Competency N - Statement and Evidence

  Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash

evaluate programs and services on specified criteria; and

Two phrases come to mind when evaluating programs and services: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it;" and "get the best bang for the buck." While these sayings may have come from long ago, or less-educated times, they are still good ones to follow when assessing whether or not a program or service should be started or continued. The criteria for assessment will change depending on what the program or service is and the population for which it is intended. Some key questions or concerns tend to be relevant for almost all evaluations: does the intended audience want, need, or use the service; is the cost of the program or service worth the benefit to the population (note: cost here can refer not only to monetary expenditures but time and head-ache-accrual also); are there overlapping services or programs in place that could be combined to provide the same benefits while decreasing the costs; and what percentage of the population served will benefit - and is that percentage in line with the percentage of the budget and/or time being allotted to provide the service?

The answers to these questions won't complete an evaluation; answers must be analyzed. Some criteria will be considered more important than others and sometimes, even when all of the answers indicate the program or service should be put in place or continued, the cost-analysis will indicate it's not feasible.

I have evaluated services and programs in my library based on all of these questions. One that is re-evaluated every year is the hours of operation. Under contract, the library needs to be open from 7:25 to 2:35 each day, and the library technician and librarian need to be available to students during this time - taking lunches separately so that there is coverage. According to this plan, the librarian should be at lunch with the other teachers in the school. This is the same time that the students take lunch. Instead, I've arranged to take my lunch before students take theirs, and the technician takes her lunch after. In this manner, we are both available for students during their lunch period. We also open early and stay late, allowing student use of the library for a half hour before school and an hour after school. Is it worth it for me to give up thirty minutes of my morning every school day so students can complete a last piece of homework? Absolutely. Does it also increase our student usage numbers and indicate to the district that their two library people now serve 800+ students a day? Yes. It's a win-win situation, and I consider the extra half hour served (unpaid) every day my civic duty.

In addition to real-life applications of service and program evaluation, I've also had the opportunity to evaluate, in a more delineated fashion, other programs and services. These include everything from analyzing someone else's case study to reviewing other students' program proposals.

List of Evidence for Competency N:
Anaylzing Teen Policy A review of a case study analyzing teens and policy.
Grant Proposal Evaluation 2005, 2006 An evaluation of classmates Grant Proposals.
Marketing Plan (Press Release) A Marketing Plan, including Environmental Scan and analysis of user-base to determine need for new service.
Strategic Plan A Strategic Plan including user-services and an analysis to indicate modifications to future library services.