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Leading Change Through Evaluation
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Leading Change Through Evaluation
Improvement Science in Action



October 2021 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Evaluators who are interested in developing or improving a program or policy frequently look to formative evaluation as a guiding framework.This book shows why those hoping to use evaluation to drive change in complex systems, rather than develop or improve one program, policy, or product, need to shift from the oversimplified idea of formative evaluation to a more specified continuous improvement model grounded in improvement science. In doing so, author Kristen L. Rohanna provides guidance to both evaluators and others, such as K-12 educators or hospital administrators, who lead improvement initiatives in their organizations and seek to solve persistent problems of practice. The book includes an extended case study: a networked improvement community of five public middle and high schools. 

 
Series Editor Introduction
 
Acknowledgments
 
Foreword by Louis Gomez
 
Preface
 
About the Author
 
Part 1 • Seeking Change in a Complex World
 
Chapter 1 • What Do We Mean by Formative Evaluation?
The Evolution of Formative Evaluation

 
Continuous Improvement and Improvement Science

 
Other Continuous Improvement Approaches

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 2 • The Truth About Complex Systems
Systems and Complexity Science

 
Learning Your Way Through Problems

 
Multiple and Inclusive Perspectives: The Need for Embracing

 
Actors Within the System

 
Building Capacity for Participatory Approaches

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part 2 • The Case Study
Introducing the Case Study

 
The Challenge

 
Case Study Conceptual Framework

 
 
Chapter 3 • The Beginnings of a Network
Building the Network Hub Team

 
Building the Rest of the Team

 
Recruiting the Network Schools

 
Launching the Network

 
Our Own Challenge: Decision to Separate From the Larger Network

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 4 • The Re-Launch
Seeking the Counsel of Others

 
Developing the Network’s Theory of Improvement

 
Taking Action Through PDSAs

 
The Network’s Outcome, End of Year 1

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 5 • A Tale of Two Visions - Building Individual Capacity
The Math Instructional Vision (Subject Knowledge)

 
The Vision for Building Improvement Science Capacity (Profound Knowledge)

 
The Network’s Initial Improvement Science Capacity

 
The Two Visions Intersect

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 6 • The Importance of Being Structured - Building Organizational Capacity
Organizational Capacity

 
Individual Versus Organizational Capacity

 
Network Structures

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 7 • Not All Learning Is Created Equal - Fostering Transformational Organizational Learning
The Learnings Generated During Year 1

 
The Importance of Reflective Structures for Single- and Double-Loop Learning

 
Intentionally Designing Activities to Foster Double-Loop Learning

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 8 • Lessons and Reflections From a Case Study
Lessons From Research and Practice: Findings From the Case Study

 
Lessons From Continued Practice: Additional Reflections

 
Bringing It All Together: Learning From Astronauts, Elephants, Einstein, and Teachers

 
Moving Forward in a Complex World

 
 
Appendix: Case Study Methodology
Setting

 
Case Study Design

 
 
References
 
Index

This is a very well-written, well-researched, practical text for future researchers.

Bret D. Cormier
Southeast Missouri State University

This book is an intimate, honest and real-world introduction to the use of formative evaluation practices for continuous improvement in a school system. The author’s first-hand account provides actionable tools as well as demonstration of their application in practice. The book is both theoretical and applied, which makes it a useful handbook for those who are engaged in continuous improvement of complex systems.

Dasha Shamrova
Wichita State University

This text teaches change processes through an overarching case example, which makes the concepts more accessible and understandable as students see how things are actually applied.

John B. Stark
California State University, Bakersfield

This book provides an insightful journey from improvement science through complex system change. The case study presented allows readers to reflect on their own journeys in evaluation and change within the complex systems that we often dismiss.

Wesley Wilson
Excalibur Education Group

This text uses real-life examples to apply theory and emphasize the important role of continuous improvement in public and nonprofit programs.

Ryan Yeung
Hunter College
Key features
  • Provides the necessary background for understanding the concepts of persistent problems, formative evaluation, continuous improvement and improvement science, and complexity science and systems thinking.
  • Offers an empirical case study as an example of evaluation in practice.

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