. She has over 13 years of teaching

experience, both in the physical and online setting. She has leadership

experience as she served as the Lead Business Teacher at Langston Hughes

High School for the last two years. Also along with this role, she has also served

a Girl Scout Troop Leader as well as the Lead Future Business Leaders of

America Adviser. She is familiar with the Police Explorers program and finds

that it is helpful to the community. She would make a good candidate to

evaluate this program as she has an interest in how this program will impact and

possibly improve the community.

The data that will be collected and used to answer each evaluation question

includes responses from surveys and interviews of participants and instructors in the

program. The surveys are included in the appendices. The data will be evaluated by

response as well as ratings provided by each individual.

The methods used to collect data are surveys created in Google Forms. The

responses will be itemized and organized in an easy to read format. Those who have

trouble accessing the form will be interviewed using a face to face questionnaire. Both

will include quantitative analysis for the purpose of analyzing information (Alkin, 2011).
Question Data to be Collected Completed by whom

Increased Academic Student records Recruit


Success for recruits Academic Success score Training officer
reports Cooperating teacher

Decrease in Juvenile Juvenile Crime statistics Patrol officers in the


Related crimes community
Members in the community

Adherence to program Observations by and Program supervisors


curriculum supervisors
Surveys Recruits

For question 1: Does participation in the program foster increased academic success

for student recruits?

The data collected will primarily consist of student records and academic

success score reports for the time periods before the recruit entered the program and

after a specified time involved in the program. Additionally, surveys will be utilized to

gather pertinent information on student success. These surveys will be completed by

the recruit, the training officer working in direct contact with the recruit as well as the

cooperating teacher who is in charge of the Explorer Program at the school.

Five areas are essential to the curriculum of police explorer programs. Many of them

connect to academic success or life - Life Skills, Service Learning, Character

Education, Leadership Experience, and Career

(http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/community_affairs/youth_programs_explorers.shtm
l). Some explorer programs have ties to school achievement such as a minimum GPA

requirement (http://www.cityoforlando.net/police/explorer-program/).

For question 2: Does the program cause a decrease in juvenile related crimes

committed in the community?

The data that will be collected includes juvenile crime statistics of the Explorer

Program community. These statistics will be cultivated for a time period prior to the

successful implementation of the program, and will be compared to statistics gathered

after the program has been up and running for at least one school year. Evaluation

data is in the form of questionnaires distributed to patrol officers in the community to

discern the level of change seen on the streets of the community. A final component of

data includes surveys completed by members of the community to assess their

perception of the change in juvenile-related crimes in the area.

For question 3: Are Explorer Training officers teaching the program curriculum

according to the specifications set forth by the supervisory personnel in charge of the

program?

To address this question, we will gather information from questionnaires filled

out by recruits. This will allow evaluators to get a clear picture of the implementation of

curriculum by the training officers and the frequency at which modifications or

alterations should be made to the training program. Additionally, research in the form
of supervisory observations will be culled to assess officer adherence to establish

program curriculum and training practices.

As it is not always necessary to collect new data, we will rely on data that has

been previously compiled to use as a comparison for new data that is gathered. The

existing datasets targeted are school records, and student success scores compiled by

schools previously. This type of data is routinely gathered by administrators to assess

the effectiveness of teachers and relevance of courses. Our evaluation team will gain

access to this data, and it is important to note that we wont be analyzing the scores for

individual students, but will look at the entire recruit cohort as a whole. We determined

from school administrators how this information is gathered, and what individual

components made up the success and achievement score datasets. This data is

quantitative and allows the evaluator to identify patterns in student achievement while

adhering to a structured set of values and criteria.

Another existing dataset that will be utilized are the juvenile crime statistics

gathered and published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This governmental

organization samples households in specified communities in order to determine the

degree and frequency of crimes committed. This information is typically compiled and

published every year; however, it is possible to get bi-annual data if a request is made.

The last existing dataset incorporated into the evaluation of the Explorer

Program are the statistics from other law enforcement agencies that participate in the

program. Each agency is responsible for recording information as to their training


practices and policies and these are a matter of public record because they pertain to

county or city-funded program. Many law enforcement agencies also compile statistics

that pertain to recruit engagement, involvement, attendance, and attrition. While some

of this existing information may not be pertinent to the program we are evaluating, it

would be easy to sift through and extract only the data that is related to this particular

evaluation.

New data will be collected via surveys completed by recruits, training officers,

cooperating teachers and community members. These surveys will be designed with a

mixed-method in mind. The first half of the surveys will be quantitative in nature in that

the respondents will be asked to rank satisfaction of varying aspects of the program on

a scale from 1 to 5. This will be the best way to track change in the program over a

specified period of time and will allow the evaluators to track changes and monitor

success with high fidelity.

The second part of the survey that respondents will be asked to complete will be

more qualitative in nature in that it will consist of open-ended questions for participants

to write in answers. Open ended questions are important to include because it causes

respondents to comment on issues that they view to be important, they go beyond

what is normally revealed in a quantitatively oriented survey(Alkin 2010).

The answers that are gathered will vary and it would be very time-consuming to try and

turn this information into numerical data. This data wouldnt be evaluated in terms of

the program as a whole, but would allow evaluators with the ability to discern how

individual recruits, training officers, cooperating teachers, and community members


think differently about the program. This qualitative approach would allow for an

analysis of individual motivations or reasons behind the quantitative responses

provided. This qualitative piece would be most crucial to answering the third evaluation

question: What components of the Explorer Training Program need to be added or

removed from the program to further result in the outcome of decreased juvenile crime

in the community?

The data sampling will have a purposeful design. First the survey

questionnaires will be self-administered to allow respondents with the ability to reflect

on responses. The first part will consist of short, simple, and clearly worded yes/no

statements. This questionnaire will have been vetted and previously administered to a

group of individuals to ensure clarity. For the surveys completed by the recruits, and

training officers, a simple sampling process will be utilized. Five persons in each of

these categories will be randomly selected to participate in the survey. Due to the fact

that there is only one cooperating teacher who works closely with the Explorers

Program, that individual will be automatically integrating into the survey sample. The

sample size for the survey taken by members of the community will be determined

using a stratified random sampling method. This will ensure that varying ages, race,

and genders will be represented in the data collection. In this data sample,

approximately 100 surveys will be sent out. If 80% of the survey are returned, 50% will

be used as the data sample. This will then be analyzed for the purpose of the

evaluation.
The intended analysis will be of mixed methods. Due to the fact that the

questions are rating format as well as open-ended, it is conclusive that both methods

should be used to evaluate the program. The quantitative approach requires

mathematical analytics of the rankings provided by respondents. The open-ended

questions will need to be compiled and cross-referenced with the overall picture

provided by the survey rankings. Both, combined with analysis of existing datasets, will

provide insight as to how the program is performing and the need for improvements

where necessary.

Standard(s)/Benchmarks for Evaluation Questions

The standards for each evaluation question are based on the Program Evaluation
Standards.
Program Goal one - Students who participate in Police Explorers program through their

school will increase their academic success by 5% in all academic classes.

Evaluation Question - Does participation in the program foster increased academic

success for student recruits?

This question is appropriate and answerable. The academic achievement is

measureable, looking for a 5% increase in the academic grades throughout the

duration of the program. Since one of the goals of the program is to change academic

standing, this question and its goal makes sense.


Program Goal two - Communities that have Explorers programs whether in schools or

in the community will see a 10% decrease in juvenile criminal activity after two years of

program implementation. Each subsequent year, a 2.5% decrease should be expected.

Evaluation Question - Does the program cause a decrease in juvenile related crimes

committed in the community?

This question is appropriate and measureable. The answer will take several

years of successful program implementation to be answerable. This is a longer term

goal than students academic success.

Program Goal three - Explorer Training officers should be following the training

curriculum 90% of the class time or more. Ideally, the curriculum should be followed

100% of the time, but realizing that students may ask unrelated questions, it is realized

that 100% may be impossible.

Evaluation Question - Are Explorer Training officers teaching the program curriculum

according to the specifications set forth by the supervisory personnel in charge of the

program?

This question is appropriate and measureable. Just the same way that teachers

are evaluated using an effectiveness measure, this program has teaching components
that supervisors should ensure are being followed. This goal should be assessed

starting early and continually in the program.

References:

Alkin, M. C. (2011). Evaluation essentials from A to Z. New York: Guilford Press.

Go Law Enforcement. (2016) Police Explorer Programs. Retrieved from


http://www.golawenforcement.com/PoliceExplorer.htm

Learning for Life Corporation. (2016). Law Enforcement Career Exploring. Retrieved
From
http://www.exploring.org/exploring-discover-future/law-enforcement-career-exploring/

New York Police Explorers Program (2016). Retrieved from:


http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/community_affairs/youth_programs_explorers.shtml

Orlando Police Department Police Explorers Program (2016). Retrieved from:


http://www.cityoforlando.net/police/explorer-program/

SkillsUSA (2016). Career, Technical and Agricultural Education. Retrieved from:


http://www.skillsusa.org/

Yarbrough, D. B. (2011). The program evaluation standards: A guide for evaluators


and evaluation users. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Appendix A
Explorer Questionnaire

Appendix B
Community Questionnaire

Appendix C
Patrol Officer Survey

Appendix D
Student Success Survey