A new center at West Virginia University will improve the efficiency of educational programs and help them acquire further funding.
WVU’s Program Evaluation and Research Center, which launches July 1, provides consultations and data analysis for education-related programs and recommends ways they can improve their delivery of services and results, according to Director Reagan Curtis, an associate professor in WVU’s College of Human Resources and Education.
Supporting Curtis is a diverse group of faculty affiliates and graduate students with expertise in data analysis, evaluation, instructional design, technology, lifespan development and learning environments from early childhood through higher education.
“Grant-funded programs typically include a component for evaluation and we can help organizations better determine if they’re meeting their goals or if their programs or evaluation methods need tweaking,” Curtis said. “Our consultations will not only inform the work of practitioners but also policy-makers and community leaders who may play a role in acquiring funding, providing support or determining the effectiveness of policy that guides these programs.”
Curtis said a program located in Charleston that matches high school students with mentors from the community is an example a program PERC is helping to clarify measurable goals and examine its impact on student graduation and postsecondary participation rates.
He said the Center also consults with departments and faculty members within WVU who secure grant funding and partner with private sector organizations to provide services for under-represented student populations.
“Virtually all funded projects, whether funded by governmental or private agencies, now require substantial evaluation and research designs as integral components,” he said. “The need for expert guidance in applied research and evaluation has never been greater.”
PERC’s services include creating or developing measurement instruments such as surveys, focus groups and tracking forms and creating protocols for their use. Continuing evaluation consultation can include recommendations for data collection, evaluation and generation of reports that summarize findings. The Center can create databases from hard copy quantitative or qualitative data and codify it to ensure its integrity or help organizations analyze data to best interpret their findings.
CONTACT: Reagan Curtis, PERC
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