Measuring Change While Changing Measures

Learning In, and From, the Evaluation of Making Connections

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 10, 2011

Summary

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.  

Table of Contents

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. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations