A national leader in program evaluation in educational contexts, PERG is distinguished by the breadth of our expertise and recognized as an important contributor to the field.
Evaluation and Research Work
Since our founding in 1976, the Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) has carried out hundreds program evaluations and research studies; sponsored workshops, courses, and other educational activities; and provided consultation to a range of organizations. Principal clients have included states, universities, school districts, museums and aquariums, foundations, and arts organizations implementing projects funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Department of Education, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the American Association for State and Local History.
PERG has conducted evaluations for a very broad range of programs including, but not limited to:
- Professional development
- Science and mathematics systemic reform
- Curriculum development, implementation, and dissemination
- Arts partnerships
- Museum exhibit development, museum visitor studies
- Arts infusion
The projects PERG evaluates serve learners in multiple settings in both formal (K-12 and higher education) and informal education (museums, community centers, etc.). Many of these projects bring together business partners, mathematicians and scientists, policy makers, museum staff and educators, as well as the general community.
In our leadership role, we are relied upon for our expertise in program evaluation. Consequently, we offer a variety of workshops and courses on evaluation design and methods, such as:
- Introduction to program evaluation
- Evaluation design
- Asking the right questions
- Developing evaluation instruments
- Using evaluation findings
- Learning from documentation
- Planning a participatory evaluation
PERG also offers consultation to support organizations' internal evaluation and program planning. Possible areas of focus include:
- Developing logic models
- Using appreciative inquiry for evaluation and planning
- Designing embedded evaluation processes
- Assessment system design
- Creating a culture of inquiry
What kinds of programs does PERG have the capacity to evaluate?
PERG has conducted evaluations for a very broad range of programs in professional development, science and mathematics systemic reform, curriculum development, curriculum implementation and dissemination, arts partnerships, museum exhibit development, museum visitor studies, and arts infusion. The range of PERG's recent evaluation projects gives an excellent view of the organization's capacity to meet the needs of both large and small programs in many different content areas, such as the arts, mathematics, and science.
Some projects PERG evaluates are large-scale, multi-year systemic reform and/or curriculum development and implementation programs:
- Several NSF-funded, local systemic science/math reform initiatives at the state and local levels;
- A national middle school mathematics project intended to increase achievement in mathematics among rural and urban youth;
- An initiative to increase public awareness and interest in space science and create partnerships with schools and communities through a mission-based approach;
- A mathematics, science, and technology statewide systemic initiative in Massachusetts;
- A K-12 science curriculum implementation and dissemination program for Massachusetts districts statewide;
- A K-8 science education reform initiative providing leadership and assistance to regional sites serving districts nationwide;
- A national, standards-based, middle school science curriculum development project; and
- NSF-funded reform projects committed to creating regional centers for science and mathematics reform throughout the country.
In addition to these, PERG conducts visitor studies and evaluates projects and programs in a diverse range of informal settings:
- Several interactive museum exhibits focusing on visitor learning;
- A teacher-centered professional development program focusing on developing democratic classrooms;
- A school-based reform effort in eight districts using New Standards Assessments to improve teaching and learning at the school level;
- Several partnership projects between art institutes or museums and public schools;
- A bilingual elementary science professional development program;
- An informal educational video dissemination project looking at issues surrounding implementation; and
- A traveling museum exhibit that invites visitors to explore ideas and information about the universe.
How do PERG's evaluation activities benefit clients?The PERG evaluation staff facilitates reflection and understanding among program constituents by bringing their extensive program and evaluation experience, knowledge, and skills to clarify ongoing issues concerning program implementation. Through frequent formal and informal conversations, presentations, and reports, evaluators convey their emergent understanding to program staff. This information, in turn, helps decision makers address their implementation issues and challenges. Additionally, PERG's client organizations find the PERG evaluation reports useful in communicating information about the program and its effectiveness to a broader audience.
Research: Student Parents & Programs
PERG recently published the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit, a self-assessment tool for improving outcomes and experiences for student parents. Our recent research study, Baccalaureate Student Parent Programs and the Students They Serve, was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.