Wisconsin Evaluation

Selected Projects

Personalized Learning in Breakthrough Schools, 2016-2017

Partners: LEAP Innovations
WEC Evaluators: Annalee Good, Dan Marlin, Jenn Vadas, and Jessica Arrigoni, with Rich Halverson

WEC is working with LEAP Innovations in Chicago, IL to design and conduct a mixed-method process and outcome evaluation of seven of its "Breakthrough Schools", which are implementing LEAP's personalized learning framework. WEC is developing school profiles for each school through extensive observations and focus groups at the school level and survey responses, combined with student level data from LEAP and Chicago Public Schools.

Improving the Effectiveness of Digital Tools, 2016-2019

Partners: Vanderbilt University, Milwaukee Public Schools, Dallas Independent School District
WEC Evaluators: Annalee Good, Emily Cheng, and Lisa Geraghty

Through an award from the WT Grant Foundation, WEC is partnered with Vanderbilt University to continue an ongoing, mixed-method study of the implementation of digital tools in K12 schools in Milwaukee and Dallas. WEC combines extensive qualitative fieldwork with quantitative examination (both descriptive and estimation of impact) of student level data from both the districts and vendors of digital tools. [Please link to here:https://my.vanderbilt.edu/digitaled/].

Evaluation Support for Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), 2015-Ongoing

Partners: MMSD Departments of Family, Youth, and Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships and Innovation
WEC Evaluators: Annalee Good, Grant Sim, and members of the Evaluation Clinic

WEC is supporting the evaluation needs of two, major initiatives within MMSD (Community Schools, and academic tutoring partnerships) through technical assistance in the development of logic models, evaluation plans, data collection, analysis plans, and reporting. We also collaborate in capacity building and trainings with MMSD and community partner staff.

New Skills for Youth Initiative, 2016-ongoing

Partners: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, WCER’s Center for Education and Work
WEC Evaluators: Steve Kimball, Robin Worth, Grant Sim

WEC partners with the Center for Education & Work to perform a strategic needs assessment for a JP Morgan-Chase funded grant to help determine readiness and viability for the State of Wisconsin’s Career Readiness Initiative strategic plan. The Career Readiness Initiative is intended to implement new education and workforce strategies to transform the state’s career pathways system.

Odyssey Junior, 2016-2018

Partners: UW Division of Continuing Studies
WEC Evaluators: Jessica Arrigoni and Robin Worth

WEC is providing program evaluation services, funded in part by a grant from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, of the UW Division of Continuing Studies Odyssey Junior Program. A new component of the successful UW-Madison Odyssey Project, which empowers low-income adults—primarily students of color—to overcome adversity and achieve dreams through higher education, Odyssey Junior engages the children of Odyssey students and alumni to encourage students’ self-discovery and expression through literature, writing, art, music, theatre and other forms. In addition to designing and implementing a program evaluation plan, WEC is working with Odyssey Project staff members to build their capacity to self-evaluate.

State Longitudinal Data System, 2016-2020

Partners: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (including WEC and the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network), the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, and the CESA Statewide Network
WEC Evaluators: Steve Kimball, Annalee Good, Brad Carl
, Robin Worth, Grant Sim

WEC is one of multiple partners within UW-Madison working with DPI on a five-year, $5.2 million U.S. Department of Education-funded project intended to reduce gaps in opportunities in Wisconsin schools and increase data-driven decision-making in Wisconsin schools.  One research team, led by UW-Madison Professor of Sociology and Education Policy Studies Eric Grodsky, will mine longitudinal data from Wisconsin schools to identify a set of schools that are “beating the odds” in student achievement, along with the practices that are contributing to this high performance.  WEC researchers (including Steve Kimball, Annalee Good, and Brad Carl) are augmenting this work by researching personalized learning and community schools, and are collaborating with the DPI WISExplore team and the CESA Statewide Network to increase data-driven decision-making capacity across the state through a focus on program evaluation.

Academic & Career Planning Process Implementation Support, 2016-ongoing

Partners: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, WCER’s Center for Education and Work
WEC Evaluators: Steve Kimball, Robin Worth, Grant Sim, Jessica Arrigoni, Dan Marlin

WEC is providing evaluation support for the pilot, preparation and statewide implementation years of Wisconsin’s Academic and Career Planning (ACP) process, in which all Wisconsin students in grades 6-12 will create and cultivate their own unique and information-based visions for post-secondary success. WEC’s initial evaluation activities focused in 2016 on the 25 volunteer pilot districts in Wisconsin, in 2016-17 on pre-implementation across the state, and has expanded to statewide implementation in 2017-18 and beyond.

Milwaukee Partnership Schools, 2015-2018

Partner: Milwaukee Public Schools
WEC Evaluators: Brad Carl, Grant Sim, Jenn Vadas, James Gleckner

WEC is conducting the external evaluation of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Partnership Schools Project. This is an initiative designed to provide whole school collaboration and change through academic interventions, social-emotional support, and partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs and City Year. Specific supports being evaluated include early literacy efforts, after-school programming, and tutoring support. WEC's evaluation activities include site visits and survey analysis to examine fidelity of implementation, as well as a mixed-methods approach to measuring outcomes of the program.

Wisconsin State Personnel Development Grant, 2015-2018

Partner: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
WEC Evaluators: Brad Carl, Grant Sim, Robin Worth, John Gugerty

The Wisconsin State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), was developed to support schools with very low subgroup performance for students with disabilities, or those with the most significant gaps between the student with disabilities subgroup and the statewide averages for the students with disabilities subgroup on statewide assessments. Schools meeting these criteria were selected to receive professional development on Professional Learning Community (PLC) formation, function, and improvement in learner outcomes, in the form of support from

  • PLC coaches;
  • professional development and ongoing support from Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training and Support, the Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment Network and Institutions of Higher Education; and
  • access to an online community connecting grant recipients, families and community, and supporting partners.

The SPDG team at DPI has contracted with WEC to provide evaluation services and technical assistance to the grant project, and to prepare the evaluation plan for the SPDG application for continued funding in 2017.

Testing the Promise, 2013-2018

Partners: Milwaukee Public Schools
WEC Evaluator: Brad Carl

This project is a multi-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Education (and based at Tulane University) to examine the longitudinal impacts of a “promise” college scholarship program in the Milwaukee Public Schools.  Specifically, the research component of the project examines whether students who met participation requirements throughout high school (GPA and attendance) attend, persist, and graduate from college at higher rates than a comparable sample of students from other MPS high schools, and experience more positive long-term outcomes (higher earnings, etc.).

Project Bold Shift, 2015-2020

Partners: Sparta Area School District
WEC Evaluators: Brad Carl, Lisa Geraghty

WEC is conducting a mixed-methods evaluation of Project Bold Shift, which is a multi-year initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) intended to increase Reading performance among military-affiliated families in the Sparta Area School District.  Evaluation methods used for this project include statistical analysis of student outcome data, the development of necessary tools to measure program implementation, and interviews and focus groups with key program staff to identify successes and challenges in program implementation and student success.

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Evaluation in Milwaukee Public Schools, 2017-18

Partners: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools, UW-Madison Population Health Institute
WEC Evaluators: Brad Carl, Lisa Geraghty

This project involves the external evaluation of the WSCC model, originally developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being implemented in nine MPS schools.  The main objective of the initiative is to improve the health outcomes of children in low-income neighborhoods through a coordinated approach to school-based health services involving the schools themselves as well as external providers.  WEC evaluators will be working with MPS, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and partners from the UW-Madison Population Health Institute to design and implement a mixed-methods evaluation design to inform the success of the model upon student health outcomes.