University of Utah
Psychology 353/Psychology 653 Program Evaluation/Field Evaluation (4/3 credits)
David H. Dodd, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Psychology
Quarter Taught: Spring

Prerequisites: Courses in statistics and research methods and design at the undergraduate/graduate level.

Note: Psychology 353 will be taught for undergraduate students with adequate course background. Psychology 653 will be taught for graduate students and will meet independently of 353. The servicelearning aspect will, however, be somewhat joint; teams of one or two graduate students and one or more undergraduates (depending upon enrollments in both courses, availablility of agencies, and student interest) will work in community agencies on program evaluation of services. All agencies will be providing services for Utah children at risk.

1 . Needed Service: Teams of students will serve as resources (with instructor supervision) in various aspects of program evaluation for an agency,, such as planning, assessment, data mangement, analysis, interpretation, and report preparation and presentation. An evaluation of the agencies program evaluation process will be a central part of every team's activities. Arrangement have been made with several agencies, including United Way's Childrens Initiative, Primary Childrens Medical Center's Division of Protective Services, Utah Children, and the Utah State Board of Education. All of these agencies are involved in program evaluation and are interested in any assistance,, advice, and support that can be provided through service from these students.

2 . Service-subject matter relation: Students will learn about major issues facing Utah children, in part from course readings and discussion and from direct experience with one or more of these problems in these agencies, e.g., sexual abuse, poverty, gangs. The course content will incorporate discussions of social and public policy in relation to these problems. Most of all, students will have direct experience with some forms of intervention that are currently being provided.

3. Learning and thinking through service: Students will learn how to apply textbook knowledge of program evaluation through this hands-on aspect of the course; such application is fundamental to knowing program evaluation. Portions of all class meetings will discuss the hands-on experience for purposes of reflection and planning. Each student will keep a journal in which they will reflect on the child-related issue of the agency, their reactions to agency evaluations, and the connection between course material and the application. Each team will develop a final report of their evaluation of the program evaluation process in the agency where they have worked. In addition, the entire class will collaborate in planning an evaluation of the United Way Childrens Initiative.

4. Credit/Assessment of learning from service: Journals will be reviewed by the instructor and will count for 10% of the course credit; these will probably not be graded, but credit will be awarded to all students who have taken the journal assignment seriously, The team report from the agency (written and oral) will constitute 40% of course grade.

5 . service recipients evaluate service: Agencies will receive copies of written reports and will meet with the team and the instructor to provide an evaluation of the service provided,

6, Service develops civic education: The journals and individual instructor interviews with all students should provide a sense of this. I expect that all of the agencies will want continued involvement with available students, which will be encouraged in the course, I have a long-term commitment to the Childrens Initiatiave and hope to maintain involvement of some students. All of the students will know much more about some of the key agencies in our community and about the needs of those agencies for volunteer service delivery, contributions, and participation on boards and committees.

7. Knowledge enhances service: The course will provide information and skills that are useful and necessary in the community and can contribute in various settings.

8. Learning from other class members: All students will participate in a team with at least two other students; "peer" learning will be central to the service part of the course.

Textbook: Posavac & Carey, _Program evaluation: Methods and case studies_ and assigned readings.

This course will cover a range of basic material on program evaluation: needs assessment, planning, measurement, design, statistics, qualitative evaluation, reports, communication with agencies, and ethics. Course material will be based on the assumption that all students have mastered the material in basic courses on statistics and research methods/design.

Students must complete all assigned readings prior to class meetings, Class time will emphasize discussion of course material and plans for application to real-world settings. Each of you will participate in a team that will work in one community agency that is currently engaged in some program evaluation. You will be required to be on-site and/or preparing reports, etc. at least 3 hours per week. (Note to student: Consider this to be "study" time in a 4 hour course which will only meet for one 2-3 hour session per week. This application time will be how you really"learn" the course material.) Your team will consist of one or two students from your class and one or two students from a concurrent graduate level class covering the same material. though at a higher level. Your team will prepare a final report evaluating the program evaluation being performed at the agency where you have worked; this report will count for 40% of your final grade,

You will also be asked to maintain a journal with entries following each period of time you spend in the agency; the journal should specify time, place, and activity. Primarily, the focus of what you have written in the journal should be on one or more of the following: a) what you have learned about the needs of children being served, b) the impact (as you see it) of services being delivered, c) the formal evaluation of impact, d) your experience of learning about evaluation through hands-on activity, (An example will be provided.) Journals will be reviewed by the instructor around the middle of the term and at the end and will count for 10% of the course grade. Journals will not be graded A, A-, etc., but will receive full credit if consistently and appropriately kept.

The rest of the grade will be based on midterm and final exams; specific study questions will define each exam.


Week 1: Introduction to course; children's issues; social and public policy

Week 2: Needs assessment; finding existing information

Week 3: Planning evaluations; consulting with agencies.

Week 4: Measurement principles; statistics.

Week 5: Design and analysis; statistics.

Week 6: Qualitative evaluation.

Week 7: Interpretation; ethics.

Week 8: Cost analysis,

week 9: Preparing reports.

Week 10: Reports from student groups to students in both courses (possibly continuing during final exam period, depending upon scheduling).

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 10:57:51 MST
From: Renee Buchanan <