Outcomes for Children
Welcome to the National Outcome Work Group for Children site. The Children’s Work Group includes individuals affiliated with Cooperative Extension’s CYFAR (Children, Youth and Families At Risk) Initiative, and specifically with the State Strengthening projects. Members brought to the project a range of experiences in developing and evaluating programs, teaching and researching child development, and operating school and community-based programs for children, both in and outside of the Cooperative Extension system. Because of this, we appreciate the balancing act that community-based projects face on a day-to-day basis as they develop, implement, and evaluate programming for at-risk children. Our work focuses on children from birth to age 11. The purpose of this website is to provide information and resources that are sound and research-based, yet practical, to assist community-based program developers, evaluators, and managers in these tasks.
Programs for children can address a bewildering range of different outcomes and issues, mostly because children themselves are developing and changing in so many ways in the years from birth to adolescence. The Children’s Work Group felt a need for a comprehensive model to organize and assess these diverse outcomes, and chose to adapt a model developed by the NCEO (National Center of Educational Outcomes) for this purpose. The NCEO model identifies eight primary outcome domains for children’s programming. In the sections which follow this introduction, this website includes links to a more in-depth description of the model, as well as sections on assessing outcomes in each of the eight domains. Each outcome domain site includes 1) an Introduction that reviews important research in this area (sometimes including major controversies or issues related to measurement), 2) a list of Outcome Components that might be addressed within this domain, 3) a list of Suggested Indicators or ways that you might know that you’ve achieved results on these outcomes, 4) a Summary that suggests how the information can be applied in State Strengthening projects in the community, and 5) an Annotated Bibliography suggesting additional background reading. For each outcome domain (and for the individual components in some of the larger domains), there is also a review of some existing Measures. In some cases, existing standardized measures will not be the best approach to assessing your outcome, and other approaches are suggested.
Program Outcomes for Children:
How To Use This Children’s Program Outcome Website:
The resources of this site are designed to be used in conjunction with the State Strengthening Evaluation Guide and with the qualitative evaluation resources found at other sites within this CYFAR Evaluation Collaboration website. In addition, since children’s lives are affected by their families and communities, you may find useful supplemental material in the Youth, Parent/Family, and Community Program Outcome sites.
Example--Using the Website to Evaluate a Local State Strengthening Project:
We hope that the materials in this website will be helpful to you, and welcome your feedback on ways to make them more useful. In order to make it as useful as possible, we would like to provide you a brief example of how you might use the information contained in this website in the design of a local project evaluation in your State Strengthening project. In constructing this example, we are assuming that you need to evaluate a community-based project that is being supported over several years time through the resources of your State Strengthening project. We are also assuming that the design of your evaluation of the local project will be following the CYFAR State Strengthening Evaluation Project guidelines (http://www.reeusda.gov/new/4h/cyfar/overview.htm), particularly with worksheets associated with each of Tiers One and Two in the guidelines.
The first place we see your interaction between the NOWG websites and the Tier structure of the guidelines would be with Tier One, Worksheet 2. Here, you are asked to specify which NOWG areas (Children, Youth, Parents/Families, or Communities) are of primary and secondary relevance to your planned project. This would tell you which websites associated with these four National Outcome Work Groups to explore in building your evaluation design.
The second place would also be in Tier One, but in Worksheet 6. Here, in Part Three, you are asked to specify expected outcomes of the project, and you might find the websites you looked at for Worksheet 2 to be helpful in coming up with potential outcomes.
Finally, you may find the NOWG websites
particularly useful at the conclusion of developing your response to Question
2 in Tier Two, Worksheet 3. This question asks: "What techniques are used
to monitor or modify the program operations on a day-to-day basis?" It
is here, in response to this question, that the hard work of designing
the specific elements of the program evaluation process must be accomplished.
It is likely that different designs and data collection activities will
be used (i.e. surveys, interviews, testing, reviews of existing program
records, focus groups, secondary analyses of other existing community
databases, etc.) for different goals within the same program. Thus, you
will need to complete a planning process detailing what are the outcome(s)
for the specific goal, what instrumentation will be used to collect data
on the outcome(s), who will do the data collecting, and when and how it
will be done. The measures listed at the end of each of the NOWG websites
you have looked at can be particularly useful in identifying what some
of those instruments might be in this planning process.
CORE GROUP CONTRIBUTORS (those who authored
and edited pieces):
AFFILIATE GROUP CONTRIBUTORS (those who
helped with information and process):