What is the Bureau of Program Evaluation?
The Bureau of Program Evaluation, under the Office of Educational Accountability, is responsible for conducting or monitoring program evaluations, which are systematic assessments that look at how program funds are used and what results are produced. Additionally, evaluations can help identify deficiencies in program processes and help improve program performance.
I need an evaluation done on one of my programs – what’s my first step?
Complete the Evaluation Request Form on the Bureau of Program Evaluation Website at https://www.mdek12.org/OPE/Home.
Why is the Bureau of Program Evaluation involved in evaluations now?
Our goal is to inform the Subcommittee on Accreditation and Accountability of findings and recommendations that result from program evaluations. We will be conducting evaluations internally, but also need to understand what is being done external to the department for three reasons: first, to avoid duplication of effort; second, to ensure that the information provided to us from third party evaluations is timely, useful, and in a format that is understandable to the staff who will use those results; and finally, to ensure all of this information reaches the Subcommittee.
Will I still go through the standard procurement/grant agreement process if I need an external evaluation?
Answer: No. First, you must submit an Evaluation Request Form to the Bureau. After reviewing the request, we will inform you of whether or not you will need to seek an external evaluator (we may have the resources to do so in-house) and proceed to either schedule an evaluation internally or assist you in the creation evaluation elements for a grant agreement, RFP, or other contract.
Why is this extra step necessary?
If an evaluation must be done externally, then certain elements should exist in the contractual agreement to ensure they provide quality information. We will help you form the questions you believe should be explicitly answered to inform the merit or worth of your program. This step is critical to ensure that program managers are getting the information necessary from evaluations to improve programs. In addition, we now require that vendors submit a formal report and presentation of findings, cross-reference data to the report for traceability, and assure that all graphs, tables, and other data are free-standing and require minimal consultant explanation to lay readers.
But the RFP/Grant Proposal/Other Process already has many of these elements?
True, but not to the degree necessary to ensure you are getting what you need, nor with the necessary step of informing us of the evaluation early in the process. If the Bureau was not informed until you submitted your request to the Office of Procurement, then there would be a delay in seeking vendors because we would have to spend additional time defining those critical elements in the previous question. This will allow us to develop your evaluation needs for the contract early and be sensitive to your timeframe, or conversely allow us to determine if we have the resources to handle the evaluation internally.
I have been approached by the Legislative Budget Office about performance budgeting data, and I do not understand what many of these elements are, nor how to address them?
The Bureau has training slides available on the website, and we can also assist you in the future by walking you through each element of your program to ensure that you are able to comply with questions that will begin coming up in FY 2016 from the Legislative Budget Committee.
I would like to consider implementing a new program, but need help with establishing baseline data, benchmarks, etc. What should my first step be?
Contact us! We would love to help you set up indicators to start tracking the progress of your program.