Measuring Change While Changing Measures

Learning In, and From, the Evaluation of Making Connections

Posted January 10, 2011
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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As detailed in this report, Casey's evaluation efforts were challenged by shifts in Making Connections’ design, management and emphasis over the course of the 10-year initiative. At the same time, these challenges produced a flexible, “learning-while-doing” approach to assessing site progress toward achieving better results for neighborhood children and families — a needed departure from more rigid and less meaningful methods of measuring community change initiatives. As the report concludes, Making Connections’ evaluation broke new ground — especially in the sharp focus it gave to measuring local capacity to achieve and sustain results and in developing new, performance-based ways to manage and improve the initiative’s implementation.  

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

The complexity of a multiyear, multisite evaluation takes flexibility and communication between players

The challenges confronting an evaluation of place-based community change initiatives are many, especially for a decade-long, multisite effort. An honest effort to tackle those challenges requires flexibility, development of a wide range of evaluation tools, and — most important — strong communication between initiative managers, site teams, and evaluation staff and consultants.