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Who are the audiences for my evaluation, and how do I communicate with them around evaluation and evaluation results?

Building STEM Teacher Leadership

Reflections by the STEM teacher leader community on opportunities and gaps in STEM teacher leader development efforts

 

Communicating and using evaluation results are important parts of the evaluation process, and should be thought about in the planning stage. STEM teacher leader programs will want to understand:

Who are the audiences for my evaluation?

Your evaluation stakeholders (see How do I set goals for a program evaluation? And balance them with goals of other stakeholders?) are also key audience members for your evaluation. As one STEM teacher leader program put it, your audiences are all the populations that will be affected in any way by the evaluation as well as groups that may be interested in your evaluation results.

Affected groups might include teachers, program staff, partner organizations; and, anyone from whom you will be collecting data from for the evaluation, among others. Interested groups might include your board of directors, policymakers, education institutions, alumni of the program and other practitioners.

Several STEM teacher leader programs specifically mentioned the value of communicating evaluation results back to their partners and participants—such as the school principals and district superintendents who allowed teacher leaders release time to participate in the program. Seeing the information their efforts helped to produce fostered continued involvement in the program and evaluation activities.

When should I communicate with my audiences?

Communicate with different audience groups at the various stages of your evaluation. The graphic below describes the principle stages of an evaluation and key communication moments.

Principle stages of an evaluation and key communication moments

How should information be communicated?

It is important to identify what aspects of your evaluation would be of most interest to each of your audience groups, as well as the best way to communicate with them.

You can use various platforms of communication with your audiences in order to best reach and engage everyone. Below is a table with examples of some modes of communication and audiences for which they are well suited.

Sample Platform Sample Audience
Written Report Program Staff, Current Funders
Slide Deck Presentation Board of Directors
Social Media Program Alumni
Conference Other Practitioners
One-pager/Flyer Teachers
Press Release Media outlets

Also consider style when preparing the type of communication for your audiences, which includes language/tone, length/depth of details and design.

Your program staff and the funding agency are likely to need a comprehensive, written evaluation report. Typical evaluation reports provide an introduction to the project, description of the evaluation design and methods, and statement of findings and results. In messaging to program staff, program leaders indicated it is important to frame the evaluation results as constructive rather than punitive.

Shorter, more accessible communications like flyers, press releases, and blogs can better engage practitioners and policymakers. These types of products can be derived from the evaluation report, and tailored to specific audience interests. For example, programs noted that STEM teacher leaders want specific guidance on how they can apply the results to their classroom or school.